Small Business Saturday fosters year-round community togetherness

Small Business Saturday fosters year-round community togetherness

Small Business Saturday is right over the horizon, and local store owners could practically jump for joy at the mere thought of it.

Even though this event obviously has its economic perks by encouraging Americans to turn to mom-and-pop shops for their holiday presents, it has more to offer. For the fourth year in a row, the Saturday after Thanksgiving presents small businesses with the opportunity to connect with their consumers throughout the community – and even reward their loyalty with promo items.

This year's Small Business Saturday is particularly important, as the calendar has condensed the festive shopping season. Because Thanksgiving falls on a late date, which also happens to be the first day of Hanukkah, consumers have a narrower timeframe in which they can cross all of the items off of their gift lists.

Bearing this in mind, small business owners want to be sure that they start this season off with a bang. When Nov. 30 comes around, which is in nearly a week's time, they need to be prepared to begin ringing up transaction after transaction.

With that said, stores are going to want to put some effort into making their customers' shopping experiences enjoyable, guaranteeing that these patrons will return to a store in the future. While small businesses shouldn't blow their budgets by throwing elaborate extravaganzas, they should dedicate some of their resources to ensuring that the day is special for the consumers who are taking the time to support the local economy.

American Express, the sponsor of Small Business Saturday, shared some valuable and even inspiring testimonials from entrepreneurs across the country who have taken extraordinary initiative to celebrate the shopping occasion.

Stick together
While it can be easy for shops to focus on what they can do to boost sales and attract consumers, they may actually find it helpful to join forces with other community organizations. They should explore potential partnerships to promote their companies on Small Business Saturday.

Bud and Lisa LeFevre, owners of Distinctive Gardens in Dixon, Ill., told American Express that they have made this event a group initiative. All of the town's local independently-owned stores have banded together, and they even created a map to show consumers where stores are situated. This will encourage residents to hop from one business to another.

Companies could even follow Las Vegas' example. The Los Angeles Times explained that small businesses in the city gather together to form an outside market called the Neon Bazaar. Here, shoppers are able to listen to live bands and participate in contests where they can win promotional items while perusing merchandise offered by local vendors on Nov. 30. This not only guarantees that everyone has a fun time, but it also helps to reinforce the concept of it being a community celebration. As a result, a real sense of camaraderie is created, which benefits businesses in the long-run. 

Look at the bigger picture
Although Small Business Saturday serves to generate revenue for local shops, it does so much more. Entrepreneurs should view this as a chance to bring their community closer together. This is an event that allows them to collaborate with consumers to improve their cities and towns as a whole and for the long haul.

"You can have failing elements to your city, but as long as the community is engaged and has pride, we've learned that there is nothing that can really stop us," Ryan, an employee at Pure Detroit, said to AmEx. "And small businesses are true, resilient character-driven entities that prove that Detroit is going to do it and is going to come back."

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