This week marked the 50th anniversary of the SBA's National Small Business Week. Throughout the week and across the country and internet, events were held with the aim of helping small business owners manage and run their businesses more efficiently. From tips on protecting your small business from cyber-attacks to how to find funding, experts and panelists provided attendees of breakout sessions and Google+ hangouts with valuable information. Here are 3 of the top takeaways from National Small Business Week 2013.
Make a Startup Successful with a Strong Network
One of the first sessions on Monday took a look at the startup environment in Seattle. "Seattle's Entrepreneurial Ecosystem" Panel featured a number of startup founders and senior marketers. According to the panel, startup founders should look for a mentor to provide them with insight and help them network to build that base of customers. Having a mentor that guides you through creating a business and running a business can be incredibly beneficial. The panel also suggests attending or creating an event that can help you build a network of partners, customers and co-workers with people from within your area of expertise and outside of it. Networking is key to a startup's success.
Build a Strong Online Presence
During the "Managing Your Business's Online Reputation" Google+ Hangout, moderator Reiva Leonsky asked attendees, ranging from CEOs to VPs of Marketing, how small businesses can better build their online presence. One of the key points made during the hangout is that small business owners need to determine how much time they have for social media and then create a plan about how they're going to use that time and on what networks. It's about engaging with customers with the time you have and providing them with the information they're after. Darnell Holloway noted that one of their recent studies found that by engaging with customers through Yelp, businesses saw an average increase of $8,000 in annual revenue (Tweet this stat!). These numbers just go to show that by focusing on the right networks small business owners can create and build a strong online presence that translates to sales.
Related: Save time and your sanity by outsourcing your online marketing.
You CAN Get a Small Business Loan
Entrepreneurs are often looking for ways to get funding for their new businesses and startups. However, big banks may not be so flexible when it comes to small business lending. During one of the arm-chair interviews, David Stewart, Founder and Chairman of World Wide Technology, explained how he first got his first few small business loans. He suggests going to small, local banks that embrace the entrepreneurial spirit and looking for loans through the SBA, such as their Guaranteed Loans. Small business loans can come from unlikely banks, but you need to do your research to see what options available for your business through the SBA and other lending programs.
National Small Business Week 2013 has been a major success. Even if you were unable to attend all the events in-person, the SBA had a live stream going on their site for viewers from across the nation which thousands tuned in to. As National Small Business Week wraps up, we hope you've realized the impact entrepreneurs, small business owners and startups have and that you've gained insight how yours can be more successful throughout the rest of 2013 and for years to come.
Did you listen in or attend any of the NSBW sessions? What did you take away?