How to Take Advantage of National Small Business Week

5 smart ways to leverage the event and boost your brand.
small biz week
The Small Business Administration (SBA), chose "Dream Big, Start Small" as this year's theme for National Small Business Week. (Photo: casejustin/Shutterstock)

Monday, May 2 kicks off National Small Business Week, an annual event that recognizes the contributions of America’s small business owners and entrepreneurs. With more than half of Americans working for or owning a small business, it’s a well-deserved pat on the back.

This year’s theme, chosen by the Small Business Administration (SBA), is a fitting one for entrepreneurs: “Dream Big, Start Small.” Throughout the week, the SBA will host a number of events and webinars around the country, which might cause you to wonder, “How can I use this event to boost my brand?”

Good question. Here are suggestions from marketing experts on how to celebrate National Small Business Week and make it relevant for your business.

Collaborate with other businesses

Since National Small Business Week celebrates the work of small businesses and entrepreneurs, it’s a great time for you to do the same. “Seek out joint ventures and partnerships where you and another business owner will both benefit,” advised Katrina McKay, entrepreneur coach and consultant at Uplevel Solutions.

“If you’re particularly social media­-savvy, perhaps look to sign an agreement with a more established but less digitally literate small business.” McKay also suggested shouting out entrepreneurs you admire using the National Small Business Week hashtag #DreamBigSmallBiz.

Or simply ask another small business owner out for lunch and pick their brain. As entrepreneurs know, small things often lead to something bigger.

Host an event

“A great way to get potential customers in your area to learn about your business is by hosting a free event,” said Hana Abaza, vice president of marketing at Uberflip in Toronto. “This can either be held in your place of business or a different venue, but the theme should tie in to what you sell or provide so that you know that you’re getting the right clientele in the door.”

“My local running store offers free running groups and brings in representatives from shoe companies to do fit tests. The events made me aware of the business and I ended up going there more often when I needed to buy supplies rather than buying online or at a big­-box store because I got to know the employees,” said Abaza.

Push out relevant content

During National Small Business Week, events take place in various cities each day. “Be sure to plan your content calendar accordingly,” said Jonha Richman, a UK­based tech marketing consultant.

“Instead of the usual and generic greeting for the whole National Small Business Week, tailor your posts, whether on social media or your business blog,” to coincide with these themes, said Richman.

Hold a contest

Use a contest or giveaway to get your customers to market your company for you. “Through a social contest, you can get people to take a picture or video using your product or service and post them to their social feeds,” suggested Abaza.

“You can have them post to multiple social channels, tag a friend, follow you on your social sites, post a comment — you name it. The more social media channels they post to, the more points or chances they get to win. You can get a lot of interaction on your channels this way and potentially get a lot of new followers.”

If your contest involves a giveaway, make it something that gets people interested, whether it’s a free product or a free meal.

Sponsor an event

Sponsoring an event in the name of National Small Business Week can be a great way to boost your brand locally. The event’s marketing materials will mention your business, and you can spread the word at the event itself as well.

“You can try to find events that are related to your product or service, or sponsor a cause that you’re passionate about,” recommended Abaza. “By having a presence at the event, you can talk to people about your business. And don’t underestimate the power of free giveaways.”

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