Updated April 29, 202209:10 AM - last edited April 29, 202209:10 AM
Welcome to a slightly edited transcript of our most recent Twitter Spaces chat about Small Business Week and how you might consider incorporating it.
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Small Business Week is May First through the Seventh, and it is a nationally recognized time for celebrating small businesses in the United States. The first Small Business Week took place in 1963, following a proclamation from John F. Kennedy. To celebrate, top entrepreneurs were selected from every state and were then presented with special recognition and awards. After the first year, the weekly celebrations became an annual occurrence that promoted small business success, and encouraged new entrepreneurs to recognize and learn from successful leaders in their industries.
Small Business Week has been taking place for a lot of years. This year marks the 59th anniversary and it’s all about highlighting the resilience of small businesses following the pandemic with a focus of Building a Better America through Entrepreneurship. Considering the fact that 99% of businesses in the United States are small businesses, they definitely deserve the week’s worth of recognition. Even though the percentage of small businesses is incredibly high, and they provide two of every three jobs available in the nation, the contributions of small businesses are still often overlooked, and many small business owners struggle to maintain their business’s success. Small business week not only serves to highlight the impact of small businesses, but it is also a time to encourage communities to put extra effort into supporting their local entrepreneurs and economy.
I also just want to acknowledge that the last few years have been incredibly difficult times, and I think that small businesses have felt that struggle more than anyone. So this year’s Small Business Week is more needed than ever to provide some extra recognition and hopefully a nice boost to small business owners across the country.
First and foremost, attending Small Business Week related events is a great idea for small businesses, as most of these events are packed full of knowledge and resources that can help them to excel. In addition, small business owners can get involved by sharing the background of their company or their story via social media outlets like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. While this week is predominantly about thanking and highlighting businesses themselves, it is also a great time to give a thank you back to your customers. You can do this any way you see fit, whether that’s choosing to celebrate with a small business promo, or simply sharing a thank you post to your followers.
Another cool way to get involved is to partner up with other small businesses and promote each other, whether it be within a physical storefront, or a social media shout out. This can help build a sense of community and maybe even get your business in front of a customer base they wouldn’t typically reach.
Something to keep in mind for the small business owners that opt to get active on social media is to make sure that you’re using Small Business Week hashtags (#smallbusinessweek #shopsmall etc) to boost all of your posts and link them to the week’s celebrations.
New and aspiring entrepreneurs can still utilize and benefit from Small Business Week in most of the same ways that established businesses can. However, I also think they can take it a step further and use the week to find small business owners that they look up to and see how they can help each other out during this time. For example, new entrepreneurs can learn from the successful business owners by requesting an interview to find out what the road to success looked like for that individual, and in return they can promote the business and help get their story in front of a new or larger audience.
Even if new entrepreneurs and business owners just stick to attending the small business week events, they’re sure to benefit from the information and guidance that is provided during this week.
This is a perfect week for customers to really increase their support for small businesses. The most obvious way that customers can get involved is to direct as much of their spending as possible to small businesses. Whether it is paying for a service, or purchasing goods, if you can work with a small business then you’ll be doing your part to support. As we’ve mentioned for business owners as well, it is also a wonderful opportunity to give a shout out to your favorite small business and help to expand their customer base. If they have a story or a cause that you’re passionate about, then use this week as an excuse to share it with your friends and followers.
If you want to focus on supporting small businesses in your local community, you can even plan a fun day or night out where you try to visit all of your favorite local stores, restaurants, and the likes. As you visit each place, you can make a purchase and/or snap a picture to share on social media. You may even choose to look at local small businesses that provide classes, like cooking, pottery, or yoga for example, and challenge yourself to add them into your schedule for the week. For business owners, if you do share any businesses or business related posts on social media, you’ll want to make sure to use the small business week hashtags, and also be sure to tag the businesses you are sharing to help drive traffic to their social sites.
Local, smaller scale events will vary depending on where businesses are located. However, there is also a string of events hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration that is open to small business owners across the country. They’ll be partnering with SCORE to host a virtual summit, award ceremonies and educational classes from May 2nd through the 5th, and you can register to attend directly through the sba.gov website. They haven’t released all of the details regarding the agenda just yet, but the topics should be revolving around tools and resources available to small businesses, and how COVID has impacted the small business community, in addition to the usual Small Business Week topics.
(The following section is provided verbatim to allow each speaker's endorsements to come through as they were shared on Twitter)
Luren: I’m glad to hear that small businesses are getting some extra love during this week. I know that we also want to spread the love as well, so Sofia, would you like to kick us off?
Sofia: Absolutely! First, I just want to say thank you to all of the small business owners and entrepreneurs out there who are willing to take the risks and really devote your lives to seeing your dreams and passions take form in your businesses. Like we mentioned earlier, I know that it’s been a really trying time over the past few years and we all commend you so much for the grit and determination that it’s taken to make it through.
I’d like to give a special shout out to one of my favorite small businesses - JCOCO! Their chocolate is top notch with the most unique and delicious flavors. What is super neat about this business is that they give back with every bar they sell. When the CEO founded jcoco, her mission was twofold: elevate the way people experience chocolate and turn an everyday indulgence into an opportunity to make a difference. Today, jcoco is a cult-favorite among epicureans and has donated more than 3.7 million servings to organizations working to combat hunger! They also work directly with a small, local Peruvian chocolate maker that ensures full traceability and sustainable farming practices.
Faith: That’s great, Sofia. I'm also excited to have the opportunity to share an awesome small business with you all today. The Big Stone Gap General Store of Big Stone Gap, VA is one of my favorite small businesses not only because their coal fired pizzas are wonderful, but also because their opening during the COVID-19 pandemic kind of jump-started, what I'd say would be the 'revitalization' of downtown Big Stone Gap.
I think it gave a lot of inspiration to other locals who were interested in the idea of opening a small business in the area, to take a leap, and see what funding or grant options they may have working with the Town Council to bring their own small businesses to the downtown area.
Since The General Store's opening, we've seen several other locals start their own businesses downtown including a pottery shop, a dessert bakery, a creamery, a pizza place local to the surrounding area, and we'll also be filling another building this summer with a local micro-brewery. So I think it's great that The Big Stone Gap General Store showed their own resilience by opening during the pandemic, and it kind of lit the fire for locals who've been interested in doing the same!
Jasmine: I love hearing about these awesome businesses. In addition to being a social specialist on the Digital Delivery team, I lead Intuit Women’s Network in Boise. As part of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day this year, we hosted an event highlighting SkinOwl. SkinOwl is a local, sustainable, and woman-owned skincare brand with a mission to educate you about your skin & deliver the best products, so that skin “care” can be the catalyst to caring about every genuinely important facet of your life.
When you walk into the Brick-and-mortar, it’s like walking into a skincare cafe. You’ll enjoy a glass of bubbly or wine, try on tons of the products for a mini-facial refresh, partake in an herbal steam, and finish off with red light therapy. The founder, Annie Tevelin, did a Q+A with our members and gave us so many tips and tricks for skincare that I’ve been using everyday since. In addition to those tips, I’ve also incorporated a steamer, GlowStick, Geranium Drops, and Maqui Berry Whip into my skincare routine and it’s worked wonders on my skin. I highly highly highly suggest checking out SkinOwl on Instagram. It’s a great purpose, background, and business overall
Katelynne: I’m gonna add these all to my list of places to support. The business I want to highlight today is Sunn Juice and Decor in Baker City, Oregon. For starters, I think they’re the cutest little shop, and they’ve done so well with their decorations and honestly just the entire aesthetic. The owner is new to the small business world, and just opened the shop in October of 2021. Similar to what Faith mentioned about the General Store, I think they were an amazing symbol of courage and resilience during such a scary time for small businesses. I love this business because of their passion for health and pure products. In addition to selling clean, freshly made smoothies and treats, they also carry products like locally made skin care lines and feature all local artwork throughout their building. They even partner with local yoga instructors and host yoga and juice nights to encourage healthy habits and promote the instructors and their practices. I just think that this small business truly emanates a love for the community that supports them, and it really warms my heart to see how they incorporate it.
This has been such a great conversation today, and I think the tradition of National Small Business Week is so important for the small business community. With all of the information that we’ve shared today, the main thing to keep in mind is that whether you are a beginner entrepreneur, current business owner, or even just a customer who wants to support small businesses, May 1st through the 7th is prime time for getting involved and sharing the love.