Two special weeks honoring small business are coming up: Small Business Week and Independents Week. Both are basically U.S. celebrations. Either one could be a good tie-in for your small town business. (If you know of special small business celebrations in other countries, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.)
June 17-21, 2013, will be National Small Business Week, an event sponsored by the SBA. The Small Business Administration is an independent agency of the U.S. government.
July 1-7, 2013, will be Independents Week, an event sponsored by the AMIBA. The American Independent Business Alliance is a non-profit organization helping communities sustain their local independent businesses and keep opportunities alive for local entrepreneurs. (I love AMIBA because they are based in Bozeman, Montana, and have a good appreciation of small towns.)
AMIBA’s Independents Week
Independents Week “is a nationwide campaign to engage your local independent businesses and community members in celebrating the spirit of entrepreneurism and community.”
Notice that this event is focused on independent businesses, not just small businesses.
The AMIBA is encouraging towns and cities to organize their own events. Graphics, activity ideas, and checklists are made available online, at no cost. Past participants include big cities and small towns: Durango, CO; Dormont, PA; Austin, TX; St. Petersburg, FL; Springfield, IL; Albuquerque, NM; and Omaha, NE.
Ideas for events include a street dance, food events, a bicycle tour of businesses, sidewalk art, or a kick off sale. In store promotion event suggestions were local musicians, balloons, local food samples, crafts for kids, sales on locally produced items, and cooperative events with more than one business. Many other ideas are posted on the AMIBA website.
Any local business could also include Independents Week in their social media activity, advertising, and in store displays. Create a cross-display with another independent business: you put some of their items in your window, and they show yours. On your blog or Facebook page, invite locals to share their own story of how an independent business went out of the way to help them. Post photos of other local independent businesses on your Twitter or Instagram account and add their stories in the captions. Put news of the local events as an update on your Yelp or Google Local Page.
SBA’s National Small Business Week
Small Business Week “recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.” The SBA has organized events in Seattle, Dallas, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. Other local events are scheduled at various cities and towns, mostly awards events organized by local SBA offices. There is no invitation to create your own event.
In addition to the in-person events, National Small Business Week will also feature daily online forums that will focus on subjects such as exporting and access to capital. All events will be live-streamed on SBA’s website, www.sba.gov.
Any small business could feature Small Business Week on their social media networks, in advertising, or in in-store displays. Each state has their own State Small Business People of the Year honored by SBA, and that could be another good tie-in for your media efforts. On your Facebook page, you might start a discussion of favorite small businesses in your town. In an email to your mailing list, you might talk about the importance of small business to your community. Don’t focus on your own importance; focus on the importance of other local businesses. Make this more about the community than about yourself.
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