Friday, November 26, 2010

How American Express Small Busines Saturday Could Work To Fight Hunger

While retail businesses are waiting anxiously to see whether consumers are feeling less pinched on this big holiday shopping weekend, the lines at the local food banks have doubled.

Small, local businesses have been hurt with the downturn of the economy contributing to the loss of jobs and reduced revenue to local communities. And yet, small businesses, many of them featured here, throughout this downturn have been finding creative ways to help support their local communities in spite of their own hard times.

Several posts here,earlier addressed the need for small businesses to understand that one of the most powerful ways for small businesses to grow is by giving back to their local communities. As I pointed out earlier small business can identify local community needs often better than larger companies and can offer unique opportunities for sponsorships and partnerships to local charities.

Now, small businesses may be getting a chance to get in on the weekend shopping madness with the declaration of Small Business Saturday.

This Saturday, November 27th comes a national movement, via American Express, to drive shoppers to support small businesses called Small Business Saturday(SM). This day was created to support the small businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country.

Here is how the program works:
* American Express is giving a $25 statement credit(1) to 100,000 Cardmembers who register their Card and use it to shop on Small Business Saturday at any locally-owned, independent small businesses that accept American Express.
* American Express is also giving $100 of free Facebook advertising(2) to 10,000 business owners who sign up at to help build online buzz and drive customers to shop at their businesses on Small Business Saturday. By simply entering a few pieces of information and clicking a button, these business owners can create a personalized, geo-targeted ad that will run on Facebook leading up to November 27th. Facebook has donated $500,000 in Facebook credits for these small business owners to use in the future.
 * Small business owners can also download online promotional materials and use a number of social media tools to promote their businesses on the inaugural Small Business Saturday.
* 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.
* 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 the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

There are great reasons to support local businesses and here are the four reasons their site gives.
For every $100.00, $68.00 returns to the community.
Small Businesses employ over half of all private sector employees.
Small businesses represent over 99% of all employer firms.
In the last decade, 60-80% of new jobs were generated by small businesses.
And I'd like to add one more:
As small businesses grow they can give more back to their community.

So, I'd like to see a scenario where Small Business Day Can help boost a local business and help a cause, such as hunger:

In my area, in Palo Alto, CA a local men's clothing store, Patrick James is hosting an annual food drive until Nov.30th. Customers who bring canned items to any Patrick James store receive 15% off of that days purchase.

Now couple that with small business day, where a customer of a Patrick James store, could bring in canned goods for the, receive a 15% discount for their purchase and the $25.00 credit from American Express.

Let there be no doubt about the fact that the American Express Small Business Day is a strategy to boost the use of American Express credit card during the holiday season while aiming to boost sales for local small businesses. This is not meant as a criticism as this move is purely strategic and may prove to be a boon for the local small businesses.

Should they continue this idea, I would love to see some kind of partnering with local causes which would create a real boon to communities all over this country, and help to eradicate hunger, as well as other important causes.

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