The Saturday sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday has been dubbed “Small Business Saturday” since 2010. An initiative founded by, funny enough, one of the largest businesses in the US, American Express, Small Business Saturday sheds light on an absolutely critical part of the US economy: small businesses.
Today, there approximately 28 million small businesses operating, accounting for about two-thirds of all American jobs. Big box retailers take center stage with Black Friday deals, even garnering some attention by opening on Thanksgiving evening; online retailers have Cyber Monday to draw attention to their storefronts. But Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to stop in at their neighborhood stores and restaurants, keeping those dollars in the local economy. In fact, when consumers “shop small”, 52 cents of every dollar stays in the local community.
But supporting small businesses goes well beyond a single day each year. Small businesses need ongoing support in order to continue growing, creating jobs, and helping local economies.
Growth Strategies for Small Businesses
In case you missed it, Entrepreneur published an article that states simply, “Entrepreneurs stay in startup mode way too long.” The implication is clear: saying your business is “just a startup” can become a crutch that prevents you from growing your business. The article offers up five strategies to get out of startup mode and grow the business:
- Delegate — The vast majority of small businesses have one employee, which highlights small business owners’ resistance to delegation. But growth requires more than one employee to carry the load, and small business owners must learn to delegate. Whether passing daily tasks to employees, finding third parties to support back-office functions, or relying on partners to shore up the business’s financials, delegation is a critical growth strategy.
- Pick Your Battles — Getting distracted by small day-to-day decisions can pull small business owners’ attention away from the activities that really matter: “gaining customers and making money.”
- Get Attention — Every small business owner knows that the first step toward success is finding someone who’s willing to work with your business. Attention for your business — whether good or bad — is still attention. Once people are paying attention, however, the pressure is on to gain their trust.
- Change Your Pitch — Your business may be held back simply by the way you position it. If you own a small neighborhood restaurant and describe it that way, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Create Urgency — The last strategy highlighted by the Entrepreneur article requires setting timelines and milestones for yourself as a small business owner. If you’re not creating urgency and deadlines for yourself, no one else is, either.
There’s no shortage of books, blogs, articles, and advice for small business owners…but the implication is clear: small business owners need support for growing their businesses, creating jobs, and helping local and national economies alike. It’s not a unique situation on Small Business Saturday, although the national attention doesn’t hurt.