Neighborhood Champion

How You Can Be a Neighborhood Champion on Small Business Saturday

Are you ready to #ShopSmall? This year, Small Business Saturday falls on November 24, 2018. While the holiday may be sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday has consistently packed a powerful shopping punch for small businesses.

Founded by American Express, the purpose of Small Business Saturday is to bring more awareness to small businesses everywhere. A 2017 press release from American Express revealed that 90 percent of consumers that are aware of the holiday use it to explore new independently-owned retailers and restaurants in their community. The awareness of the day just keeps growing, too. According to research from NFIB’s 2017 “Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey,” an estimated 108 million consumers were reported shopping or dining out at small businesses last year. That’s 43 percent of American adults!

As Small Business Saturday heads into its ninth year and businesses prepare to participate, small businesses and community organizers alike can play a major role in its success that goes beyond shopping. It’s time to get involved as a Neighborhood Champion!

Not sure what this means or how you can help out? Let me break it down for you.

What’s a Neighborhood Champion?

Think of a Neighborhood Champion as a cheerleader for small businesses, who show support and bring businesses and shoppers together in their community.

Neighborhood Champions are fellow business owners and community members who are naturally enthusiastic about Small Business Saturday. They’re ready to help out in any way they can, from investing their time in greeting visitors at a welcome booth to using social media to spread the word about businesses participating this year.

How can I get involved?

If you’re ready to be a Neighborhood Champion, here’s what you can do to rally everyone to come together and #ShopSmall.

Sign up through American Express

Want to participate in Small Business Saturday? In order to be an official Neighborhood Champion, you’ll have to sign up with American Express, and the process is pretty easy. To start, you just need to provide your name and email address. From there, you can share your contact information and social media handles. You will also be asked for extra details about the neighborhood you call home, which is to ensure that you will be sent event kits from AmEx. These complimentary kits are Shop Small themed, including tote bags, flyers, balloons and more.

Once you’re done filling out the form, voila! You’re officially a Neighborhood Champion. Let the fun begin!

Sign Up: Receive the StartupNation newsletter!

Spread the word and rally the neighborhood

Now that you’re a Neighborhood Champion, it’s time to start spreading the word. Talk about why it matters to shop small, now and throughout the rest of the year. You can share the message in-person and on social media. Write and publish blog posts, film vlogs interviewing your fellow small business owners, record podcasts and tweet the message out.

As you’re championing the cause, you’ll also want to rally the community. American Express suggests reaching out to 10 eligible, local small businesses and encourage them to participate in Small Business Saturday. You can give them some of the event kits you received and offer to provide some of your time and energy in making the event a success for their business.

If you’ve already participated as a Neighborhood Champion before, visit AmEx’s Shop Small Studio for additional resources to help promote small local businesses in your community to a wider customer base. You’ll also find additional inspiration, tips, and how-to videos there.

Organize a community event

As you help fellow small businesses prepare for a successful Small Business Saturday, it’s also key to get everyone together for one community-based event before the big holiday kicks off.

Join forces with other Neighborhood Champions in the community and discuss what kind of event would be the best fit for everyone. Many communities will host a kickoff breakfast in the early morning hours on Small Business Saturday, allowing everyone to connect meet and greet style before shoppers arrive. You can also host an event in the days leading up to Small Business Saturday, like a food festival. This gives the community a (literal) taste of what’s to come and educates them on why Small Business Saturday is actually big business for local mom and pop shops in their area.

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