Can Small Businesses Survive This Christmas?

[Supported by] Black Friday, Cyber Monday and, [now], Small Business Saturday, [sales made in] November and December […] represent as much as 40% of yearly retail stores sales, according to the National Retail Federation. [With] Thanksgiving [falling] so late on the calendar [in 2013], [though] there are six fewer shopping days between [then] and Christmas. […] On top of that, Hanukkah fell on Thanksgiving [this year], which last happened in 1888 and won’t happen again during our lifetime. This leaves only 26 shopping days left to buy stuff. […] Can small businesses […] survive into 2014?

Who are these small-business owners [who] may not be around next year? One section is immigrants who, since the beginning of America, have been the backbone of small-business retailers. [F]or centuries, there has been a merchant class [in Europe] that had a long history of selling products into established clientele. Many laws [there] protect these small retailers against bigger competitors. In America, [though], the desire to throw yourself wholeheartedly into your business by putting in long hours and becoming a beacon where relatives follow you and work for you to have room and board is part of the price of entry into retailing for many […] immigrants. Much like the family farm, [this] has become the family store for the immigrant classes to start their life in the “New World.”

Another section of small-business retailers who have emerged are entrepreneurs. […] Some may have worked for big stores and felt they could do it better; [and] others may be following an idea they have been honing since they first started shopping. These entrepreneurs are disciplined and […] focused on making their business work. These individuals are confident and don’t ask questions about whether they can succeed or are even worthy of success, because they know their business will succeed. They [know] that every situation is a business opportunity [and] that if something needs to be done, they have the ability to start it themselves. They are competitive, […] creative and can make a connection between seemingly unrelated events, [b]ut, most of all, they are passionate and genuinely love the products they sell in their stores.

We know we have to support small businesses. The government has an important division known as the U.S. Small Business Administration. Retired, successful business people know that our small businesses must survive, so they have formed [the] Service Core of Retired Executives, [or SCORE], whose mission is to mentor and grow small businesses across America. […]

Americans have tried not to forget about their neighbors running the small businesses in their towns. In 2012, when Small Business Saturday fell on November 24, [before Thanksgiving], $5.5 billion was spent at small businesses. [Last year], 100 million people participated in Small Business Saturday, […] but, obviously, this number is surpassed by the 247 million who shopped on Black Friday.

Retailers know that an increase in sales cures most problems, and, evidently, a decrease in sales creates most problems. None of us want to see more and more of these small businesses going out of business, [b]ut unless all of us step up and buy locally rather than have these local dollars go to an unknown chain corporate office outside of our city, we will see more and more of our neighbors’ businesses disappear. Local retailers give a city its character. When you think America is the true melting pot of characters, we have to support small businesses.

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