National Small Business Week is in full swing! Since 1963, the president has proclaimed one week out of the year as National Small Business Week citing the importance of small businesses to our national economy, and per President Obama’s 2016 proclamation, as representative of “the spirit that has always driven our Nation forward.” This is truly a week of celebration and acknowledgment of the hard work and dedication millions of Americans put forth each day to grow their passions and prosperity across the country. Don’t be fooled, though. There’s so much more to NSBW than festivities and merriment; business and industry findings are revealed, which glean insight into what’s in store for small businesses in the future.

Here’s what’s happened so far…

This year’s theme, “Dream Big, Start Small” has permeated every presentation and every social post that includes the official hashtag, #DreamSmallBiz. From the multi-city tour to the comprehensive live streaming capabilities, NSBW 2016 has been a hit of epic proportions. The official NSBW 2016 kick off was held in the National Museum of American History in the nation’s capital on Sunday. SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet and Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and mainstay of the TV show, Shark Tank, led the keynote address and presented the National Small Business Person of the year to Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell of Equator Coffees and Teas. Their ambition and determination to deliver quality products to their community exemplify what small business is all about, and they couldn’t have been more appreciative and gracious during the presentation.

Monday’s primary event was the Awards Ceremony, also in DC, where small businesses from across the country were feted and recognized for their impact in their communities and on a national scale. A full list of award winners can be found here. Both days embodied the spirit of the entrepreneurship and the possibility of turning a dream into reality.

Tuesday took us from Atlanta to New York City, with the morning session in Georgia focusing on providing insights and sector suggestions for small businesses. SBA Deputy Administrator Doug Kramer and small business experts led a discussion about how to start and grow your small business in 2016. The day ended at the Apollo Theater in New York with the final video series for MBK Millennial Entrepreneurs. The night was filled with riveting and spirited interviews with the following entrepreneurs:

  • Moderator – Mike Muse, SBA MBK Champion, CEO Muse Recordings
  • Ty Hunter – Stylist to Beyonce; Clothing Line “With Passion”
  • Jason Mowatt – Creator of Trap Karaoke; Former Investor & Partner of Trillectro
  • Lance Rios – Founder & CEO of “Being Latino”
  • Reggie Miller – Co-Founder & CEO of “Iced Media”
  • Chef Max Hardy – Private Chef, Owner of “Chef Max Miami Catering Company”; Author
  • “Hollywood Hino” Ehikhamenor – Trainer to the stars (Carmelo Anthony, Kelly Rowland, etc.); Owner “TeamHino Entertainment”

Today is sure to pack a punch just like the previous few days. Wednesday’s activities hail from Colorado where Maria Contreras-Sweet and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper will honor local small business owners. Get in on the action by live streaming this event at www.sba.gov/nsbw from 11:300AM-2:00PM MT. It’s certain to be an inspirational session.

What have we learned?

Small businesses deserve a week of appreciation as they are the backbone of our country! Maybe that’s not new news, but seeing the stats and figures that position small businesses as critical to our economy is refreshing. Small businesses employ millions, allow people to follow their dreams, and enhance the economic livelihood of our nation. Bussiness2Community released an article highlighting 30 inspiring facts about small businesses, and they sum up the sentiments of the week nicely. Our four favorite facts are:

  • Approximately 70 percent of all U.S. small businesses are owned and operated by a single individual.
  • 2016 marks the fourth consecutive year of improved net profits for businesses with less than $5 million in annual revenue; current trends indicate 2017 may be the fifth.
  • Certain industries are more successful for small businesses; they include e-shopping and mail order, software publishers, computer services, and service specialists for buildings/residences.
  • More than half of small businesses use social media marketing and find it effective, especially as a means for two-way communication with consumers.

In addition to Business2Community’s NSBW article, our friends at Vistaprint Digital Services conducted a survey to uncover how clients discover the small businesses in their communities. In their Digital Impact Report on Online Identity, released today, their findings are exciting for small businesses. Some of the featured conclusions include:

  • 75 percent of respondents shop at a small business at least once per month
  • The proportion of respondents that find small businesses online is the same as the proportion that rely on word of mouth, at approximately one third
  • 45 percent of respondents are unlikely to shop at a small business with a poorly designed website
  • 60 percent say it is important for small businesses to have a social media presence

These facts leave us feeling encouraged by the serious growth potential of small businesses and their imminent expansion in the coming years. Perhaps the two most important conclusions are that having a professional online presence is practically required in order to thrive in the marketplace, and that reviews can make or break your business. With Vistaprint’s findings and other reputable source’s opinions about small businesses, we can’t help but think now is the time to establish your small business in the digital world. Build your website, create social media platforms, engage in email marketing, and get your business into local listings. These avenues will propel your small business forward as a trustworthy entity worthy of a consumer’s time and resources.

Feeling inspired? Take part in the remaining days of National Small Business Week 2016! Check out the following events, and remember to include #DreamSmallBiz in your social posts to ensure your voice becomes a part of the NSBW conversation.

Thursday, May 5

7:00-8:00AM ET, Twitter #TweetHour – Nationwide

Simon Walker of IFTTT will discuss how to scale your business as well as how to save time and money, boost your productivity, and other topics and concerns of entrepreneurs. To join in the conversation, log into Twitter and search for and use the hashtag #TweetHour.

Screenshot of TweetHour From Twitter

10:30-11:30AM PT, Phoenix, Arizona

Discussion with SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet and Veteran Entrepreneurs.

Want to attend the event in person? Register for free, but space is limited

Not local? You can live stream the event from www.sba.gov/nsbw

Friday, May 6 

8:30am-1:00PM PT, San Jose, California

Listen to Maria Contreras-Sweet and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo discuss business trends and resources to help you start and grow a business.

Register here to attend for free or watch from the comfort of your home or office from www.sba.gov/nsbw

Tell us how you’re celebrating National Small Business Week in the comments below!

About the Author: Julie Chomiak is the Content Marketing Specialist for Webs and Pagemodo. When she’s not scouring the web for small business trends, Julie loves traveling, interior design, and animals of all kinds. Get more from Julie on the Webs Blog and the Pagemodo blog.

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