This is a post about the power of a social media.
Last Saturday, a day after Black Friday, American Express staged its second annual Small Business Saturday. The initiative is a laudable project to encourage consumers to spend money at small businesses within their community, and created a pretty strong social media platform for local businesses to promote sales and offers. It was, by all accounts, a success except for one problem - franchises weren't invited to participate.
Luckily, consultant Paul Segreto stood up, using Twitter to ask the following question: "I bet #AMEX wouldn't be very happy if all of #franchising didn't accept AMEX Cards … even for just one day." Segreto's simple point, which he wrote online, is this:
“Franchising, supposedly the cornerstone of small business and as many claim, the driving force behind economic recovery in America, has been excluded from the event.”
The difference between small-business owners and franchisees is an age-old debate (Segreto has some interesting thoughts on this subject by the way), but there's no arguing that many franchisees operate at a local level with a level of independence and deserve a chance to promote themselves alongside the country's other fine small businesses.
A number of people online got behind Segreto, and wouldn't you know, American Express have scheduled a conference call to speak with Paul and the IFA about the issue next weej. According to an AMEX spokesperson who was interviewed by Entrepreneur magazine, "It's not our intent to exclude anybody. The company only recently learned that smaller franchises wanted to participate."
We sincerely hope we'll see some franchises participating in Small Business Saturday 2012.