Now approaching its 13th year, Small Business Saturday has become a national movement (created by American Express) aimed at supporting small businesses by shopping more. Indeed, the economic impact of this one day is great. According to the 2022 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, $17.9 billion was spent at independent retailers and restaurants during last year’s event.
Now more than ever, it's important to recognize and support small business owners, entrepreneurs and founders. Since 2002, IFEL has been working with entrepreneurs who are innovating for tomorrow, bringing their passion to solve a problem, and taking risks to serve their audiences by creating value in the marketplace.
This Saturday, we encourage you to explore new products and services from founders of color. Check out IFEL’s Favorite Things Business Directory to learn more. But there’s more we can do collectively to support small businesses and entrepreneurs. This Small Business Saturday, consider a few additional ways to support small businesses. Let’s shop at a small business, tell a friend or two about it, and then let’s take it one step further–consider how your expertise may help a struggling small business owner.
Creating Systemic Change for Historically Excluded Populations
Small businesses often require key elements to succeed, including expertise, capital, and customers.
In 2023, IFEL traveled to 10 cities and brought together more than 400 women of color founders, investors, executives, and allies who are serious about inclusion in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Here’s a sample of what these founders asked for:
Introductions to investors, philanthropists, and clients
Connections to corporate sponsorships & partnerships
Referral for developers & our Advisory Board
Marketing (social media, sales, print)
You can support these entrepreneurs just by opening your own network. Learn more about all of the amazing Road Show Featured Entrepreneurs. By contributing in one or more of these areas, we can foster systemic change that benefits the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem. When small businesses are sustainable, they create more jobs and sustain families, solve society's problems, and make our communities more vibrant.
Volunteer Your Expertise
One of the most valuable resources you can provide to a small business is your expertise. Whether you’re a marketing guru, financial wizard, or a tech-savvy individual, your knowledge can make a significant difference. Consider offering your skills and insights as a mentor or advisor to a local business owner. Share your experiences and help them navigate challenges.
Take for example, volunteer experts at KPMG and Sullivan Marketing. As corporate partners of our Small Businesses Need Us program their team members are participating in hands-on skills-based volunteer programming while supporting small businesses from historically-excluded populations. ex participated in IFEL’s Success Circle model last year. During these engagements, the entrepreneurs have received hands-on, high touch assistance with business planning and marketing assistance.
Your expertise can serve as the compass that leads a local business through the complexities of their industry with confidence. Not sure where to start? Check out IFEL’s Small Businesses Need Us program and sign up to volunteer.
Provide Both Capital and Access to Capital
Access to capital is vital for small businesses, entrepreneurs and founders. While direct financial investment may not be possible for everyone, facilitating connections can be a powerful way to support their success. Consider reviewing your current LinkedIn network and see if there are connections you can offer or invite a new connection out for coffee to learn more about them. Consider participating in our Women of Color Connecting initiative–a powerful community with a series of in-person and virtual events, and for investors-in-training, learn more about Pipeline Angels.
Be an Intentional Customer
Customers serve as the lifeblood of any enterprise, playing a pivotal role in shaping its success. Consider incorporating a conscientious approach to your consumer choices by actively favoring local establishments for your shopping, dining, and service needs. Promote these businesses in your social circles (both in-person and on social media), using your influence to inspire others to join the cause.
Small Business Saturday should be more than just a day; it's a mindset and a commitment to the enduring success of our local businesses. It's time to embark on this transformative journey that extends far beyond a single event, ensuring the lasting prosperity of these vital establishments.