How To Shop Small Business Saturday

If Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s emphasis on consumerism is just too much for you, there is a viable option to search for unique Christmas gifts while supporting local, small and Black businesses. The less popular Small Business Saturday option encourages shoppers to patronize small businesses, whether in person or online. Here are a few tips to make the best of the day.

Stay local:

Small businesses tend to depend on foot traffic as opposed to the big advertising budgets that big box stores and department stores can command. Seek out the stores in your city or are that are part of the main street or shopping area instead of the mall.

These stores are often either run by craftsmen and women local to the area, or they buy from them. Jewelry, personal care gifts and clothing are usually what they have to offer, so focus your shopping for those items on those stores instead of the big retailers.

Buy Black:

Black-owned retailers often struggle to get the attention of consumers in a crowded marketplace. With super sales going on through the holiday weekend, it’s hard for smaller businesses to find their audience.

If you can, this is a great time to support them, whether in person or online, as many of these smaller businesses don’t have brick and mortar stores. Also, don’t forget Instagram, where a number of online retailers have handmade crafts, jewelry, fitness, clothing and food businesses. Try the hashtag #blackowned to see what might be available.

Here’s one list of Black-owned businesses. 

Eat at a local restaurant, not a chain.

All this holiday shopping can work up quite an appetite. But instead of going to your local Applebee’s, check out a local small restaurant instead. Most folks know the Black-owned restaurant in their area, and if you don’t, you can usually find them via the city’s visitor’s center. Philadelphia, for example, has a listing of the city’s Black-owned businesses, including restaurants. If you call the local visitor’s center in most cities, they can identify the local Black-owned businesses as well.

Give to charity, business or support a cause.

Although it’s technically not small business, there are local and national charities that could use your help. As it’s getting close to the end of the year, it makes fiscal sense to give. You can choose to give to a small business by using Kiva, a micro-lending service that helps small businesses directly.

You can look through a bunch of pitches both locally and around the world and find a business you want to support, with as little as $ 15. You can also support a GoFundMe – recent ones have included money for Jamel Roberson’s family and Aisha Fraser’s daughters,

You can also give to deserving causes like the Tom Joyner Foundation, which supports HBCU’s, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Urban League, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or The Innocence Project, which helps wrongfully convicted prisoners get new trials.


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Spread the Local Love and Shop Small On Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24

Let’s be honest with ourselves: Black Friday is flat-out tiresome.

You wake up way too early — when you should still be sleeping off your Thanksgiving food coma — to go stand out in the cold and pray you don’t get elbowed in the face for a TV that is barely discounted.

Allow me to present an alternative for your holiday shopping: Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday takes place on Nov. 24 this year and is exactly what it sounds like: an annual day that encourages holiday shoppers to patronize their local small businesses.

American Express first launched the day in 2010 to help bolster local businesses that were hurting due to the recession. It gained momentum quickly, and by 2011, representatives in all 50 states were participating in the “Shop Small” movement.

A survey by American Express estimates that upwards of $ 85 million has been spent at local, independent businesses since the event’s inception, and 90% feel that it has positively impacted their communities.

So this year, tell Black Friday, “It’s not me, it’s you,” and circle Saturday on your calendar.

How to Participate in Small Business Saturday

Cards are displayed at a local shop.

Whether you’re a consumer, small business owner or simply a local business supporter, there are plenty of ways you can contribute to Saturday’s Shop Small initiative.

If you’re a local shop owner and want to get involved with Small Business Saturday, head on over to the official website. You’ll find downloadable posters, event flyers, email templates, planning checklists and more — they’re customizable and free!

Don’t forget to use social media to your advantage. The Small Business Saturday site has downloadable social posts. Or, you can freestyle and do your own thing — just be sure to use #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat hashtags.

The site also offers how-to videos for inspiration and ideas for special events you can hold to attract customers.

And just because it isn’t Black Friday doesn’t mean you can’t offer deals to bring in business. Feature a special Shop Small discount or showcase your most holiday-shopping-worthy items.

People who don’t own a shop but still want to support local business have options, too. Small Business Saturday has official “Neighborhood Champions.” Their job is to spread the word, assist local businesses with participation, organize events and pass out Shop Small swag to passersby.

In 2017, over 7,200 individuals and organizations signed up to serve as event champions.

You can check out your local volunteers here if you’re interested in reaching out for information about events in your area. And while the application period to be an official Neighborhood Champion for this year has ended, you can unofficially spread the word and then sign up next year.

Lastly, if you’re just a consumer looking for the perfect gift for Dad, get out on Saturday and shop local!

Skip the Starbucks latte and grab some caffeine from your neighborhood café. Venture out in your neighborhood to find a new, funky boutique that offers something you wouldn’t find in the mall. And finish your day of shopping at a locally owned restaurant.

Keep an eye out for those Shop Small posters in store windows, or check out this map to find participating businesses in your area.

And don’t forget to show off your purchases on social media with the official hashtags (as if you weren’t going to do that anyway.)

Kaitlyn Blount is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She only participated in Black Friday once and decided to never do it again — but Small Business Saturday is definitely her jam.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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How to Make Small Windows Appear Larger

If your home has multiple high egress or small windows, it can be difficult to leverage natural sunlight and distract from your interior design. Many homeowners have this struggle. Small windows are a frequent feature of homes built in the ’60s and ’70s. But like shag carpet, this trend is no longer stylish.

There are multiple options to disguise, reframe, and dress windows that can dramatically impact your home. Color, trim, and cleverly hung treatments can all improve a room with small windows.

Ditch the Dark Curtains and Shades

If you have a room with less-than-luxurious windows, you need to maximize the natural light available. Avoid dark curtains and shades, which can block out or absorb light. This can make your windows appear even smaller. Opt for sheer or light-colored curtains to let the light shine through.  

Manipulate Height and Width  

There is no hard rule about hanging curtains three inches above the frame. Create a floor-to-ceiling effect by installing long drapes just below the junction where the ceiling meets the wall. You can also add more width using a longer curtain rod, and hang the drapes at each end. Both effects play tricks on the eyes, making it difficult to decipher where the window starts and ends.

This tactic can also be used with blinds. Look for blinds that measure three to four inches longer than the window on each side. This technique is a great choice for odd-sized windows, especially if you want a material that can’t easily fit custom spaces, like woven blinds.

Add Embellishments to Moldings and Trim

Decorative window moldings, like an entablature and side casing, help add gravity to diminutive window styles. If Victorian is not your style, consider a wide Craftsman molding or flat, ranch-style casing. Both provide a more subtle and minimalist look that still allows your windows to pop.

Install Plantation Shutters Over the Window

Installing a set of tall, wooden interior shutters over a small opening fools the eye into thinking there is actually more space. Try this trick on very small windows where other window treatments wouldn’t work— like a basement access window or a small privacy window in a bathroom.

Play With Patterns

Horizontal stripes in clothing are not ideal if you’re trying to appear extra svelte, and the same principle applies to your window treatments. If you want a window to look taller, opt for long, vertically-oriented patterns that will draw the eye upward.

Want to make a window appear wider? Select horizontal patterns that will give that extra-wide, luxurious appearance.

Harness the Power of Mirrors

One of the biggest disadvantages to tiny windows is that they can put a damper on your room’s light. Reflect the sunlight you do receive by installing a large mirror beneath or across from the window. The glass reflecting the light tricks the eye into thinking that there’s more, creating a lighter and airier space than before.

Place Furniture Wisely

A small, high window can appear out of place without the proper furniture surrounding it. Placing a desk, hallway table, or bureau just below the window helps frames it and makes it look like the window is exactly where it belongs.

Paint Trim the Same Color as the Walls

Contrasting trim is a staple in most homes, but with smaller windows, painted trim can shrink the appearance of windows. Instead, choose a color that matches the wall. This will give your wall a more fluid, integrated feel. Without multiple elements breaking up the space, it will seem larger overall.

Purchase New Windows

You don’t need to settle for teensy windows in your home. Window openings can usually be expanded to accommodate larger models that will provide a wider, more expansive feel. Large picture or casement windows will add more sunlight to your home, and improve the overall value of your home as well.

The post How to Make Small </br> Windows Appear Larger appeared first on Modernize.

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Small Business Owners Ready to Hit Ballot Box Big Time in Midterm Elections

When it comes to the midterm elections in November, small business owners will be more registered to vote than the overall population.

That, at least, is among the findings of a new survey by Thumbtack, an online service for small businesses. The survey indicated 85% of small business owners surveyed report being registered to vote, versus 70% of all Americans signed up to vote.

Further, 93% of small business owners who are registered to vote say they “definitely” or “probably” will do so, while only 88% of registered voters nationwide say the same, a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll shows.

The survey showed 17.1% of small business owner respondents reported the No. 1 issue in determining their vote this November is the economy and taxes. Some 5.8% named healthcare as their top issue, making those the most important issues for nearly one-third of small business owners. There are roughly 30 million small businesses in the nation.

“Small business owners continue to tell us they want their representatives to focus on the issues that impact their businesses and their families like the economy and healthcare,” said Thumbtack Head of Public Policy, Kellyn Blossom stated in a press release.

“Small business owners are going to be a crucial constituency for every campaign this November. They care deeply about what affects their communities and plan to turn out in large numbers to vote.”

Thumbtack surveyed 980 small business owners from late August and early September nationally in hundreds of categories, including electricians, music teachers, wedding planners, and wellness professionals to name few. Entrepreneurs were asked about their voter registration status, plans to vote in the upcoming election, and the issues guiding their political preferences.

Additionally, Thumbtack and the Small Business Roundtable are partnering to make sure business owners’ voices will be heard this election.

The Small Business Roundtable is a membership-based group comprised of the Small Business Entrepreneurship Council, National Association of Women Business Owners, National Association for the Self Employed, U.S. Black Chambers Inc., National Small Business Association, and Asian / Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship.

 

The post Small Business Owners Ready to Hit Ballot Box Big Time in Midterm Elections appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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