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Cindy Bates

Vice President, US Small and Midsized Business & Distribution at Microsoft

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4 Key Takeaways from National Small Business Week

May 26, 2017

Tips to help you build a strong foundation for your business year-round.

This year’s National Small Business Week (NSBW) was a whirlwind of activity with hundreds of hands-on workshops, events, webinars and a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) road tour where SBA Administrator Linda McMahon traveled across the country to meet small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Though NSBW officially ended May 6, why not keep the momentum going and make time every day to recognize the great work and tremendous impact of small businesses across the U.S.? The four key takeaways below will help you build a strong foundation for your business year-round.

Get social:

Social media took center-stage during NSBW thanks to a number of Tweet chats and an SBA livestream featuring social media tips. The panel, which featured Microsoft Senior Partner Marketing Manager Melanie Gass alongside representatives from Facebook and Constant Contact, shared insights on using social media to build customer loyalty and grow brand awareness. The sheer number of options for social media engagement might seem intimidating, but there are easy steps you can take to boost your online social media presence without extra time or effort. You can find out more here.

Start early:

Pursuing your entrepreneurial passion has no age requirement, there are amazing young entrepreneurs out there making an impact. Current small business owners can help develop “youthpreneurs” by hosting business planning workshops for students in local areas. If you’re a parent, invite your child to help out after school at your business to encourage an early appreciation of entrepreneurship and a deeper understanding of what it takes to make a business grow. The early years I spent at my grandmother’s dress shop and at my father’s accounting firm still resonate with me today, and it’s likely the same will be true for your child.

Make connections:

During NSBW, all eyes were on the millions of small businesses across the U.S. With so much attention and a vast number of SMB-focused events, it’s a great time to make connections. But the opportunity doesn’t stop there. The SBA also offers a variety of ways to get involved on a local or national level. Your local chamber of commerce is another great resource. You can find more ways to turn your networking up a notch here.

Innovation matters:

To kick off NSBW, Bank of America released its spring 2017 Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual survey of 1,000 small business owners across the country. Encouraging innovation in the workplace is a priority for 75 percent of the SMB owners surveyed, and 77 percent recognize it as a key contributor to business success. As part of NSBW, the benefits of continued innovation were on full display when the SBA administrator announced husband-and-wife business partners Garrett and Melanie Marrero of Maui Brewing Company as this year’s national Small Business Persons of the Year.

Maui Brewing Company, headquartered in KÄ«hei, Maui, started in 2005 as a small, seven-barrel brewpub. Today, it is the largest craft beer producer in Hawaii. Their story is an inspiration because of the commitment to continued innovation. They’ve expanded beyond beer to open a new restaurant, brew pub and eateries. By the end of next year, they plan to employ a workforce of 700. Take a tip from the Marreros and begin planning the next phase of your business whether that’s developing an online offering, upgrading your technology or disrupting a new industry.

Look beyond NSBW and embrace the everyday impact of SMBs. Explore a website refresh, mentor a student, take a moment to thank the small business owners in your neighborhood or simply give yourself a pat on the back for having the courage to pursue your dreams.

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