Small Business Saturday is a marketing gimmick created by American Express (big finance) in an effort to sell card processing services to small companies that, to be frank, prefer cash.
The marketers of this effort are so out of touch with small business that they failed to realize that most small businesses are closed on the weekend.
Small Business Saturday resonates with big media. This reporting has a populist appeal that increases ratings.
In other words, Small Business Saturday is a tool created by big finance and used by big media to centralize things.
It is a funny paradox.
It is a funny paradox, but I have been worried about the state of small business in our communities for awhile.
I find it such a concern that I have invested thousands of hours into creating directoies for communities in the Mountain West to help raise awaress of the plight of local communities in the internet age.
I have been woking on this project for seventeen years.
I build directories. I add sites as I find them. I check each link periodically to see if it is still live. If not, I pull the links.
This project gives me a feel for how our communities are evolving.
My current stats show that, through the years, I've added 47642 links. I've pulled 17432 links. The vast majority of the pulled links are failed businesses. Many of the dark links were for events and political campaigns.
Of the links that belong to institutions, the majority are small businesses that have failed.
I wanted to write a good quality post on my findings. My data really isn't good enough and I lack the resources to get the quality data that I need.
I happen to live in Utah. As I am not LDS, I started the project by moving North. I helped some groups develop directories in Idaho, Montana and Oregon. I gave away all but Missoula.ws..
I moved back to Salt Lake for the 2002 Olympics. I believe that everybody who lives in an area is part of the community. I have been told multiple times by members of the LDS church to leave.
I was born in Denver and Longmont. So, I started creating directoris in Colorado for places like Grand Junction, Boulder and Colorado Springs. Arizona has a small number of counties; So I started a top down directory called Arizona Color.
Anyway, I believe that the best way for people to promote their local community is to get involved with their local community.
Like most Americans these days, I feel frustrated with our politics. I am working on a project where I am trying to find ways to support businesses from the bottom up. I have receive nothing but open contempt for the effort.
The revival of our small business community is not going to come from the top down. Small Business Saturday is a joke. The event is used by big business to gain populist feel. Anyone who actively engages with small business knows that small business owners like having the weekend off.
If you want to help small business, you need to visit web sites of the small businesses in your community and to talk to small business owners. Hint, I have a small business. I build directories that feature small businesses. I have been working on this problem from the bottom up for years.
Any I have a large amount of data showing that the small business community in America is in trouble. About 70% of the small business web sites I listed a decade ago have gone dark. I don't want to quote the exact figures because I need to clean up the data to make sure I have not built a bias into my data.
I know that there are troubling statistics. For example, state agriculture departments have been reporting steep drops in the number of locally owned farms. Most of the Chamber of Commerce web sites I visit are listing fewer businesses in their directories. Locally owned banks have been consolidating at a record clip.
I believe that a directory project is a good way to start an investigation into the fate of small business in our communities, but I need a better source of data before making any broad claims about what is happening.