Creating a True Holiday for Small Businesses
By Andy Kocemba
This past Saturday — November 25, this year's Small Business Saturday — a local retailer encountered a very unfortunate event: Around 10 a.m., a car smashed through their storefront, forcing the store to be shut down and boarded up.
First and foremost, I was relieved to learn the injuries sustained were non-life-threatening. I then began to think further about the impact on their business.
A neighboring business owner interviewed by a news crew said this was their busiest day of the year.
This is a shame, and I think we can do better for small businesses.
At my company, we work with small businesses every day. I sincerely believe that, although large corporations get more attention, small businesses are truly the backbone of our economy. That’s why I encourage others to take the entire holiday season, not just Small Business Saturday, as an opportunity to shine the spotlight on (and more importantly make purchases from) the small businesses all around us that make our lives great, whether it’s the mom-and-pop restaurant down the street, the family-run mechanic that services your car for a fair price, or the many local retailers that fill our community.
Don’t let the label fool you. The economic impact of small businesses, defined as those with fewer than 500 employees, is anything but small. In the United States, there are just shy of 30 million small businesses, making up more than 99 percent of all companies. Together, they employ more than 46 million people, nearly half of all working Americans. Without small businesses, our economy simply wouldn’t function.
But what about the global impact of small businesses? Of all the American companies exporting goods, more than 97 percent are small businesses. That’s a lot of small businesses sharing American expertise, craftsmanship, and ingenuity all over the world.
And who are these small business owners that we need to support this holiday season? They are brave, willing to take risks when others go a different direction. They are true innovators, adapting to changes in the economic landscape and developing entirely new ways to do business. They are passionate, working in their trade because they love what they do. And they care, giving back to their communities.
This holiday season, I hope you will become a champion of small business by supporting and recognizing the local small businesses that make your community great. Call them out on social media. Support the companies by shopping there. At the very least, tell your favorite small business how much you appreciate them. I know I will.
Shop local, buy local and celebrate local. Happy Holidays everyone!
Andy Kocemba is president and co-owner of Calhoun Cos., a top business brokerage firm in the Upper Midwest. Calhoun Cos. has been connecting buyers and sellers since 1908, working with small- to medium-sized businesses across all industries. A graduate from Bethel University, Kocemba joined Calhoun Cos. in 2003 as a sales agent before buying the business in 2011. He is a member of the International Business Brokers Association, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, and Better Business Bureau.