On Saturday, November 28, 2015 U.S. businesses and consumers will observe the fifth annual Small Business Saturday®. Consumers are encouraged to patronize "Mom and Pop" stores and other locally-owned operations. This day is the cream filling to the busiest shopping weekend in the U.S., sandwiched by Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The purpose is not to admonish those who shop at large businesses or chain stores but to share the wealth of the weekend with all sizes of businesses. Last year, 88 million people shopped small and spent an estimated $14.3 billion at small independent businesses, according the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey.
Many of us likely imagine this small shopping as an experience in our neighborhood, browsing a boutique the size of an apartment and hitting a local coffee joint or deli to refuel along the way. These places might have an employee or three, possibly even the owner, behind the counter, and they are the epitome of small retail. The federal standards, however, for employees of a "small business" are actually much higher -- usually 500!
These size standards are developed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). According to its website, the SBA recognizes "that small business is critical to our economic recovery and strength, to building America's future, and to helping the United States compete in today's global marketplace." Established in 1953, it has "an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations" and is an invaluable resource for starting or growing a small business. You can even choose from nearly 60 free courses available in the online SBA Learning Center.
COBRT members exemplify the importance of diversity in business size. We are, in fact, a small business, as are many of our members and partners. This is not surprising since there are approximately 28 million small businesses in the U.S. and over 550,000 in Colorado. We value policy and information from the National Small Business Association and share it across our network. Yet, we work with some of the state's largest businesses, even some of the nation's largest businesses. We are a state affiliate of the Business Roundtable, of which "CEO members lead U.S. companies with $7.2 trillion in annual revenues and nearly 16 million employees." It is fundamental to our success that COBRT works with all sizes of companies.
Small Business Saturday® itself was founded by a very large business, Amex AKA American Express. Why? Because it wanted to "help small businesses do more business." This too illustrates how companies of all sizes can work together. Certainly, competition is a tenet of capitalism, but so then is choice. Small businesses help ensure that we have choices in consumption.
To make choices in support of small business shopping this weekend or any weekend, click here and enter your ZIP code. Join the conversation on the Small Business Saturday Facebook page or with #ShopSmall, #SmallBizSat and #COBRT.