Is this a good marketing opportunity for your company?
Around this time each year, clients start asking us, “What should we do for Small Business Week?” In case you are not familiar with it, Small Business Week was created by the SBA over 60 years ago to honor top entrepreneurs. Honoring small businesses is a terrific idea. Many years ago, I received a “Journalist of the Year Award” from the SBA (I think it was during Small Business Week). Canada has their own version as well. Honoring small businesses is awesome, so what’s not to like? Well, here’s the thing…
No disrespect to the SBA (which has many fine programs), but most business owners have never heard of Small Business Week. A few weeks ago, I asked a few of my friends who are business owners about it. Here’s what they said:
“I didn’t know that Small Business Week existed.” – Owner of a consulting company
“I have very little knowledge of small business week. I think it was formed to try and promote the idea of people patronizing local small businesses.” – Owner of a small restaurant group
“Never heard of this. I thought you were joking until I looked it up and found that you aren’t. Am I missing something? I read the SBA site and I still don’t understand what it means or is supposed to accomplish.” – The owner of a CPA practice (who happens to largely serve small businesses)
Sure, this is a small sample size, but I can assure you, it is very representative of the small business population as a whole.
So outside of participating in dedicated SBA or US Chamber of Commerce Small Business Week events, Small Business Week is basically a non-event for marketers. That said, the SBA’s intentions are clearly in the right place, but I’d ask the question, “why for only one week?”
If there is a marketing opportunity in honoring SMBs, it’s year-round. What should your company do to celebrate the achievements of small businesses – in the spirit of Small Business Week if not around the event itself? Here are a few ideas:
- Celebrate small businesses and entrepreneurs, particularly your customers, by featuring them (and thereby promoting them) in your content.
- If one of your customers is honored by someone else, call them out.
- Provide expert content that can truly make a difference in how they run their businesses.
- Treat them well. Your company has small business vendors. Give them good terms and make doing business with you as easy as possible.
Small businesses are as American as apple pie. In fact, businesses with fewer than 500 employees employ almost half of the private sector work force and produce 46% of private sector output (source: SBA). Most SMBs work hard with lean staffs and scarce resources. Recognizing their accomplishments is always a good thing.