As we wind down to the last few months of 2012, some significant dates arrive in addition to the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas. For business owners and retailers the final 45 days can make or break an entire year and even be a prediction of things to come. Aside from Black Friday, the often-touted “busiest shopping date of the year,” we have “Cyber-Monday” which has been so named since 2005 and is a self-promoted, self-produced on-line shopping day the Monday after Thanksgiving. To put things in perspective, sales generated that day broke through the $1 Billion mark in 2010 and increased last year by 22% to $1.2B. Experts predict we’ll break through the $1½ Billion mark this year.
All that is great, but the day that many small businesses look forward to and participate in is Small Business Saturday. American Express in 2010 created that day specifically for consumers to support and spend money in all those local stores and it takes place the day after Black Friday, November 24. Small Business Saturday is a brilliant move and they have created a viral campaign that is “liked” by almost 3 million Facebook followers and I am a huge supporter of the movement. AmEx has created signs and e-mail campaigns and offers lots of marketing material to help all small businesses share the word. Even though the intention may appear a bit self-serving, the reality is, the program has generated much publicity for small businesses and for the challenges they face.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) a small business is generally one with less than 500 employees doing less that $2.5 in annual sales. And that description defines the majority within most of the United States since over 97% of all businesses are considered small businesses by them. The numbers can vary depending upon whether it is a retail, service or manufacturing company, but we’ll keep it simple.
So how do you do your part?
On Saturday the 24th (assuming you still have money left), try shopping locally for a change. That means:
- Avoid the large chain stores, i.e., no COSTCO, Wal-mart, K-mart or any other mart out there
- Stay away from the malls, UNLESS the business is locally owned
- Franchises are OK as long as they are individually owned and not part of the corporate ownership
- Buy gifts at some of the local boutiques, clothing stores, privately owned hardware stores or similar, food stores, bakeries, pet stores, wine merchants, and the list goes on and on.
Here’s a video that gives you a 1 minute intro from last year.
At a minimum at least go out to eat at somewhere that is NOT part of a big chain and do your part to keep entrepreneurship and small business alive and thriving.
This year we have a new supporter in the mix, the largest radio station in Southern California: KFI, AM640, which will be conducting their second “Ca$h Mob” on that day for a very lucky winner of their contest. The last one they had in Newport Beach this summer was a raging success and actually helped to keep the doors open of a locally owned toy store. Show host Bill Handel arrived and greeted the many customers as well as encouraging them to buy toys for charity (CHOC) at the store. Handle commented “We have never had such response from the public as we had for this cash mob,” and the KFI team decided they would have them throughout the year.
Would you like to be the focus of a 50,000 watt radio station sharing your store?? Contact the writer for information on the nomination and voting process.