At the time of writing, there are 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S., employing 47.1% of the American workforce. Those are some impressive numbers considering the abysmal average success rate of new businesses!
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic hit businesses--especially small businesses--hard. In fact, according to the NCBI, 22% of small businesses were inactive between February and April 2020.
But it’s not all doom and gloom! The global pandemic also made us scrappy fighters in business. According to data from Yelp, more new businesses were started in the first quarter of 2021 than any other period in the 12 months prior.
That means it’s an excellent time to show the new guys and gals some love. Here’s how to do it--and why you should.
In the United States, a small business is defined by its number of employees and/or its average number of annual receipts. (That’s government speak for “gross income plus cost of goods sold.”) Depending on the industry, a small business might have <100 employees and less than $7.5 million in annual receipts or <1,500 employees and less than $27 million in annual receipts
Confusing? A bit...and we aren’t done yet: the SBA offers a 46-page chart detailing all kinds of industries and the unique size requirements they must meet to qualify as a “small business.”
In addition to size requirements, a small business must:
Ah, let us count the ways...
The best way to directly support a small business is simple: buy their products or make use of their services. But that’s not all! There are loads of other ways you can show your support. Here are four to get you started:
Have you recently had a great experience while purchasing a product or using service provided by a small business? Share an online review or tell your friends and family about it!
(That last point is important because word of mouth “marketing” results in 5x more sales than a paid media impression.)
Never underestimate the power of the internet. If a small business you support posts promotional content on Facebook, hit the Like button and click ‘share’. The next time you pop into your local family-owned café and sit down to enjoy a creamy cappuccino (and perhaps a sneaky slice of cake), share it on Instagram and tag the cafe’s location.
Being a small business owner can be a lonely profession. Keep the small business owners in your area motivated by showing your appreciation for who they are and what they’re doing. Whether you express thanks with a heartfelt “thank you,” a bunch of flowers, or even a small gift—a little goes a long way.
American Express started Small Business Saturday in 2010 as an attempt to offset the effects of the Great Recession on local operations. SBS is still going strong today, reminding consumers of the important role they play in sustaining local businesses.
If you think a little annual holiday founded by a credit card company can’t make an impact for small businesses--think again. In 2019, consumers spent $19.6 billion on Small Business Saturday--dusting the combined $14.6 billion shoppers spent between Black Friday and Cyber Monday the same weekend.
Small businesses aren’t just the economic backbone of America; they’re a driving force of innovation, creativity, and the entrepreneurial spirit upon which this country was founded.