Small Business Saturday Showcases How Wonderful Free Enterprise Is

Today marks the seventh annual celebration of Small Business Saturday, an initiative launched by American Express on November 27, 2010, to encourage Americans to #ShopLocal on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.  It originally started to compel AmEx users to use their cards at local merchants. However, the shopping holiday has exploded well beyond that. Why? Americans – true to their nature – love small business (one of the  many by-products of free enterprise).

Small Business Saturday has grown from incentivizing AmEx card holders to seeing enthusiastic consumers voluntarily shop at their local brick-and-mortar shops. Though perceived as a “marketing scheme” by some observers, American Express assures it is not. Here’s more from Washington Post:

But isn’t it just a marketing gimmick invented by American Express? Not really, but according to Fortune’s Jeremy Quittner it’s definitely a marketing campaign.

The card payments company started the campaign by offering cardholders a $25 credit if they shopped at a small business. American Express scaled that back to $10 in 2013 and last year offered no financial incentives. You can’t really blame them–it’s not as if small businesses need the help anymore, with so many billions being purchased.

But the campaign continues. Instead of offering a credit to consumers American Express shifted its strategy and now provides marketing help for its merchants to capitalize on the big day.

And here’s some more context from Forbes:

In truth, it was created by American Express for a number of PR and marketing reasons. But since its inception in 2009, Small Business Saturday has outgrown its AMEX roots and the “local-first” movement it helped propel has been adopted by a growing number of small businesses across the country.

 Small business is the backbone of this country
Even President Obama, who is largely a foe to small business, admitted that small businesses “are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our communities.” They are, but largely not because of his policies. As of November 2015, there are a record 28.5 million small businesses in existence in the United States. They allegedly represent roughly 50% of the private-sector economy. (That’s YUGE, my friends.)
Small business, not big government, is the best job creator out there
Government’s job isn’t to create jobs; its purpose to a create a business-friendly environment virtually free of burdensome regulations and barriers-to-entry for those with entrepreneurial inklings.
Senator Ted Cruz echoed this sentiment in a Dallas Morning Star op-ed emphasizing the important role small businesses play in fueling local economies. Here’s a snippet:

Texans understand that prosperity doesn’t come from Washington. Government agencies do not drive the economy. Small businesses all across our state create jobs, drive up wages, and grow the economy. In Texas, whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, you understand that people want jobs, and that small businesses are powerful job creators.

Small businesses, by-products of free enterprise, are well-received in this country
A Gallup poll released in May 2016 revealed that capitalism was viewed more positively than socialism 60 percent to 35 percent, respectively. Moreover, the poll found that 85 percent of those polled had a positive view of free enterprise versus 60 percent who had a positive view of capitalism. (Phrasing is extremely important, so refrain from using capitalism.) Here’s more from Gallup:

Americans retain very positive images of small business, entrepreneurs and free enterprise. A little more than half have a positive view of big business, and less than half have a positive view of the federal government.

As would be expected, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are somewhat more positive about big business, free enterprise and capitalism than are Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.

Democrats, on the other hand, are much more positive than Republicans about the federal government and socialism. Notably, Democrats have a more positive image of socialism than they do of big business, and their images of socialism and capitalism are essentially the same. These broad patterns are similar to what was found in 2012.

This is encouraging news. As more people begin to discover the beauty of small business, more will hopefully come to realize how uplifting and moral free enterprise is. I’m proud to support local businesses and hope you are too. Do you plan to #ShopSmall? Of course, you should!

Want to learn more about the shopping holiday? Follow their efforts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.