As National Small Business Month kicks off, some of the biggest names in U.S. commerce — including Walmart, Amazon and Meta — are touting how they support SMBs and introducing new tools and services to help them survive and thrive.
To understand the current mindset of small-business owners given the challenging economic climate, Amazon conducted a poll in partnership with Walker Sands. The top concerns keeping small-business decision-makers up at night are:
- High inflation (63%);
- Fears of an economic recession (39%); and
- Supply chain disruptions (30%).
Given these results, the primary focus today of the SMBs surveyed is financial resilience, with “finding ways to save money” and “staying within budget” ranking as their two most important purchasing priorities (both at 61%) in the next 12 months. However, even in the midst of all these challenges, small-business decision-makers remain optimistic, with more than half (55%) of respondents saying they feel more hopeful about the success of their business than they did a year ago.
Not surprisingly, given that small businesses account for 99.9% of all businesses in the U.S., larger businesses have a vested interest in serving these companies. A number of them are doubling down on their SMB efforts and messaging for National Small Business Month in May, including:
- Amazon is kicking off its second annual round of Small Business Grants;
- Walmart is beefing up its Business+ membership offering and hosting training for small business leaders; and
- Meta is touting the success of its platform in enabling small business growth with the release of a new documentary film.
Amazon to Hand Out $250,000 in SMB Grants
Existing U.S.-based Amazon Business customers with annual revenues of $1 million or less can apply for a grant, with one grand-prize winner, a group of finalists and a group of semifinalists all receiving monetary grants, Business Prime memberships, select Amazon devices and more. Applications are due by May 21, 2023 and the winners will be announced on July 17, 2023.
“At Amazon Business, we are committed to the growth of small businesses and invest in education, grants and tools to help them overcome challenges they face and free up time and resources to focus on their mission and customers,” said Todd Heimes, Director of Amazon Business Worldwide in a statement. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and when they succeed, we all succeed.”
Walmart Touts Time- and Money-Saving Benefits of Business Membership
Walmart is aiming to give small businesses a boost during the month of May with special Walmart Business+ benefits and an insights-focused webinar.
Customers who start a paid Walmart Business+ membership this month will receive a $50 Walmart Business e-gift card alongside the program’s other money-saving features, which include free shipping, no order minimums, 2% rewards on orders of $250 or more and savings of 5% on eligible items set to subscription. Walmart Business+ members also have access to a Spend Analytics feature that helps them more accurately track spending.
Walmart Business will also host a webinar this month focused on sharing insights and tips to address some of the challenges small businesses are currently facing.
“Walmart began as a small business and has a long history of selling the products of small businesses in our stores,” reads a company blog announcing the events. “We celebrate the important role small and medium businesses play in their communities and recognize the unique challenges they face. Walmart Business is one way we have leaned in to serve SMBs, saving them time, money and hassle so they can focus on their missions.”
Meta Releases Short Film About One SMB in Iowa
A whopping 96% of businesses using Meta’s platforms are SMBs, so Meta conducted a study with economists at UC Berkeley to understand the impact its services make on these companies. The findings show that:
- Every dollar spent on Meta ads drives on average $3.31 in revenues for advertisers in the U.S.; and
- $400 billion in economic activity annually is linked to supply chains relying on Meta’s platforms, supporting more than 3 million jobs.
To showcase this impact, the company has released a short documentary on Facebook, YouTube and a number of other digital platforms called They Came from All Over. Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Rayka Zehtabchi, the film depicts the comeback story of Tom Mulholland, the owner of Mulholland Grocery, a multigenerational grocer in Malvern, Iowa. Mulholland struggled when his business tragically burned down, but with the help of his community and the Meta Boost Leaders Network, he’s now on the path to returning the store to its former glory.