With a plan to support small businesses across the nation, American Express launched SBS as an annual holiday in 2010. Small businesses created 65 percent of net new jobs in the 17-year period ending in 2009, according to the US Small Business Administration. In this tough economic climate, it is more important than ever to shop at the small businesses that keep our communities thriving. Here are five ways you can help your local retailers stay in business, this Saturday and all year long:
Find small businesses near you with the Shop Small Map. You can search by city name, zip code or business name. Next, stay connected with your small businesses by following their social feeds on pages such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Most retailers reward their fans by posting their latest deals and merchandise.
Word of mouth is notably the oldest and best form of advertisement. If there’s a local diner, boutique, hair salon, beauty spa or coffee shop that you visit frequently, tell your friends about the experience. The easiest way to do this is by taking a picture and posting it to social sharing sites with a few words about your experience.
When you're shopping locally, use the "check-in" feature on your Facebook or Foursquare mobile app. To discuss a more in-depth experience, use websites such as Yelp, Yahoo and Google to find the businesses and share your thoughts in the review section. Reviews are public and offer detailed information to others seeking similar products and services.
Websites like Etsy.com and Tophatter.com have emerged to bring local retailers an online marketplace. Several small businesses have used these sites to sell unique art pieces, handmade crafts and custom designs to customers across the nation. Jasika Scruggs, small business owner of TwoBackFlats in Baltimore, notes that the majority of her clients are from Los Angeles. Scruggs makes mini hats that are custom-made for each customer.
“It’s easy to get carried away with this, but I love brainstorming with my customers. I love seeing their dresses for their best occasions and their wild, dreamy, outrageous inspiration photos. I love hunting for the perfect feather and fabric, and the most whimsical vintage brooch.”
You may find that some of your favorite retailers don't participate in SBS. In an effort to raise awareness, let them know about the free advertising and marketing resources available online.
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