In just a few short years, Small Business Saturday has begun to make a significant impact every holiday season, and that trend certainly continued this year. Once again, shoppers flocked to independent companies across the country to make purchases on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.
In all, it seems that consumers who were aware of the existence of Small Business Saturday spent some $5.7 billion at these companies on Nov. 30, up 3.6 percent from the $5.5 billion spent on the same promotional day last year, according to research from American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business. Furthermore, awareness of the event grew as well, as 71 percent of those polled said they’d heard of Small Business Saturday, up from the previous year’s 67 percent. Slightly less than half of people who said they knew about it also went out and shopped that day.
“In an uncertain economy, America’s small businesses have remained a beacon – creating good jobs and supporting the families they employ and the communities around them,” said NFIB chief executive officer Dan Danner. “We are very pleased that so many Americans sought to give back by shopping small this Small Business Saturday. We hope that support of small firms, retailers, restaurants and other independent businesses continues throughout the holiday season and all year round. Continued support of this vital sector is one important way to ensure our economy fully recovers and a healthy private sector is restored.”
A big push from the government
One of the big reasons for the growing knowledge of Small Business Saturday’s existence seems to be a heavy push from governments at the local, state, and even federal levels, the report said. For instance, elected officials in all 50 states – including President Barack Obama – made at least some effort to personally promote the event. Further, 294 cities, and the governors of 41 states nationwide issued proclamations supporting the day.
On the other hand, this is not to say that communities themselves were not also heavily involved, as more than 1,400 people – dubbed “Neighborhood Champions” – organized promotions from smaller companies in their areas, and larger entities including Federal Express and the U.S. Postal Service, as well as the online platforms Foursquare and Twitter also worked to get the word out. To that end, more than 352,000 tweets supporting Small Business Saturday using the hashtags #SmallBizSat or #ShopSmall were posted on that day, up 65 percent from the same time in 2012. Further, more than 3.3 million people around the world currently “like” the official Small Business Saturday page on Facebook.
It is important for independent companies across the country to increase the awareness of their goods or services in the local community, not only on Small Business Saturday or during the holiday season, but all year long. There is no better way to help ensure such an enterprise’s success than to have a strong and vibrant consumer base built on high-quality offerings and top-notch customer service. However, this is often easier said than done, especially because companies often deal with extremely thin margins. Therefore, it may be advisable for owners to begin looking into more affordable small business insurance options as a means of shoring up their bottom lines. For example, cutting costs for workers’ compensation coverage or general liability insurance can help to save as much as a few thousand dollars a year or more, and that can go a long way to ensuring the companies remain profitable, and that their options for expansion are as open as possible.