A recent CBS headline read “Hopes are High for Shops on ‘Small Business Saturday’ ”. The article discussed the growing trend among consumers to spend money at local shops on Saturday instead of holiday shopping at large retailers on Black Friday. But at a time when competition is fierce between the biggest players in business, small businesses need more than just a “hope” that customers will choose them over the likes of Wal-Mart, Target, and Nordstrom’s.
To add further difficulties to small businesses vying for attention during the holiday deals frenzy, early reports have suggested that spending during the Black Friday period decreased this year by 12.3%. At the same time, overall retail sales are expected to be up over the course of the year. So maybe Small Business Saturday is not that important after all. Perhaps this is the view, which is most important to remember: the success of small businesses in the Twin Cities community relies much more on other long-term factors than short-term excitement.
There is real hope for small businesses in the long-term. Not only do small businesses in Minnesota enjoy widespread and notable political support, but Minnesota has consistently ranked highly on Forbes’ “Best Small Places for Business and Careers” list. There can be no doubt that Minnesota’s economic and regulatory/political environments are conducive to small business formation and growth. Additionally, Minnesota businesses may benefit from the citizens of Minnesota, who sometimes prefer small businesses to larger chains.
Nowhere is this more the case than in the Twin Cities’ downtown areas. Small businesses in these areas, especially those in the food industry, are consistently beating out their Fortune 500 competitors. On November 27, 2013, McDonald’s confirmed it was moving out of downtown St. Paul after just one month earlier it decided to leave downtown Minneapolis. Customers in those areas prefer more local offerings like that of MyBurger and the Skyway Grill, each small businesses started in Minnesota. Indeed, stories like this one suggest that small businesses may have great opportunity to thrive in places where big business is undesirable.
To take advantage of the opportunity, entrepreneurs will need to be able to start a business quickly, which is, again, supported by the regulatory scheme in Minnesota. With the help of experienced counsel, the newest McDonald’s or Wal-Mart competitor can be created quickly to fill a need in the market. Businesses that do this have year-round hope of success.