Small Businesses Saturday

American Express encourages people to visit small businesses with fifth annual Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday was founded by American Express in 2010 to promote shopping at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. 

American Express provides participating businesses with resources to promote themselves, such as free online ads and printable signage, as well as email templates and social media posts complete with the American Express and Shop Small logos. Business participants are added to the Shop Small map, which shoppers can use to peruse the participating establishments.

Small Business Saturday is in its fifth year. The National Federation of Independent Businesses President and CEO Dan Danner told Business Wire the occasion has not only grown each year, but also promotes small business shopping all year-round by introducing shoppers to new smaller establishments.

Small Business Saturday is promoted by the participating companies, American Express and designated "Neighborhood Champions." These business association, chambers of commerce and community organizers commit to creating and running events and activities to get the neighborhood involved with Small Business Saturday. A small business in the Motor City called Pure Detroit created a passport for the 2013 event, encouraging shoppers to visit various shops in the area. Businesses gave discounts and even free treats to shoppers with stamped passports. 

Shoppers who registered their American Express cards on the Shop Small website and use their card to buy $10 or more worth of merchandise at a participating store will receive a $10 credit to their cards within 90 days of the purchase. This offer is available to each shopper for up to three stores, and a total of $30 credited back to their card. 

Pippen Lane, a children's fashion boutique in New Orleans, took part in last year's Small Business Saturday. They used social media posts and emails to spread the word about the event. The business experienced a 20 percent increase in sales on Small Business Saturday in comparison to previous Saturdays. 

Not only is holiday shopping an important opportunity to increase revenue, it occurs in the last few weeks of the last fiscal quarter of the year. Increased holiday shopping helps many businesses reach and exceed their yearly revenue goals.

Whether you're planning to use your online business management degree to run a small retail business or a large corporation, holiday spending is an important part of the retail industry's fiscal year. It is also an indicator of the status of the economy and consumer confidence, which affects nearly all businesses inside and outside of the retail industry.

This year's Shop Small Saturday is on Nov. 29, 2014. Visit the Shop Small map to see participating retailers.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online bachelor degree programs in business and online MBA programs. To find out more, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers_business

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