Small Business Saturday: Is it enough?

November 23, 2014 Joe Hyland


It’s a sticker you see pasted on car bumpers across the country: “Shop Local.” The thinking goes that if you buy goods locally, you’ll support the local community, economy, even your neighbors. Sure, it may cost a little more—but it’s the right thing to do.

The shop local movement has gathered momentum in recent years. And one outcome of the movement has been the declaration of “Small Business Saturday®,” which takes place on November 29, two days after Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday®, put on by American Express in response to Black Friday, has garnered rapid momentum and awareness.

If you take part in this Saturday’s celebration, you might pay a visit to your local bookstore, coffee shop, or neighborhood hardware store. After all, these are the types of businesses you immediately think of when you think of small business.

Beyond shopping locally

These types of businesses, which sell products directly to consumers (B2C), are only one portion of America’s 23 million small businesses. The rest? They are the millions of small businesses that sell their product to other businesses (B2B)—like the suppliers that sell glass bottles to a soda company, or plastic utensils to a major restaurant chain, for example.

So when customers buy local, yes, they support small businesses—just not all of them. But the businesses that serve as suppliers to other businesses are often overlooked.  

Why? For one, B2B companies have less visibility to the general public because they’re not marketing to consumers. In addition, there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to help support them since the average consumer can’t buy their product.

But there is a way to support small B2B companies.

Small businesses often have extended payment terms with their large buyers, which forces to wait up to 90 days for payments on their invoices and ultimately into unsavory short-term loans. We believe all small businesses should have the option to be paid early, rather than having to wait the average of 55 days for their invoices to be approved and paid. Gaining quicker access to cash helps small companies manage costs, increase hiring, and grow their business.

How can you do more?

So what can you do to help support small business suppliers? Well, the White House this year has launched an initiative called SupplierPay, in which large corporations pledge to pay their suppliers in a timely fashion. So far, 46 companies have signed the pledge, and we hope more will join in the future.

So keep shopping locally. But also think of the small B2B businesses by showing support to the large companies who have signed onto SupplierPay. That way when we celebrate Small Business Saturday®, we’re celebrating all of small businesses--because it’s the right thing to do.

Interested in learning more about SupplierPay? Get caught up on the White House initiative here.

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