What is Small Business Saturday®?

what is small business saturday

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Without small businesses, the United States economy would not grow. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses make up 99% of all companies in our country. They fuel innovation, drive economic growth, and create millions of job opportunities. So, what better way to support small businesses than with an annual event that encourages people to shop at local businesses. Of course, we are talking about Small Business Saturday®, which American Express® started in 2010.

Since its inception, this one-day event has greatly benefitted small businesses from a financial standpoint each year. In addition, American Express® runs television commercials and online ads that promote Small Business Saturday® during November, which helps get the word out on a national scale. If you have seen the ads or perhaps a sticker on a store window, you might have wondered, “Just what is Small Business Saturday®?” Well, not to worry. This blog post from Balboa Capital has the information you need to know.

About Small Business Saturday®.

As mentioned earlier, American Express® laid the groundwork for Small Business Saturday® and introduced it on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2010. The event’s primary goals were to promote our nation’s small businesses, encourage consumers to shop at small businesses during the holidays, and boost the economy during the recession that put a damper on consumer and business confidence. The first-ever event was a tremendous success, and the United States government took notice.

In 2011, the movement forged ahead. Backed by clever marketing and advertising, Small Business Saturday® resonated with consumers and business owners alike. Later that year, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution that made Small Business Saturday® an annual event. It received strong support from the president and elected officials in all 50 states.

Over the years, Small Business Saturday® has become an instantly recognizable event. Small businesses in every industry participate each year, and the event has expanded its reach with local contests and activities.

Is it successful?

Small Business Saturday® lands on the day after Black Friday, which is typically the biggest shopping day of the year. As a result, a substantial amount of holiday spending has already occurred before businesses open their doors on Saturday. However, millions of Americans avoid the hustle and bustle of Black Friday and do their shopping on Small Business Saturday® or Cyber Monday. In addition, consumers who prefer mom-and-pop stores to department stores and big-box retailers are also more likely to shop on Small Business Saturday®.

The competition is fierce, with our nation’s most popular holiday sales events happening over three consecutive days. Small Business Saturday® has proven successful for millions of independent retailers, restaurants, and specialty stores. American Express® reported that American shoppers spent over $20 billion on Small Business Saturday® in 2021.

Consumers like to shop at local stores.

Large brand-name stores might have brand awareness, more prominent store locations, and huge sales revenues, but small businesses are poised to thrive. This is because mom-and-pop stores have something special that taps into the hearts and minds of consumers. People know that shopping at their local hardware store, clothing boutique, flower shop, grocery store, or toy store will positively impact the community. As a side note, research shows that for every dollar spent at a small business, sixty-nine cents remains in the community in which the company resides.

Intuit® conducted a survey last year to gauge the awareness of Small Business Saturday®. The results reveal 57 percent of consumers shop at small businesses throughout the year to support them and keep their communities moving forward. This further supports the notion that consumers like to spend their money at small businesses in their local communities.

How to participate in Small Business Saturday®.

The holiday shopping season is an exciting, albeit challenging, time for small businesses. They need to get ready for the influx of in-store and online shoppers by stocking up on inventory, putting up decorations, hiring part-time help, finalizing promotions, and updating their websites. If tasks like these are completed in the weeks leading up to Small Business Saturday®, business owners and their employees will get the most out of this big shopping day.

Participating in Small Business Saturday® is easy and only requires a little bit of effort. However, before developing your action plan, remember that you do not need to promote Small Business Saturday®. American Express® has this covered, and the national and local news outlets will run stories about the event. However, you should promote your company on Small Business Saturday® and advertise any sales, special offers, or special incentives that you will have.

You can utilize social media to get the word out and build excitement among your followers. For example, posts that announce your holiday hours, special discounts, and new holiday products can help drive sales. Include the most widely used hashtags in your posts for maximum reach. For example, hashtags relating to Small Business Saturday® will trend online. Just make sure to engage with your followers who comment on your posts.

Another way to participate in this event is by sending out a targeted email campaign that announces your special promotions or discounts. Lastly, you can reach out to other local business owners to see if they might be interested in offering cross-promotions on Small Business Saturday®. This is a great way to generate sales while providing holiday offers to your mutual customers.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Balboa Capital, a Division of Ameris Bank, is not affiliated with nor endorses the Small Business Administration, American Express, Small Business Saturday, or Intuit. Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express.