Small businesses are the beating heart of local communities and the backbone of our nation’s economy. Almost every American works for or with a small business in some capacity, and they provide a critical livelihood for most citizens. Nearly two-thirds of new jobs are directly linked to these businesses – a trend that has been consistent for several decades.
From owners to employees, it’s no small feat to be involved with one of these businesses. National Small Business Week has been celebrated for over 50 years to honor all those hard-working individuals who keep the wheels in motion and the doors to progress open. And while a week in the spotlight is a nice gesture, small businesses deserve much more than a note on the calendar.
Here are some ideas with that in mind to honor the occasion and to celebrate entrepreneurs and employees everywhere.
Take Advantage of the Spotlight
Whether you are a humble owner or a seasoned marketer, there’s never a wrong time to spread the word about your business. Take this week to sound the bell and highlight all that your company has accomplished. It can be an excellent time to run a promotion to spread the word about new products or services that existing customers can take advantage of while also opening avenues for new ones. With increased awareness and interest in small business gaining overdue headlines, use this to your benefit.
Sending a blast out on social media, in newsletters, or via other customer-facing content is always essential, but if you focus things on the importance of Small Business Week, you stand to increase engagement. What are you most proud of about your business? Let your customer base know about it and tell them how important it is for them to stay involved with every small business that they value.
Team Up with Other Businesses
Teamwork makes the dream work. Connections, partnerships, and networks are vital to the business world. Take some time to go over your existing network of other small businesses to see where you can find mutually beneficial opportunities. This can be as simple as sending an email to a contact to follow up on potential business or as involved as laying the foundation for a grand plan that requires numerous companies to accomplish.
Rather than always seeing other businesses as competition, understand that there are occasions where working together can uncover new roads to success. Even if you don’t end up working with another owner or business directly, there’s a good chance you can open new channels for communication that establish lasting benefits. Small businesses of all kinds are community-based at the core, and this doesn’t apply to just their own customers. By understanding the value of teaming up with other companies, you can help expand your own while allowing others to thrive right alongside.
Understand Small Business Cybersecurity Risks
Cybercrime is at an all-time high, and the problems surrounding this issue affect businesses of all sizes. Just because you are a sole proprietor or mom-and-pop shop does not lessen your chances of becoming a victim of data breach or other cyber-attack. Around 43% of all attacks go directly after small businesses, and over 60% of small and medium-sized business have experienced an attack in the last year. And even under steady threat, only a fraction of these businesses are adequately equipped to deal with such an event.
Having data breach planning and response services in place ahead of time is a critical step to limiting the risks involved with a cyber incident and to dealing with the problems when an attack or breach occurs. You can’t wait until after an issue arises to act, as many small businesses cannot recover quickly (or at all) without professional help. By understanding the risks facing small businesses, you can properly prepare and help your company better navigate looming digital threats before, during, and after they occur.
Explore Available Resources
The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) is holding a virtual summit from May 2-5, 2022, as part of National Small Business Week. This is a digital event for business owners or any other interested person and will provide access to free federal resources. The summit also offers insight into new business strategies and serves as an opportunity to connect with other business owners. Whether you want to learn new skills that might help your business succeed or expand your network of like-minded business owners, this virtual summit is a great opportunity for that and more.
If you can’t attend the above event or you want to explore other resources, there are many other options out there for small business owners of all kinds. The SBA website is a good place to get information ranging from how to launch a new business or to manage an existing one to securing loans and obtaining counseling services. SCORE is another excellent resource that is a non-profit offering free mentorship and workshops for small business owners. You can also volunteer with SCORE to share your knowledge and give back to the small business community.
Say Thanks to Customers and Employees
A small business doesn’t get far without its hard-working employees and supportive customers. Remember to take a minute to give thanks where thanks are due. If you have recurring customers, consider offering them a coupon or discount to show appreciation for their continued support. If your business deals with clients rather than customers, personalized thank you messages are always appreciated and encouraged.
Employees should also get credit for their lasting contributions to the small business world. You’re hosting a party or event at the workplace is a fun way to let employees enjoy themselves and to recognized all the work that they’ve put in to help your business move forward. Bonuses, gift cards, or other incentives are also a great way to say thanks if your business can offer them. Even a small token of appreciation can go a long way toward helping employees know that they are seen and valued.
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