What businesses did you patronize in the name of Small Business Saturday? Did it make you feel good? Or did you miss the window to act on the day of that particular call?

I find it curious that some entity feels the need to designate a day for this. And the timing of it is even odder: it’s during the biggest spending period of the year for Americans, so why do it then?

Is this plant "small" or "big"? Who decides?

Is this plant “small” or “big”? Who decides?

Why not in the middle of June, early October or late March. Why not stretch the entire idea to a quarter, or better yet year round to build steady consciousness instead of a one-off. The effort is clearly being put forth to get people to shop at small businesses. Maximize that effort by expanding it.

It really starts with what is a small business? Who determines that definition and what’s the regulation therein? What happens when a “small” company outgrows the definition – then what? And who’s arrogant enough to set the definition in the first place. It’s my business – why are you deciding to put the word small with it? And who says I want any delineations? (I don’t)

In this case American Express has dubbed the day SBS. It has some cleverness from a marketing standpoint. It’s easy to say, slightly alterative, and engenders the feeling you’re doing something good with your dollars. There’s an assumption in what you’re doing by participating: by shopping small businesses on this day, you’re supporting your neighborhood.

Oh, if that were really  the case.

Do you know where your small close-by establishments get all their goods and wares? Hmmm?? What coffee shop is “yours”? Does coffee grow in your neck of the woods? How about those fasteners at your neighborhood hardware store – where are they made?

The idea is encouraging you to buy from small businesses, yet there’s an unmistakable connection they want to appeal to. Both brilliant and subversive at the same time.

I’d venture a strong guess that every business started by any person felt HUGE. Starting and running a business is a whole life style for most. It influences, changes and affects everything. It’s another label – which, if you follow WEB at all – you know that I disdain and discourage.

So…small business Saturday. What I do like about it is that it’s not thumping the Buy Local chest. That’s getting old and abused, like Natural and Organic. And we easily forget it’s always been a global economy. Always.

Before you get uptight, know that I do agree with buying local. I also agree with making thoughtful choices in everything you buy, not just one one day of the year that a single company has decided to try to get us to act on.

I’d suggest: Buy Responsibly. Do your homework on the goods and services you wish to entertaining purchasing and move on those findings. Small, Medium, Tiny, Large, Mega. We all buy differently and are driven by different motivators.

Buy Responsibly is still a moving target, just as Buy Local and Small Business Saturday is. Remember: You’re the one who has to sleep with yourself at night.

Categories: Assumptions & Myth Busting, Marketing, Something To Think About
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