This Small Business Saturday, Make Plans to Start Your Own Business

If your post-Thanksgiving weekend plans include supporting small businesses, you’re not alone.

But what if Small Business Saturday isn’t just a chance to support your favorite local companies and brands?

What if it’s the start of something momentous, something incredible, something life-changing?

What if this is the year you start your entrepreneurial journey and bring your small business dream from idea to reality?

Last year’s Small Business Saturday — the initiative’s seventh year — saw an estimated 112 million consumers shop at small businesses, according to a report from the National Federation of Independent Businesses and American Express.

That’s a 13 percent increase from 2015 — pretty incredible, right? And even better — PwC is forecasting a 6 percent increase in holiday spending in 2017, compared to 2016.

The numbers tell a compelling story about Small Business Saturday’s effectiveness. And the awareness is likely to grow further in the coming years.

What if you could take advantage of this annual #ShopSmall opportunity to drive traffic to your new business?

Start now, and this time next year, your Small Business Strategy plans could look very different. We’ll show you how.

Education Created for Entrepreneurs

We get it — starting a business is hard. It’s challenging. And often, it’s downright scary.

That’s why Kauffman FastTrac does everything it can to equip entrepreneurs with the resources they need to get started, then support them as their entrepreneurial journey unfolds. FastTrac is an immersive, flexible curriculum that guides you through the topics, tips and best practices you need to start your business or, if you’re an established entrepreneur, grow your brand.

The best part? Kauffman FastTrac is now available for free online, meaning you can learn at your own pace.

It’s not always easy to find time for continued education, especially if you’re juggling an already-hectic schedule. Yet FastTrac courses are designed to be informative and actionable. You won’t be inundated with dry, generic “Business 101” information. Instead, you’ll have a chance to really think about your business idea with outcomes that include identifying a real market opportunity, finding a target market, defining your brand and marketing, and determining the steps to profitability.

Just ask Brian Kearns, founder of HipHire, a Kansas City-based startup that reduces employee acquisition costs and turnover through an online service that connects businesses with qualified, part-time job candidates. Brian founded HipHire in 2013 after graduating from Kauffman FastTrac and says the opportunity to more thoroughly explore his business idea was key to his success.

“FastTrac validated my vision and the need to establish a better solution to help small businesses find and hire quality, part-time people,” he says. “It also solidified the importance of continuing education. I recommend FastTrac for those who think they have a good business idea. It’s less costly to validate in the classroom than on the street.”

Entrepreneurs Empowered

Sometimes businesses start with an idea. Other times, they begin with a problem. And in the case of Liz Forkin Bohannon, founder of SSeko Designs, they start with a goal.

A former journalist, Liz also counts social enterprise, creative leadership, gender equity, risk-taking and empowering women among her passions. She believes that business is a powerful platform for social change and that girls are our future. That belief led to the founding of Sseko Designs, which designs, sources and markets sandals and other handcrafted items made (and sometimes co-designed) by Ugandan women who would otherwise face lives of poverty.

Liz launched Sseko Designs after graduating from FastTrac in 2008 and now, 9 years later, the company has grown from three women making sandals together under a mango tree to 50 women employed across Uganda. One reason for Sseko Designs’ success? Kauffman FastTrac.

“FastTrac helped me build a strong business foundation on which my dreams of empowering African women can grow,” Liz says. “It gave me tools and encouragement that empower me to empower others, and introduced me to valuable tools and relationships that helped get our business off the ground.”

It’s Your Time

Now, it’s your turn. As you take advantage of Small Business Saturday events and promotions, seize the opportunity for entrepreneurial inspiration.

What do you want to do?

What’s lacking in the market?

What keeps you awake at night?

The busy holiday season might seem like a perplexing time to start to organize your entrepreneurial plan, yet it makes perfect sense. Many of us choose this time of year to look ahead to the new year and start to outline goals and plans. Maybe you’ve been haunted by that lingering question: “What if?”

Well, there’s no better time to find out what happens next.

Just think: the entrepreneurs mentioned earlier started in similar situations. They had an idea, and to bring it to life, they took the big step of signing up for and completing Kauffman FastTrac.

Just think what you could do by taking a similar path.

And even more exciting? Imagine the possibilities of what’s ahead.

You’re participating in this year’s Small Business Saturday. Next year, perhaps you could be planning your own Small Business Saturday promotion, drawing the eyes and attention of some of the 72 percent of U.S. consumers who are now aware of the day.

Your first step? Register for Kauffman FastTrac and pick a few courses. We’ll be there to help along the way.

And when you’re joining in future Small Business Saturday events after you’ve launched your business, we’ll be there to cheer you on and, of course, buy local.

The time to get started is now!

Receive Email Updates

Sign up to receive marketing communication from the Kauffman Foundation or Kauffman FastTrac