It’s National Small Business Week, which brings a flurry of entrepreneurial activity on social media and events and webinars by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Small Business Week began in 1963, and the SBA “takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories,” according to the administration’s website. “Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.”
Here’s a look at some outreach tips for Small Business Week, along with details on many of the events presented by the SBA.
Maximize the opportunity
The combination of events and social media action can lead to ways for small business owners to boost awareness. In a story for The Business Journals, Miranda Paquet offers several tips.
Acknowledge those “who keep your business going.” A business owner certainly doesn’t have to wait until Small Business Week to show gratitude. But it could be a good time to reach out and thank staff, customers and mentors, as Paquet recommends. “Take a moment to step away from the day-to-day frenzy and show your appreciation,” she says. “A face-to-face thank you is always great. But you can also write thank you cards, send an email to your supporters, or post a thank you on social media.”
Collaborate: Small Business Week could be an opportunity to work with another business for an event or special sale. “For example, a jewelry store could increase its exposure by setting up a display at a local spa and providing 10 percent off coupons to all spa customers,” Paquet writes. “Look to collaborate with businesses that reach a similar audience so your products and services complement nicely.”
Marketing: Use the week to increase the visibility of your products or services, Paquet says: “Get the word out to your supporters by sending an email announcing Small Business Week and encouraging your customers to support you. You can add a coupon to your email as a special thank you to your customers.”
Small Business Week events
There are several Small Business Administration events around the country, along with webinars on a variety of topics. Here’s a look, courtesy of the SBA (all are eastern times).
Monday, May 1: Awards luncheon in Washington, D.C. at 11:30 a.m. Awards will be given in several categories:
The winner of Exporter of the Year is Abram’s Bed LLC from Pittsburgh. As the SBA notes: “Rose Morris, Abram’s Bed LLC’s president and inventor of The Safety Sleeper, will receive the award on behalf of her company. A mother of three, Morris struggled with finding solutions to protect her middle son Abram, who is on the autism spectrum, as he faced nights of fitful and erratic sleep. Her determination to help her then toddler-aged son lead a healthy life was the inspiration to invent The Safety Sleeper, a lightweight tent-like structure that is placed on top of the bed, and includes padding and an air mattress.”
Another honor will be the Jody C. Raskind Lender Award, which the SBA gives to “a mission-focused lender that has distinguished itself in helping small businesses start, grow and expand.” The award will go to the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation, a nonprofit that helps women entrepreneurs. The SBA reports the group “ranks among the nation’s top 10 SBA microlenders, No. 5 in volume of both microloans and community advantage loans and No. 6 in loan volume for both programs.”
The Small Business Person of the Year award will be selected from 54 winners, one from each state along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. SBA Administrator Linda McMahon said in a press release, “These small business owners define entrepreneurial spirit and best represent the 28 million small businesses that are the backbone and economic engine for today’s economy. I look forward to welcoming the winners to Washington next month when they are officially honored for their achievements.”
Tuesday, May 2: McMahon will be on Facebook Live at 10:30 a.m. The SBA administrator joins Erin Egan, Facebook’s vice president and chief privacy officer for policy, for “a fireside chat about how to start and grow a business. Administrator McMahon will share her story and tips on how to make your business a success. Engage in the chat by submitting your questions.”
Webinar: “The U.S. Economic Outlook and Its Impact on Small Businesses,” presented by Visa and featuring Visa economist Jay Hawkins. 2 to 3 p.m.
Wednesday, May 3: The National Small Business Week Road Tour starts in Indianapolis. “… McMahon will visit the town of Speedway to honor the state’s small business community. The IndyCar town is the ideal backdrop. The racing industry is full of entrepreneurs and building a car is similar to starting a business. Tune in to hear from inspiring business owners.”
Webinars: “5 Fabulous Habits of Local Business Champions,” presented by YP and featuring Rieva Lesonsky and Holly Bowyer. 2 to 3 p.m.
“Grow Your Business Online,” presented by Google and featuring Anastasia Kudrez. 4 to 5 p.m.
Thursday, May 4: The National Small Business Week Road Tour heads to Texas. McMahon will be in Arlington to “meet with small business owners like Sherrill Lester, president of QMF Steel. Sherrill defied odds and expectations when she entered the steel manufacturing industry which has traditionally been ‘a man’s world.’ Tune in to hear the inspiring stories of successful small business owners.”
Webinars: “The Future of Small Business Innovation,” presented by Salesforce and featuring Jason Lemkin, Mark Quinn, Jamie Domenici, Kevin Burke and Jeff Carr. 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
“How to Write Your Email Content in 15 Minutes or Less,” presented by Constant Contact and featuring Bria Sullivan and Dave Charest. 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
“Find the Hidden Money in America,” presented by Chase and featuring Nely Galan. 5 to 6 p.m.
Friday, May 5: The Small Business Week Road Tour moves to California, coming to a close in Fresno. McMahon will be on hand, “as well as successful business owners such as Fred Ruiz, founder of Ruiz Foods and Ron Heskett, CEO of Borga Steel.”