You can save a small business this Christmas

The holiday season is always a critical time for many small business owners, but this year, by voting with your wallet, you can make an even bigger impact. 

According to the recent American Express Shop Small Impact survey, 78{3e92bdb61ecc35f2999ee2a63f1e687c788772421b16b0136989bbb6b4e89b73} of small business respondents said that, “holiday sales will impact their ability to keep their doors open in 2022.” That’s an awful lot of entrepreneurs depending on the outcome of the holidays for their survival.

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Small businesses have borne the brunt of the government’s pandemic decisions. They were among the first to be closed down and last to be opened up by mandate. 

They received a small fraction of the overall relief funds doled out over the past 19 months and certainly not enough to make up for the violations of their property rights (aka, being asked to give up their property for the “good of society,” as is protected in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution). 

To receive any funds, small businesses had to jump through numerous hoops fraught with paperwork and technological issues that bigger and crony entities who received “relief funds” didn’t have to endure.

Already reeling from being labeled as “non-essential” and losing substantial revenue, small entities then faced a slew of long-tail issues that were created by the politicians’ mandates. 

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Small businesses are understaffed, in large part because of increased competition for labor, often losing out to bigger companies that have been assisted by cheap and plentiful access to capital thanks to the Federal Reserve. 

You can ensure that small businesses stay in business by shopping with them this holiday season.

They have dealt with the fallout from the supply chain and inflation that arose from both fiscal and monetary policy. They are struggling, not because they took on too much risk or from a typical cycle of creative destruction, but because the government deemed them not “too big to fail,” but rather “too small to matter.”

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This is wreaking havoc on small business. Alignable’s November Road to Recovery report found that small businesses they surveyed now believe that they won’t recover until 2023, if at all. Alignable’s November rent report found that 35{3e92bdb61ecc35f2999ee2a63f1e687c788772421b16b0136989bbb6b4e89b73} of all small businesses surveyed didn’t think they would be able to pay their rent in full and on time in November.

You can ensure that small businesses stay in business by shopping with them this holiday season. If you shop with small businesses in your area, American Express’s Small Business Impact study estimated that around 67 cents of every dollar you spend will stay in your local community!

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If you are more of an online shopper, it doesn’t mean you give up having to shop small. Sites like Etsy feature a wide range of crafts from a variety of small artisans. Bookshop.org allows you to purchase many of your favorite books and fulfills them from a small business bookseller. And, if you really don’t know where to get started, my own small business community curated a list of more than 200 small businesses in our annual small business holiday gift guide here, with ideas ranging from meat bouquets for the man who has everything, to custom printed socks, pajamas and other novelties featuring your own pet!  An internet search for small business gift guides or small business holidays will also help you in your shopping. 

While it is sometimes easy or even automatic to defer to shopping with “the big guys,” if you aren’t willing to support small businesses by directing your shopping dollars to them, they will become less of an economic factor or even die off. That means less innovation, less economic freedom and wealth creation opportunities for the average American, and a further consolidation of power in the hands of big businesses and ultimately, big government. 

Your purchase may be the difference in saving a small business this year. Consider that as you decide how to allocate your hard-earned money this holiday season—and every day.

Carol Roth is a former investment banker, entrepreneur and author of the new book “The War on Small Business” Broadside Books (June 29, 2021) and the New York Times bestseller “The Entrepreneur Equation.”

Maria Flores

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