Each week on the The Urban Business Roundtable I offer commentary with our “Alfred’s Notepad” segment, which is my chance to talk about opportunities, news and strategies of critical importance to entrepreneurs who are serious about the success of their businesses. My topic this week falls squarely in the opportunities category: Small Business Saturday, November 27, 2010.
When New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault announced this week that New York would be the first city to designate the first Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday, I was thrilled. Large retailers have counted on Black Friday to boost year-end sales for decades. More recently, as the popularity of online shopping continues to grow, many of those same retailers have also been major beneficiaries of Cyber Monday. It makes sense on so many levels to launch an effort specifically aimed at encouraging consumers to spend with small independent businesses, a key source of new jobs in an economy still in recovery mode.
Entrepreneurs in the UBR audience, particularly those serving inner-city communities, should be all over this initiative, with on-purpose marketing strategies including discounts and other special sales incentives that will reward consumers who recognize Small Business Saturday by holiday shopping with your businesses. Small business owners and entrepreneurial groups, including local chambers of commerce, also need to be proactive in pressing their local elected officials to formally support and recognize 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. Be willing to spend in nearby neighborhoods that may have been hit