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Not Small Business Saturday, Small Business Everyday

I think American Express has done a very good job of promoting Small Business Saturday. Any awareness of the plight of small business is a good thing. Small business owners in brick and mortar stores, Small Business online and small business who do business with both a physical presence and an online presence face an unsurmountable army of big box retail stores who  sell almost everything under the sun. At least this is the story that WalMart, Home Depot, Best Buy and others would like you to believe. The truth is that small business is the number one creator of jobs in this country. We are better equipped to service the customer and more likely to truly take care of the customer.

We need to shift our mentality in this country. One day a year to support small business is the wrong mindset. We need to focus on supporting small business every day.  When you make a purchase at your local big box store you support having your family work on Thanksgiving and sending your hard earned dollars to corporate CEO’s. 

The irony is many of us as small business owners ‘feed the beast’ and make purchases from the companies listed. Just like with our children, we need to set the example and model the behavior we are asking the rest of the country to follow. Small business needs to buy it tech, office supplies, packaging materials, etc. from other small businesses.

We need to work smarter and be more careful about the political causes we sign onto. For example I find it somewhat ironic that the businesses above are the ones ‘leading the charge’ to ‘level the playing field’ for all small business. That sounds great, but since when have these stores been worried about a level playing field for us?

Small business faces an uphill battle. Our suppliers sell material to big box stores at reduced prices and they are often willing to turn around and sell it at or below cost. Even the US Post Office is willing to make concessions, forcing local mail carriers to work on Sundays to deliver their parcels.

Economics is a simple game really. More money and more purchases is more power. Its time as small business to shop small business, not just this one Saturday, but every day. As local office supply stores go out of business, lets shift our buying habits and by from the local office supply store. Instead of going the ‘corporate geeks’ for our computers, let’s find a supplier, online or in our community that is privately owned and operated.

We need to encourage our spouses, friends and co-workers to make purchases from small business. I do want to make one thing clear. Local franchise owners, wit big national names are still small business.

For everyone who has decided to shop Small Business today, I would like to say thanks. To my fellow small business owners, and to myself, I will end with a quote I heard at church one Sunday morning. ‘Show me your calendar and your checkbook and I will tell you what your priorities are.’ If as a small business you are committed to building small business, shouldn’t your checkbook reflect that?