Small businesses power America.
According to the Small Business Administration, 99.7% of companies—which works out to 27.9 million different firms—qualify as small businesses. Not only do small businesses create a ton of jobs, we all rely on them in our day-to-day lives. They’re your favorite restaurant, the person who plows your driveway, the neighborhood market you shop at, the team that paints your house, your barber.
Since 1963, America has honored its small businesses during National Small Business Week, which will be celebrated April 29–May 5 this year. National Small Business Week is an annual celebration of over 28 million entrepreneurs and small business owners in the United States.
It’s a great time to be a small business owner, and there are lots of ways to join in.
Small business happenings will take place across the country during the week, including events and training sessions for small business owners, both online and in-person.
Do you own a small business and want to know what your company can do to celebrate Small Business Week this year?
Here are some ideas for inspiration:
1. Host a networking event
Prove your small business is a leader among your peers by planning and hosting a networking event that brings nearby entrepreneurs and small business staff together to get to know one another, learn new things and make new friends.
You never know when a networking event can lead to a new partnership or new clients (or at least high-quality leads).
At the very least, you will generate some buzz and raise brand awareness simply by hosting the event.
2. Celebrate your employees
Where would your small business be without the help of your employees?
Small Business Week presents the perfect opportunity to show your employees how much you appreciate their hard work.
So plan a company outing or host a party. You could also take your team out for dinner and drinks—or hire a bartender and caterer to serve you for a few hours in the office.
Not sure what your team will want to do? The easiest way to find out is by asking them directly.
3. Show your customers you appreciate them, too
While you’re at it, use Small Business Week to show your customers how awesome they are. How exactly can you do that? Here are several ideas:
Give away some swag if you have it.
Announce a brand-new customer loyalty program.
Send handwritten notes to some of your best customers.
Invite customers to a company-sponsored happy hour.
Showcase customer spotlight stories on your blog and promote them on social media.
Put together a short thank-you video featuring your employees.
Your business wouldn’t be as successful as it is without your awesome customers. You don’t have to do anything major, but a small gesture can go a long way toward increasing loyalty.
4. Launch a contest or giveaway to engage your audience
Small Business Week is also a great time to launch a contest on social media to raise brand awareness and gain more followers.
For example, you could give the 100th or 1000th new person to follow your Twitter account a bag full of swag—or something even better (like a gift certificate to a restaurant or a weekend getaway somewhere). Depending on the products you sell, you could also launch a photo contest, encouraging your followers to send in pictures of your products taken in exotic or unusual places (for example, a coffee mug with your logo on it on a mountain top).
Check out this Hootsuite post for examples of successful social media contests.
5. Launch (or re-launch) your company blog
For the last few years, you’ve been telling yourself you were going to start blogging regularly for your small business.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, it hasn’t happened yet.
Small Business Week is a great time to launch your business blogging efforts.
Companies that blog regularly get much more traffic than their peers that don’t. In addition to fulfilling your goal, you’re also likely to get many more qualified leads.
6. Support other small businesses near you
The weeklong small business celebration isn’t confined exclusively to your company.
Use the time to show the other small businesses in your community how much you appreciate what they do. Here are some ways you can do this:
Take your team out for lunch a few times during the week at different restaurants and cafes. Ask your employees where they’d like to go the most.
Buy several gift certificates from several different stores near you and give them out to your team. Play games or have a contest and award the winners (though you should give something to all your employees).
Instead of using a megastore like Amazon or Staples, support a neighborhood office supply store—even if it is a little less convenient.
You know your neighborhood the best. It’s never too early to start thinking about which companies your own could bring a little extra business to during Small Business Week.
Another way to support other small businesses? Partner with a complementary business in your area or industry. There are many ways to collaborate. You could co-host an event or run a campaign to promote the mutual benefits of your products, with a promotion thrown in. Banding together is a great way to quickly reach new audiences.
7. Invest in new tools and technologies
Is your business still relying on outdated systems and tools? If so, it’s a perfect time to reassess the technologies your small business runs on to see whether any investments might transform your company. You might want to add something like…
A new collaboration tool. For example, modern collaboration tools and messaging platforms can increase your team’s productivity by making it easier for employees to find the information they’re looking for and tackle group projects with their colleagues—from any location.
A more modern payment system. If you own a business that either pays or gets paid on net terms, using a service like Fundbox Pay can improve your cash flow. If you’re a seller using Fundbox Pay, you’ll get paid immediately at the moment of sale. Buyers paying with Fundbox Pay, get convenient net-60 terms.
Small Business Week is a great time to launch something new that will pay off in improved productivity or smoother transactions in the future.
8. Reorganize your office
Just because your office has been in disarray for quite some time doesn’t mean it has to stay that way forever.
Clean workspaces are linked to improved morale and increased productivity. What’s not to like?
From one small business to another, happy National Small Business Week!