When New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault announced in 2010 that New York would be the first city to designate the first Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday, I was thrilled.
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Large retailers have counted on Black Friday to boost year-end sales for decades, and now that online shopping is the norm, many of those same retailers have been major beneficiaries of Cyber Monday. So it only makes sense on so many levels to launch an effort specifically aimed at encouraging consumers to spend with small independent businesses, which have always been a key driver of the economy.
Entrepreneurs, particularly those serving inner-city communities, should be all over Small Business Saturday, with on-purpose marketing strategies including discounts and other special sales incentives that will reward consumers who recognize the day by holiday shopping with their businesses. Small business owners and entrepreneurial groups, including local chambers of commerce, also need to be proactive in getting their local elected officials to support and promote Small Business Saturday in their states, counties, cities and districts.
For us as consumers, this represents a major opportunity to support black entrepreneurship, which is predominantly comprised of small businesses. First, don’t forget small businesses based in low-to-middle income communities in rural and urban areas. Second, let’s try to include small businesses that may offer great products and services, but don’t accept credit cards.
One of the fundamentals of our mission at Black Enterprise is to champion entrepreneurship. Let’s make Small Business Saturday an annual holiday shopping tradition that’s at least as popular and important to our economy as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.