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Microsoft in Business Blogs

As a company that serves local business owners and customers, Microsoft is proud to join American Express to support Small Business Saturday® this year on November 24.

Small Business Saturday was founded by American Express in 2010 to help strengthen local economies. Today, it’s a holiday shopping tradition and part of a nationwide Shop Small® Movement dedicated to uniting communities and supporting all kinds of small businesses. From the corner store to your favorite diner to a trendy online boutique, it’s unique small businesses like yours that help local communities stay vibrant.

The small business landscape

When you think of small businesses across America, what images come to mind? The businesswoman managing her company’s SharePoint from her tablet in route to a client meeting. The shop owner opening his business’ CRM in the early morning to prepare for the work day. The MBA graduate who just launched his tech company, excitedly reviewing analytics from a successful first year.

Categorized by the Small Business Administration as companies with less than 500 employees, small- to midsize-businesses (SMBs) are often referred to as the backbone of the U.S. economy—and for good reason. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are 30.2 million small businesses across the United States, making up 99.9% of all U.S. companies.[1] While Fortune 500 companies are certainly influential powerhouses, small and midsize businesses play a crucial role in driving the economy. For example, during the recovery period in 2009-2011 after the latest recession, SMBs accounted for 67% of the net new jobs created nationwide.[2] With such a notable impact on job growth and economic health, it’s no surprise that enabling and empowering SMBs to innovate has a positive effect on both local and national economies.

A brief history of Small Business Saturday®

Small Business Saturday® is one major opportunity for consumers to invest in SMBs across industries.

  • 2010 – Small Business Saturday® is created by American Express to increase exposure for SMBs, leveraging the holiday shopping season to boost the economy after the recession
  • 2012 – Elected officials in all 50 states participate in promoting the holiday and the drive for consumers to Shop Small
  • 2013 – 1,450+ individuals and organizations sign up as Neighborhood Champions to promote local business on Small Business Saturday®[3]
  • 2014 – 88 million consumers reported shopping on the holiday and spending $14.3 billion at local and independent businesses[4]
  • 2015 – The holiday experiences an 8% increase in shoppers from the previous year, with 95 million people across the country reporting that they are hitting stores.[5]
  • 2016 – An estimated 112 million consumers reported shopping on Small Business Saturday®, spending an estimated $15.4 billion[6]
  • 2017 – 7,200+ individuals and organizations across all 50 states sign up to be Neighborhood Champions[7]

Today, there are numerous community-driven Small Business Saturday rallies and events. Still backed by American Express, the holiday remains a key fixture for SMBs, encouraging consumers to Shop Small and fuel business growth at every level.

Empowering SMBs and accelerating the potential for innovation

As Small Business Saturday® approaches each year—and alongside the increased visibility of SMBs among consumers—it’s crucial for SMB employers and leaders to have the tools and resources in place to manage the growing market. Compared to Fortune 500 companies, SMBs often navigate unique challenges like limited budgets and smaller teams. Still, having digital solutions that deliver security, productivity, and mobility is just as important for SMBs as it is for their larger competitors.

With the latest tools and digital solutions in place, small businesses can boost workplace efficiency and creativity, and even power industry innovation among their collaborative teams. In fact, one study conducted by the U.S. Small Business Administration found that SMBs produced approximately 27 patents per 100 employees, compared to a rate of 1.6 patents per 100 employees at larger companies.[8] Deliberately celebrating these businesses with holidays like Small Business Saturday keeps industries evolving, and ensures companies of all sizes are able to thrive in the U.S. economy for generations to come.