Small Business Saturday is an effort supported by American Express, as well as business and government leaders nationwide, which encourages holiday shoppers to shop at small businesses in their communities. In 2011, an estimated 100 million people, including President Obama, opted to "Shop Small." They are encouraged to do so again this Saturday, Nov. 24.
The Small Business Saturday Facebook page has already generated more than 3 million likes, a significant increase from 2.6 million last year. American Express offers card members a $25 credit for any $25 or more spent at qualifying small businesses.
The SBA offers advice for small business owners on how to prepare for the holiday season on its Small Business Matters blog and provides links to Small Business Saturday materials that Amex has developed.
Small Business Saturday was started as the little guy's answer to the Midnight Madness that retailers such as Wal*Mart and Best Buy create on Black Friday. Small merchants need all the help they can get as the big retailers now jump the gun and open on Thanksgiving Day itself.
Consumers who shop at New Jersey-based businesses ultimately support the small, independently owned businesses that create new jobs, invigorate neighborhoods, and help the economy grow.
This year, Thanksgiving fell on Nov. 22, which means the post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping season will be a total of 32 days before Christmas.
The Garden State's small retailers desperately need a strong fourth quarter. So many of them were hurt by Hurricane Sandy and need to improve their cash flow. The holiday season is when many of them go from running in the red to running in the black. (Thus came the term "Black Friday.")
I encourage holiday shoppers to participate in Small Business Saturday and support their local New Jersey merchants this weekend.
Rohit Arora is co-founder and CEO of Biz2Credit, an online resource that connects 1.6 million small business owners with 1,100+ lenders, credit rating agencies and service providers such as CPAs and attorneys via its Internet platform. Since 2007, Biz2Credit has secured more than $750 million in funding for small businesses in New Jersey and across the U.S.