Big box stores and online retailers make shopping easy. This means people often overlook the local businesses that make up their communities.
These small businesses are important to local economies. They provide unique products and services that big corporations can’t.
Small Business Saturday promotes these community pillars and encourages people to shop small. Here’s what you should know so you can celebrate and support your favorite small businesses.
What Is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday is an annual event that celebrates local small businesses and encourages people to shop and dine at small stores. The day was invented by American Express as a counter to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which typically benefits big box retail and e-commerce stores. It’s grown in popularity and has turned into a movement that highlights the significance of supporting local businesses.
When Is Small Business Saturday 2023?
Small Business Saturday takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving — meaning that in 2023, it falls on November 25. It kicks off the holiday shopping season, giving consumers the opportunity to buy unique gifts while supporting small, local businesses.
Why Is It Important to Celebrate Small Businesses?
Supporting small businesses is important. Here are a few reasons to shop small:
Small businesses are important to the local economy. When you shop small, the money you spend often goes back into the local community. This fosters job creation and stimulates economic growth. Plus, what you spend on sales tax and the taxes the business pays, stay in your community to support schools, roads and more.
Small businesses make your town special. Small businesses contribute to the local identity, creating diverse and vibrant communities. They often offer personalized experiences that large chains cannot.
Small businesses can be better for the environment. Small businesses often use fewer resources than large retailers. They can also produce goods in smaller quantities and generate less waste. While not all small businesses are inherently eco-friendly, their scale, local orientation and connection to the community can help maintain a smaller footprint.
Small businesses may have better customer service and expertise. Small business owners are often a part of their communities, so they have a good incentive to provide excellent customer service. They’re also very invested in their business and may have a depth of knowledge and expertise not found at larger businesses.
How Small Businesses Can Celebrate
Have a sale. Small Business Saturday kicks off the holiday season and is a great time to have a sale. Holiday shoppers will be out and about, so having a sale can give them an incentive to visit your store.
Host an event. Organize workshops, live music, or special in-store experiences to generate a buzz and attract customers.
Team up with other local businesses. Collaborating with other local entrepreneurs for promotions and events can draw bigger crowds and provide mutual benefits.
Promote your business. Get the word out about your business and any sales or events you’re organizing. Creating a marketing campaign can help you attract new customers and draw a bigger crowd. Social media and email marketing are two powerful, yet inexpensive ways to reach consumers.
How Consumers Can Celebrate
Shop and dine local. The easiest way for consumers to support small businesses is by becoming a patron. Spend the day discovering unique items and experiences in your own neighborhood.
Spread the word. Consumers can spread the word about their favorite small businesses by word-of-mouth or by sharing a social media post with the hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday.
Leave positive reviews. Reviews can be really impactful for small businesses. Sharing great experiences can help boost their online visibility and encourage others to check them out.
Purchase gift cards for holiday presents. It’s a win-win. Consumers get their holiday shopping done, and local businesses get immediate financial support. Plus, whoever receives the gift card may become a new customer for the business.
Small Business Owners Say It’s About Connecting With Your Community
“As an owner of JB Motor Works jbmotorwork.com, a small car repair business in Philadelphia, I’ve always seen Small Business Saturday as a special day to connect with the community. In my experience, the most effective way to participate is to create a community-focused event or initiative, something that brings people together and creates a sense of belonging.
“For example, we once organized a free car maintenance workshop during the weekend, addressing common car issues and how-to DIY quick fixes. It was not just a platform for us to impart knowledge but also an opportunity for us to interact and build relations with our customers — which turned out to be a huge success.
“Another approach we take is ‘teamwork for discounts’. We’ve encouraged customers to bring in friends or family members for servicing or repairs, and in return, we offered them discounts. This not only increased our customer base but also boosted our sales – a win-win!
“Small Business Saturday seems to be much more than just a sales day; it’s an opportunity to forge stronger bonds with the community. That’s always been our focus at JB Motor Works.”
John Lin, Owner
JB Motor Works
John Lin, the co-founder of JB Motor Works, is a man of many talents. A seasoned mechanic, a savvy entrepreneur, and a car enthusiast at heart, John has transformed his passion for vehicles into a successful business. His journey in the auto industry began over a decade ago as a humble trainee mechanic. Through sheer dedication and a thirst for knowledge, he ascended the ranks to become a master technician, skilled in handling both domestic and import vehicles.
“In my experience, the most effective way for businesses like mine to participate in Small Business Saturday is by creating a genuine sense of community and rewarding loyalty. This could range from hosting unique in-store events or special discounts for loyal customers, to promoting other local businesses in our networks. Essentially, it’s all about strengthening relationships and demonstrating how valuable every customer is to our business.
“F&J Outdoor, for instance, gives a special discount during this day, we also arrange a small get-together inviting all our local customers. We beautify our storefront to create a festive atmosphere, and we donate a portion of the day’s proceeds to a local cause, this way the event not just serves our business but also contributes to the local community.
“Our clients appreciate these efforts as they feel more personally connected to our brand. At the end of the day, Small Business Saturday is an occasion for us to express gratitude to our customers and the community that supports us and makes our business thrive.”
Wendy Wang, Owner
The fearless founder of F&J outdoors. She traded her corporate career in China for a life of love and adventure in the US. Now she creates products that embody her passion for fun and joy in the great outdoors. F&J Outdoors: Live your dream.
“As the owner of Birkes Builders, a design-build construction firm based in Texas, I’ve found that the most effective way to participate in Small Business Saturday is through community involvement combined with targeted local marketing initiatives.
“For us, Small Business Saturday isn’t just about making sales; it’s a time to strengthen our community ties and raise awareness about the value we provide. We plan events like tour-of-homes or DIY workshops that dovetail nicely with our services. It helps remind our local community that we are here to provide a valuable service while also giving them an engaging
“Social media and community forums play a significant role too. We share stories of our most poignant local projects, host virtual house tours, and even put out limited-time offers to motivate people to engage with us while highlighting our role in the community.
“Lastly, collaboration with other local businesses helps multiply the impact. For instance, we might collaborate with a local café for a co-sponsored offer, fostering a synergy that benefits all involved – the café, us and of course, the community.”
David Birkes, Owner, General Contractor & Builder
David is the Owner of the up-and-coming General Contracting Company in DFW. He has over 10 years in business and grew up building from when he was a young boy. To this day, he is dedicated to bringing the Construction industry into the 21st century.
DISCLAIMER: The individuals and companies mentioned are not affiliates, agents, or sponsors of OnDeck. OnDeck makes no representations, warranties, or guarantees about the information or services provided by the mentioned companies and individuals.