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Small Business Saturday – A Big Day for Small Business

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announces Small Business Saturday at City Hall
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announces Small Business Saturday at City Hall

American Express recently announced a nationwide program designed to help generate sales for small business owners on Small Business Saturday which is scheduled to occur on the Saturday, November 27th, between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Hoping to drum up support for independent merchants, American Express’ CEO said that his company will promote Small Business Saturday on the weekend after Thanksgiving.  This is the start of a movement, said Kenneth Chenault, who joined New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a City Hall news conference to announce the effort.

Chenault said that large retailers have Black Friday and online retailers have Cyber Monday, and now, starting on Nov. 27 of this year, small business owners will have Small Business Saturday.

Chenault said the first 10,000 small business owners who sign up to participate will get $100 worth of Facebook advertising. American Express will give a $25 credit to 100,000 of its cardholders who pledge to use their cards at independent businesses on Nov. 27.

Bloomberg said small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the glue that holds communities together. American Express will spread the word about Small Business Saturday on Facebook and Twitter, Chenault said.

New York City store managers said they welcomed the program. It couldn’t hurt, said Thomas Talbot, manager of an Upper East Side bookstore called Crawford Doyle Booksellers. Manager Anne Barker of Coclico, a shoe store in the hip downtown neighborhood of Nolita, said the $25 American Express incentive will make ‘on-the-fence’ consumers ready to make a purchase that they had been considering for some time.

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. The following Monday has in recent years been promoted as Cyber Monday for Internet shopping.

Chenault said Cyber Monday did not catch on immediately and Small Business Friday may not succeed overnight. This is not a flash in the pan, he said. We are committed to this effort for years to come.

Below are some other highlights from the America Express Small Business Saturday program:

  • American Express is giving a $25 statement credit to 100,000 card members who register their American Express card and use it to shop on Small Business Saturday at any locally-owned, independent small businesses that accept American Express.
  • Small business owners can download online promotional materials and use a number of social media tools to promote their businesses during the inaugural Small Business Saturday.
  • American Express is encouraging everyone can spread the word about the day and their favorite businesses by giving a shout-out to their favorite local shops and restaurants via Facebook and Twitter. (My favorite small business is Clay’s Creative Corner Bakery – if you live in the Philly suburbs, I highly recommend checking out their dessert options for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas).
  • For every person who ‘likes’ Small Business Saturday on Facebook, American Express is donating $1 up to $500,000 to Girls Inc. to empower young women to be entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Small businesses are the heart of our nation’s economy and to help prove this point, below are some interesting facts from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the small business advocacy group, The 3/50 Project.

– There were nearly 28 million small businesses in the U.S. last year.

– Small businesses represent 99.7% of all employer firms.

– They employ half of all private sector employees.

– They pay 45% of total U.S. private payroll.

– Small businesses have generated 60 to 80% of net new jobs annually over the last decade.

– They create more than 50% of nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).

– For every $100 spent in locally-owned, independent stores, $68 returns to the community through local taxes, payroll and other expenditures

Chenault said American Express plans to talk to business owners after Nov. 27 to gauge the success of Small Business Saturday. We are committed to this effort for years to come, he said.

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