When more than 50% of the workforce in the United States works in a Small Business1, it’s no wonder that American Express’s wildly-catchy Small Business Saturday has joined the shopping Holiday Season immediately following Black Friday, the Saturday before Cyber Monday.
The mega-companies that have been trying to up the stakes and increase Our Calendars’ real estate for their marketing and spending of Holiday Season dollars that they “own” in the season of buying where “the best deals” are offered have been plagued with the fruits of their labor…namely their labor issues, public-created mob mentalities with SUPER-early store openings on Black Friday (even as far ahead as “the day before” – Thanksgiving Day) and rock-bottom pricing, and the fallout from companies that provide products that are just released and fighting to get shelf space and air-time for their commercials…by starting the shopping Season earlier.
Personally, I have always worked in the customer/guest service industry and have been working on holidays as long as I can remember. When I gained enough seniority to be able to pick a holiday that I wanted to be “off”, I always picked Thanksgiving. To me, Thanksgiving is a time to be WITH family and friends and enjoy the many wonderful blessings and fortunes that we have amassed throughout the year – a good harvest, to be acknowledged and enjoyed by all…no matter how epic or quaint the celebration.
Complaints by employees and customers alike of super-chains like Walmart, Target, Macy’s…to name a few…that will be open on Thanksgiving Day around 5pm or 6pm makes people start wondering about the fairness of it all. Websites and Facebook Pages dedicated to supporting businesses who treat their employees in a more traditional sense – letting them be with their families ON the holiday itself – are springing up. They are eager to promote personal time spent at home, with families, and promulgators and critics supporting family values by listing the stores, in their local areas, that will be open for business. This serves two purposes:
- it tells people who do want to break away from tradition for shopping, where to shop on Thanksgiving; and,
- it tells people who do not want to break away from Tradition where NOT to shop on any other day of the upcoming & soon-to-follow shopping Holiday, if visibly ‘not supporting’ those non-Traditional companies is their goal.
Another ploy for your holiday dollars?
I think the media and marketing mogul mayhem created by this frenzied, fanatical firestorm is a choice of the American Consumer – it is an environment that is created by giga-companies, but can be tamed and diminutized by the patrons of these giga-companies. I found an interesting analysis of the past 6-8 years’ trend of holiday shopping windows of time becoming earlier…and more spread out…to get away from the mayhem. And: what is the ‘hourly changing of prices’ the author is referring to? Wicked…and not Customer- or Experience-Oriented.
But, still: is Small Business Saturday just another ploy to garner your hard-earned dollars?
To me, American Express made an investment in one of the fastest-growing markets in America today – small business owners – when they made popular, through marketing and strategic social media alliances, their campaign back in 2010.
You may not know this, but American Express invested in small businesses through social media that has brought attention and notoriety to brick and mortar establishments that would otherwise be lost in the fray of the larger, giga-companies whose practices seem to reflect the nature of their sizeable beast.
I think small businesses today, and in the foreseeable future, offer a personalized touch that aims to support not only their own families and employees, but also the neighborhoods’ efforts to build community and a sense of belonging – a value that the giga-companies strive to but seemingly and evidentially do not achieve as a whole.
So, Yes: it is an awareness campaign that seeks to draw attention to smaller companies and highlight the features and benefits of becoming familiar with and a regular part of the community in which a customer lives.
Remote, a number, a statistic, a target, a segment, an audience: these are all phrases and senses of identity that alienate a customer when folded into the theories and practices of capitalism from a skyscraper’s corner, window office. These are practices of giga-companies and there is no way around it – it is their nature. To manage such enormous expectations of service and protection from liability, these terms become every day terms of endearment for their customers.
Discovering Value – “on Sale”…or not
When a person shops local, buys local, and reinvests locally, with a known, well-reputed small business, they are building experiences that put themselves in the context of community, confidence, commiseration, and collaboration.
There are over 22 million self-employed small businesses in the United States2 – over 50% of the working 120 million individuals in the U.S. work in a small business3.
The internet is such a great place to discover small businesses these days – from reviews by real people (read “why they’re important”, at Milo), to product availability and delivery to your door, virtual tours of establishments, to video interview with the owners themselves, discovering local businesses has never been more accessible…and desired by customers and residents in the neighborhood (see infographic Figure).
Shameless plug for Hands In Motion Therapeutic Massage services
I invite you to celebrate small businesses – When it comes to investigating and investing in your health, discover if massage therapy is a part of your health care goals. Read about massage, about me, my client testimonials and reviews on Yelp, and contact me, via email or give me a call, if you want to know more about my practice, schedule an appointment, or get a referral to a qualified healthcare practitioner – I will do my best to make sure your needs are fulfilled.
To help you understand massage and my practice a little better, I am offering a $20 savings on your next 60-minute massage with me in December – regular price: $70. I come to your home with table, linens, music, and an eclectic style of massage that integrates all the modalities you might need to relax, relieve pain, or mentally restart your kinetic chain or neural patterning.
I look forward to seeing you for your massage – the sooner, the better!
SNEAK PEEK at HIM’s November 29th-ONLY #SmallBusinessSaturday Special!
#SBS Signature Massage – 60 mins
A therapeutic massage that is developed specifically for you, based on your needs at the time of session. Utilizes a variety of modalities, including: Swedish, Russian Sports, Trigger Point Therapy, and Structural Integration, to name a few. Deep or Moderate pressure are always optional and included in this eclectic method.
60 minutes – $50No other discounts or promotions/programs apply – One per client, please. Location of outcall massage must be within HIM’s business license jurisdictions (Cities of Las Vegas, Henderson, and Clark County – map) and is based on availability (appointment only). IS TRANSFERRABLE. MUST be used by December 31, 2014 – if scheduled after, regular pricing (“$70”) applies – you may pay the difference upon delivery of service. Ω
1 generally, less than 500 employees – more: https://www.sba.gov/content/what-sbas-definition-small-business-concern 2 according to Forbes in a Sep 2013 publication – Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonnazar/2013/09/09/16-surprising-statistics-about-small-businesses/ 3 according to Forbes in a Sep 2013 publication – Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonnazar/2013/09/09/16-surprising-statistics-about-small-businesses/