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Small Businesses Supercharged by Cash Mob Efforts

A small but powerful movement called "cash mobs" continues to generate incredible momentum for small businesses. These organic efforts have begun to sprout up in small towns across America, and their popularity continues to grow in the national consciousness.

Cash mobs can create a positive impact on small businesses. The cash mob is inspired by the "flash mob" trend, in which rehearsed, organized dance groups apparently pop up out of nowhere. The dancers simply look like regular folks at regular places, such as malls and parks. At a predetermined time, the dancers start their performance, much to the delight and enjoyment of the surrounding onlookers. The flash mob appears spontaneous, but was actually generated by through lots of hard work, preparation and practice. A cash mob operates in a similar way. A grassroots campaign organizes a group of people to support a local business. At a predetermined time, they show up with cash in hand to support that business by buying its products and services.

Cash mobs are fueled by social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. The campaigns originated with an idea by Chris Smith, a blogger from Buffalo, New York, who flipped the concept of Groupon and Living Social on its head. Most small businesses saw a huge uptick in business when they offered deals on the social coupon sites, such as Groupon and Living Social. Smith wondered why people needed a discount to support businesses; as it turned out, they did not.

With just a little online coaxing, Smith assembled a group of people who met at a local business with cash in hand, ready to support its products. The event was successful, and the idea spread. All across Facebook and Twitter, people across the country began using social media to promote cash mobs, visiting a local business on a given day and time, giving that business an incredible shot in the arm. An army of customers arrives as a complete and total surprise, cash in hand, ready to buy products and services. Like most social media campaigns that find traction, local media got involved and helped the idea to spread.

Small businesses all over America have seen cash mobs pop up and typically double their normal sales in a given day. This buy-local movement supports small businesses, community relationships and helps draw people together. It is a true win-win for all parties involved. While it may not burn as many calories as a flash mob, its importance to the economy and its operation as a lifeline for struggling businesses makes it a worthwhile endeavor.

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