By Karen Axelton

Black Friday and the holiday shopping season seem far away—unless, of course, you’re a retailer. In that case, you’re probably already in the hustle and bustle of ordering inventory and planning your holiday marketing campaign.

Make Small Business Saturday part of your marketing plan this fall. If you didn’t participate or hear about the event last year, Small Business Saturday is the day after Black Friday (this year, that will be November 26, 2011) and is designated as a day for shopping at local, independently owned small businesses.

The first Small Business Saturday, instigated by American Express OPEN and held last year, was a huge success, raising awareness of how much “shopping local” can help small retailers and their communities.

So far, 106 public and private organizations have partnered with American Express OPEN and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) to participate in the second annual Small Business Saturday. The Association of Small Business Development Centers, Enterprising Women, Hispanics Impacting Public Policy and National Small Business Association are just a few of the organizations participating in the Small Business Saturday Coalition. These partners will increase awareness of Small Business Saturday by producing live events nationwide and distributing tools to help local merchants market themselves during the holiday season.

To see if organizations that you are involved with are members of the Coalition, check out the full list of partners. Also be sure to “like” Small Business Saturday on Facebook so you’ll be updated on all the news and events surrounding Small Business Saturday.