Black Friday is the worst day of the year. It makes me ashamed to be an American. Seeing people getting punched in the face and trampled while waiting to bust into Walmart at midnight makes me sad for humanity. It's disgusting. Thankfully, our country has begun redeeming itself for the evil Black Friday tradition by starting Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday falls to 4th on the list of holidays that will be observed over the next week behind Thanksgiving (this year it's all about piecaken), Black Friday (which makes me want to throw up aforementioned piecaken), and Cyber Monday (because who knew you could buy a bounce house on Amazon?). It was first observed in 2010 as a way to encourage people to patronize small and local brick and mortar businesses.
I, personally, am a fan. And, while the day was started to help brick and mortar businesses thrive, I think we can put small startups in that category too and throw some green their way as well (because why go to an actual store when you can buy a Brewie from the comfort of your couch?).
However, not everyone is as supportive of the Small Business Saturday initiative as I am. In fact, a small business expert named Gene Marks voiced the opposite opinion recently. One of his arguments is that it's naive for small business owners to believe that consumers are out in droves to support them on Saturday. He points out that most of those people would have been out there anyway, being that it's the biggest shopping weekend of the year.
He also points out in his article in Entrepreneur Magazine that Small Business Saturday is nothing but a PR stunt for small businesses.
“For example, Small Business Saturday means a lot to American Express. And good for them, because American Express is a good company and they hit solid gold here. Who was the PR guy who came up with this idea? He (or she’s) a friggin’ genius. That’s because Small Business Saturday is nothing more than a PR stunt for big businesses. The marketing minds at American Express thought this up a few years ago and the day has ballooned into a national event. Their logo is plastered everywhere. Their name is associated with news stories, contests and promotions.”
This might be true, and I'm sure there are some big businesses profiting off of the day, but all in all I don't think anyone can argue that it's necessarily bad for small businesses. I will say that any effort that is made to support entrepreneurs who've risked anything to live their dream, whether it be a software solutions company or a brick & mortar shop that sells alpaca yarn, deserves all of the support we can give them.