Small Business Saturday and the Importance of Shopping Local
With Small Business Saturday coming up this month, we wanted to talk about the importance of small businesses and how they benefit the local community.
Let’s start with first impressions. Small businesses are given many labels:
- “The backbone of America”
- “The lifeblood of the economy”
- “Engines of growth”
These names come with good reason, too.
According to the US Small Business Administration, 99.9% of all businesses in the United States fall under the SBA’s definition of a small business. These small businesses created nearly 2 million new jobs this year.
Based on those statistics alone, it’s easy to see the importance of supporting small businesses.
This is not to say that larger businesses aren’t important — enterprises serve a vital role in the economy as well. Large-scale businesses provide stability to workers and can leverage economies of scale to make otherwise pricey products affordable to the average American.
However, it can’t be denied that small businesses are critical to the US economy.
What is Small Business Saturday?
To recognize the contributions made by the small business community, the SBA created Small Business Saturday on November 27th, 2010. On Small Business Saturday, consumers are urged to patronize local businesses in a show of support for smaller enterprises.
This year, the retail holiday falls on November 24, 2018.
Erply has been a proud sponsor of this important shopping holiday for several years now, and we’re excited to announce that we are once again sponsoring Small Business Saturday!
Read on to see why we so strongly believe in supporting small businesses.
Statistics Vs. Real-Life Impact
The SBA data that we listed above proves that small businesses promote economic opportunity and growth. Even more powerful than statistics, however, is the impact felt by your local community that results from a strong small business presence.
Small businesses benefit your local economy in many ways:
- Ties to the local community
- Local economic opportunity
- Community involvement
When asked about the benefits of local mom-and-pop shops, the average shopper gives subjective praise. Sure it’s nice to walk down a street of family-owned shops and restaurants, but do they really provide substantial benefits to the area?
The answer is yes!
Ties to the Local Community
Community ties come naturally to small businesses for many reasons. First and foremost, small business owners almost always come from the community that their business is in.
The bond between the small business and its surrounding community means that the business owner has deep knowledge of the local culture. Local business owners also tend to have more personal connections with local citizens than owners of big-box retailers.
This is helpful for a couple reasons.
Local businesses contribute to a sense of communal identity. A mom and pop diner that’s been in business for 30 years makes a large contribution to the culture and identity of the locality.
In very small towns, this impact can be huge. Identity is a strong way to bring people together, and small businesses can help form that identity. Off-the-beaten-path tourism is booming, and small businesses are huge contributors to those “5 Unexpected Places You Must Visit” articles.
Having local ties are helpful from a business perspective, too. To “local-conscious” consumers, a small business can appear more genuine. After all, the owner might also be a neighbor!
Consumers that care about buying local will frequent these businesses, regardless if enterprises offer lower prices. Naturally, these connections result in additional profits for the little guys. Because small business owners tend to have strong community ties, they know how to tailor their products and marketing strategies.
Local Economic Opportunity
Small businesses help remedy everyday commuting issues by providing local economic opportunities. This doesn’t just benefit employee morale (we’ll save that topic for another day), it also has a huge impact on the economic development of the surrounding area.
Economic opportunities tend to gather in cities and other metropolitan areas. It’s not uncommon to find employees that commute anywhere from 1-2 hours to get to work because of those opportunities.
Small businesses give us the opportunity to work closer to home. That means that we’re more likely to spend lunch money in the mom-and-pop pizzeria or pick up office supplies at the local drugstore. Higher small business activity yields frequent, reliable economic opportunities for locals.
That’s not to say that cities don’t house their fair share of small businesses, but local-conscious employees will want to spend money closer to home.
Small Business Saturday is a great time for small businesses (especially in suburban areas) to encourage people to shop locally.
Everyday commuters that might skip over your small business during their limited weekend time may be more inclined to explore hometown businesses. Once you grab their attention it’ll be easier to keep them coming back in the future.
Since small businesses are rooted in the communities they operate in, it makes sense that they would be involved in the community activities. Partnerships with schools, service providers, or even other businesses enable them to better serve customers while also boosting the local economy.
Running a charity operation, sponsoring an educational cause, or simply trying to provide better deals through local partnerships are simple ways to immensely benefit the community while attracting busiess.
We’ve seen small businesses get involved by sponsoring girl scout cookie sales or donating their goods to local events. Opportunities are everywhere, and they can be catered to the specific needs of the community. In this sense, small businesses tend to hold the upper hand compared to large enterprises.
Small businesses have plenty of incentives to better the community around them. Involvement means getting in touch with potential customers, building relationships with existing customers, and boosting the company’s image.
Shop Local on Small Business Saturday!
Celebrate Small Business Saturday on November 24, 2018.
We urge you to take part in Small Business Saturday and support your entrepreneurial neighbors! Shop local, spread the word with the #SmallBusinessSaturday and #ShopSmall hashtags, and travel off the beaten retail path.
On a quick note, the importance of small businesses doesn’t negate the benefits of large businesses and chains. Without enterprises, many items that you use daily would be unavailable to you because of price, lack of technology, or geographic unavailability.
However, Small Business Saturday is about promoting the little guys that might be otherwise overlooked for the above reasons. It’s important that we recognize small businesses for all that they do, which is why Erply is happy to once again sponsor Small Business Saturday this year.
If you own a small business and want to be featured on our Small Business Saturday posts, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!