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6 ways to make the most of Small Business Week

Celebrate the small businesses that comprise the bulk of local employers and the workforce during Small Business Week, May 5–11.

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Wisconsin small businesses may not, by definition, be large, but their economic impact is. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), in 2018 there were 448,032 small businesses in the Badger State, representing 99.4 percent of all Wisconsin businesses. Those small businesses employ 1.2 million Wisconsin workers, or 49.7 percent of the state’s workforce.

IB will recognize several of these businesses during the 37th annual Dane County Small Business Awards on July 16, but all of them will be front and center during National Small Business Week, May 5–11.

Since 1963, National Small Business Week has celebrated the contributions local entrepreneurs make to our communities all year long. The SBA will co-host a free, two-day virtual conference featuring educational workshops and networking, and it will hold educational seminars throughout SBA’s 10 regions and 68 districts throughout the week, but there are a number of things you and your small business can do to join the celebration and promote your business at the same time.

No matter if you own a small business, work at one, or just love supporting them, here are six ways you can take part in Small Business Week this year:

1. Share your story

No one else knows your business’ story like you do, so make sure you share it with your customers, partners, and clients. Make the most of your print and email mailing lists to send a note of thanks to your clients, and share some previously unheard nuggets about your business’ origin story and your motivation for running your operation. Utilize all of your social media channels — don’t forget to use the hashtag #SmallBusinessWeek — to share behind-the-scenes photos and videos that show your customers the heart of what you do.

2. Celebrate your customers

You wouldn’t be in business without them, so be sure to recognize the clients and partners who help keep the lights on. If your business has branded swag, give it away, and make sure to include a label denoting that it’s Small Business Week. Offer special discounts and promotions all week long, and consider launching a customer loyalty program, if you don’t already have one.

If you have the capability, provide offer codes for your most loyal customers, those on your email list, for example. Not only will you be able to track who uses the codes, you’ll have some valuable data for future promotions to your best customers. Give some special recognition to long-time customers who have stuck with you through thick and thin by way of a handwritten thank-you note.

3. Celebrate your employees

Next to you, your employees are the lifeblood of your small business. Make sure you take time out this week above all others to reward your hard workers. Arrange an impromptu happy hour or picnic to show your gratitude to your employees. Close the office early one day to host a company party or treat your team to an adventure. Provide your staff with paid volunteer time to give back to a cause close to their own hearts, or simply offer a paid half-day off to use as they please. You can also take this opportunity to solicit positive comments from your customers on why they love and appreciate your employees so much, and share those with your staff and other clientele.

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