Small businesses have and will continue to play a vital role in helping communities thrive. In the past small businesses have typically been our local bakery, florist, dry cleaners, barber shop, candy store, and the pizza and sandwich shop. Present day, small businesses now include online artisan and jewelry boutiques, clothing stores, food trucks, pop-up shops, nail salons, and pet walkers, to name a few.
To honor the contributions small businesses make to help sustain local communities, and to encourage local spending, American Express’ Small Business Saturday hopes to inspire you to “Shop Small.” Recognized every Saturday after Thanksgiving and during National Entrepreneurship Month, it’s a way to boost local commerce and celebrate the passion and drive of small business owners. Here are a few ways you can participate.
“Get up, get out and shop small” on Saturday, November 25th to support your local businesses. In many towns across America people have side gigs and side hustles to augment their income. And, some have decided to leave their nine to five to purse their passion. So, if you know someone who has taken that leap of faith, perhaps started an online business or has a small store front, make an effort to stop by and support their business. This is also an ideal way to begin your holiday shopping because people love gifts that are locally made.
Got a Business? Get Registered
At small businesses I’ve supported, I noticed they have signage indicating they are registered as a Small Business Saturday merchant. If you are a small business owner, consider registering as a Small Business Saturday merchant, order a kit, and show the community you’re open for business, particularly on that day. Word of mouth is still the best way to attract more customers.
Organize a community Pop-up
Support local businesses by organizing a vendors’ pop-up to allow the local smoothie and coffee business, artisans, bakers, farmers, jam and cheese makers and others to sell their goods. In addition, perhaps invite a local restaurateur to host a community taste test while neighbors shop.
Get Entrepreneurial Fever
Do you think you have what it takes to work for yourself? Not sure? Check out AARP’s small business resources to find out if starting a business is right for you. We also have free online tools and resources at www.aarp.org/50plusentrepreneurship to help you with marketing, financing and developing your business plan. You can also check out the Small Business Administration to learn more about starting a business.
AARP helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for and equips Americans 50 and older to live their best lives. Discover all the ways AARP can help you, your family and your community at AARP.
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Turn Your Hobby into a Business
Have you thought about turning your passion and something that serves others into an opportunity that could pay the bills? Perhaps you sold lemonade, made homemade desserts or sold candy when you were a kid. At that time, you were probably nurturing your entrepreneurial spirit. Many small-business owners will agree that when you’re passionate about what you do, it does not feel like work; you’re just doing what you were placed on this earth to do.
On Tuesday, April 18, at 7 p.m. ET, AARP will host From Passion to Profit, which will explore the journeys of three inspiring owners of Alan Michaels Design, Woofies, and the NailSaloon. All three took a leap of faith and left the corporate world to pursue their passions, ultimately reaping a nice profit. This panel of entrepreneurs will be moderated by renowned musician, Marcus Johnson, owner of FLO Wine and a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) award winner. The SBA will also discuss available resources for entreprenuers. REGISTER NOW to hear these inspiring stories from the entrepreneurs who created these businesses:
Alan Michaels Design. After returning from a trip to Kowloon, China, where he was introduced to clothing and tailoring, and eventually leaving his day job of overseeing a minority business program with the NFL, fashion aficionado Michael Humphrey decided to “chase” his passion to become a full-time men’s custom clothier and shoe designer. In 2005, he launched Alan Michaels Designs, located in Ashburn, VA, to not only sell menswear but educate men on identifying their personal sartorial style. Humphrey, who’s always had a desire to “stand-out and be seen,” helps men, through his fashion passion, build their self-confidence. Working in an industry that’s largely underrepresented by minorities, particularly African Americans, he networks through Custom Tailors and Designers Association (CTDA) to influence men of color who have an appetite and interest in the industry.
Woofies. Inspired by their passion and love for dogs, business owners Amy Reed and Leslie Barron left their corporate careers to establish a pet-sitting and dog-walking service. Being pet owners themselves, they knew firsthand the need to make sure their pets were in the best hands at all times when they were away from home or while traveling. As a result, Reed and Barron were frequently called upon to help care for others pets while the owners were away. Due to a high volume of demand, in 2004 they made the leap, and the business grew in a short seven years. Woofies, now includes Pet Taxi, Overnight Care, Bed and Biscuit and mobile grooming services.
NailSaloon. Rated one of the best nail salons on this side of the Mississippi and located in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC, two friends ditched their corporate jobs to open a nail salon. After discussions over a cocktail and writing down ideas on napkins and envelopes, the NailSaloon was born. They envisioned what the shop would look like and the customer experience. They knew they wanted a place where friends, new and old, could talk and relax. They also donate 3% of their daily profit to charity. Andrea Vieira and Claudia Diamante are having a great time helping their customers feel special.
Want to hear more about how each of these owners got started? REGISTER NOW! Can’t attend this webinar? Register and a link will be sent to you when the webinar is complete.
Thinking of starting a business? Check out www.aarp.org/startabusiness to see if starting a business is right for you.
AARP helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for and equips Americans 50 and older to live their best lives. Discover all the ways AARP can help you, your family and your community and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
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Let states help people save for retirement.
It’s the idea behind the long-running AARP-supported drive to establish new retirement savings plans for the 55 million private sector workers in America – who don’t have access to a workplace savings program. The idea was the brainchild of current AARP Senior Strategic Policy Advisor David John and Mark Iwry, a former Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute.
About ten years ago, David and Mark created a campaign that sought to give workers – often low-income and employees of small businesses – a little “nudge” to save by pushing automatic savings into a simple payroll deduction IRA. That is, unless the employee chose to opt-out.
A 2017 AARP study titled “Access to Workplace Retirement Plans by Race and Ethnicity” and other studies showed that workers are 15X’s more likely to save if they have a savings deduction plan at work.
Auto-IRA was first considered in Congress, with the Automatic IRA Act of 2007, but the legislation did not move ahead. However many states, with powerful backing from AARP, moved to fill the gap with their own versions.
Current AARP Board member and former US Comptroller General David Walker is still very passionate about this push and spoke about it in a recent op-ed in that ran in USA Today. In the op-ed, Walker remarked that “the states are closer to the people and they are often more willing and able to test creative solutions.”
At this time, thirty states are in some stage of considering what AARP calls “Work and Save” state-based, private sector programs. The states include: Utah, Arkansas and Utah. Illinois, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Oregon, Washington State and New Jersey have already approved their programs.
Some in Congress are seeking to – as Walker says – “undermine bipartisan state solutions to the retirement savings deficit faced by many Americans” by considering a veto of Department of Labor regulations that would make it easier for American workers to save – without a viable workplace retirement savings option. And the Senate is contemplating following the House’s lead.
Read Walker’s op-ed in support of Work & Save, here.