It's National Small Business Week, and I didn't even get you a card. How rude. However, I did receive innumerable PR pitches to cover a slew of events, contests, and companies celebrating dedicated, hardworking small business owners everywhere. But any single celebration wouldn’t do you justice, so I've compiled a few of the events, opportunities, and information that caught my attention.
It's wonderful to have a week lauding the contributions that roughly 29 million small business owners make to the U.S. economy. But frankly, every week is small business week as far as I'm concerned. You get up every day and get it done with creativity, determination, and grit. You deserve a lot more than one week—just sayin'.
Here's a sampling of what's going on in small business this week.
Celebrating National Small Business Week
While small business owners like nothing better than making money, saving money rates a close second. Recognizing that fact, Staples decided to honor National Small Business Week by permanently cutting prices on its ink and toner cartridges. In addition, the company's holding a contest called Make More Happen. Go to the contest link and, in 200 words or less, share how your business "makes more happen."
Staples will choose five winners, and each winner receives:
- A film crew at your location to produce a 30-second video spotlighting your business
- Your video featured nationally on Staples social media channels
- A branding package featuring $1,000 worth of Staples print and marketing services
That's not a bad package, and who could complain about paying less for ink and toner cartridges? Head over to your local Staples—or go online—and check out the opportunities for your small business.
Get Your Business Online
Did you know that half of U.S. small businesses don't have a website? Google wants to help change that, and its program, Get Your Business Online, offers a variety of local trainings, resources, and workshops to help get small businesses online—for free.
Topics include how to get found on Google search and maps, how to build a free website, how to grow your business online, how to promote your business with AdWords Express, and how to get a custom email address with Gmail for Work. Click on the link—it will show you a map of events in your area—to see what dates and locations work for you.
Get and Stay Fiscally Fit
Improving your company's financial stability for today and in the future is an important goal. To help you make sound, long-term decisions the SBA and Score offer an interactive webinar called Tips for Getting Your Business Financially Fit . This one-hour webinar is scheduled for Thursday, May 5 at 3 PM Eastern Daylight Time.
Steve Jarriel, webinar producer for SCORE Association, hosts the event, and John Shapiro, director of product management, payments for Intuit Quickbooks, offers advice and "actionable tips for improving the financial fitness of your small business." Click on the link and register today.
Learn from the Titans
What lessons can you take from big business—and then modify and apply to grow your small biz? An excellent question. Amy McCloskey Tobin covers that topic for SAP and looks at what big companies can teach us about structure, discipline, work culture, and strategy. Go ahead, learn from the best of the bigs, and then add your unique small business twist.
Small Business: Powered by Talented People
You want to grow a beautiful, successful business. And in order to do that, you need to hire the best people. That often feels like a tall order when you're competing against bigger companies with better budgets and perks out the wazoo (that's a technical term, I swear).
But here's the good news. According to The Small Business Guide to Recruiting and Hiring—from the folks at Business.com—when it comes to recruiting and hiring top candidates, small businesses have advantages, too.
Get Your Free Online Marketing Tools
No budget for marketing your small business? Ha, no problem. Just about every online marketing tool known to man offers a free version. And that's plenty for someone who's just starting out, or even established small business owners with simple marketing needs. The good news is that you can try several marketing tools until you find the one that suites your needs. And if—sorry, when—your business grows beyond the free version, you can step right up to a for-fee version without missing a step.
In honor of National Small Business Week, the good folks at Moz offer this list of 10 Free Online Marketing Tools Every Small Business Owner Needs.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com. Follow her on Twitter.
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