It might be a little too early to think about the upcoming 2011 holiday season but if you’re a small business, you were thinking about it when everybody else was still winding down from the the 2010 season. It may not matter quite as much if you’re not a retailer merchant but if you are, the holiday season can make or break your sales year. Once again this year a popular credit card company wants to make sure that small businesses get their share of the business in November and December and this year, other large companies are getting in on the action.
Who has the power to create a holiday? Other than Hallmark there aren’t too many but that’s what American Express is trying to do with their second annual Small Business Saturday which takes place on November 26th. Because this falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday the idea is that people will still be in bargain shopping mode. With some incentives, they will not go to the big box stores but instead, head out to the smaller, locally owned business who are more vital to the community economy than the national economy. If small businesses fail, the community suffers because although the most visible job centers are at the big box stores, the largest amount of workers are found spread throughout the small business community.
This year, just like last year, Facebook will be giving away $100 in free Facebook advertising to the first 10,000 businesses who agree to advertise their promotions for Small Business Saturday. American Express will offer a $25 credit to those people who register their cards and use those cards at small businesses on November 26th and one newcomer to the event, FedEx, announced that they will give out $25 gift cards to the first 30,000 people who register.
Small Business Saturday may have been a PR success last year but did it actually help small business owners? 1.5 million people “liked” the event on Facebook and according to American Express, retailers who accepted their card saw a 28% increase in sales from the same time in 2009. Some will argue that economic conditions were much different between the two seasons but this year may shed even more light on the effectiveness of the event.
All businesses look for ways to get their name in the public eye and there is no denying that American Express is looking to help their bottom line as much as they are the nation’s small businesses but with their corporate partners as well as the 150 coalitions and small business interest groups who have already signed on to be a major part of this event, the 2011 Small Business Saturday appears to be on a multi year trajectory of growth and that can only be beneficial to small businesses all over the country.