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Insights for Entrepreneurs

25 Ways to Celebrate National Small Business Week

This week, we’re celebrating entrepreneurs. We’re holding a contest, co-hosting a webinar, and partying all week. It’s National Small Business Week! What will you do to celebrate?

Here are 25 ways to celebrate National Small Business Week. Don’t forget– you can work on these initiatives all year.

1. Start or Work on your Blog

Blogs build community, generate traffic, and help show you’re expertise. Seriously, 81% of consumers in the U.S. trust info they read on blogs. Get your advice out there! Blogs are great for SEO, too. They help get the word out, and wind up attracting tons of inbound links.

Why do it:

Blogging doesn’t just help you become a better writer. It helps you establish yourself a trustworthy source of information, and helps boost your SEO. Most of all, a blog connects you with an audience who could become customers.

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2. Join a BNI, Chamber of Commerce, or Other Business Club

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Growing a business is all about who you know. You want to become the go-to accountant or architect that everyone recommends. To do it, you have to get involved. Joining a BNI, Chamber of Commerce, or other business club is a great way to get involved in your community. Membership will help you become a go-to connection.

Why do it:

People trust people they know more than people they don’t. Get to know more people.

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3. Partner With Another Business

Get in front of a new audience by leveraging partnerships. Find another business who caters to the same people as you do, and dream up a way to collaborate. You might co-host an event, co-write an eBook, or do a contest where you give away their products.

Why do it:

Other businesses have huge audiences. Dipping into those audiences is a huge opportunity for you.

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4. Do Some Social Promotions

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Your customers are hanging out on social media, so meet them where they are! Put some money behind carefully constructed Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn ads. Test out a few different ads against each other, and see how the channels work for you.

Why do it:

The world’s on social media, and paid promotion goes a long way. Just a few dollars can result in huge exposure.

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5. Find a New Way to Get the Word Out

We all get stuck in our routines, doing what we know, but we might be missing out on a great promotional channel, one that brings in more customers than ever before. Get out of your comfort zone and find a new way to get the word out to prospective customers.

Why do it:

You might have an untapped source of customers waiting to be discovered. That means $$$ for you.

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6. Thank Your Employees for All They Do

If your business didn’t have humans powering it, things would deteriorate fast. National Small Business Week is a good time to thank your employees. Thank them for their commitment to your business by taking them out to eat, hosting a party, or giving gifts. If you’re on a tight budget, a simple thank you card counts for a lot.

Why do it:

Your business couldn’t exist without its people.

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7. Support Other Small Businesses

Small businesses share similar struggles. They lack the resources of big brands and have to get scrappy. Their employees get involved with everything, rather than very specific, niche tasks. Celebrate and support the other small businesses in your neighborhood this week.

Why do it:

Small businesses are more powerful when banded together.

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8. Get Your Accounting in Order

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Are your finances disorganized? Are you stumbling through the books each month? This week, get your accounting in order. Maybe that means finding a bookkeeper, re-doing your budgets, or reading a book on personal finance. Whatever it is, do it this week!

Why do it:

You can’t scale a business if any aspect of your accounting is out of whack.

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9. Find and Listen to Some New Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to gain knowledge, especially while you’re in the car, on a plane, or commuting via public transit. Podcasts exist on every subject under the sun, so there’s sure to be one that will speak to you.

Why do it:

Knowledge is power, and podcasts are an easy way to get it.

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10. Read a Helpful Book

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Reading. Maybe it’s something you love. Maybe it’s something you hate. Either way, reading has been scientifically proven to make you smarter, help you concentrate, and reduce stress. Instead of letting your Kindle gather dust, why not resolve to read a business book?

Why do it:

Books provide insights you can’t get anywhere else. They help change your perspective so that you can grow your business (and yourself!) into exactly what you want.

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11. Automate Your Marketing

Ever have one of those days where you feel like you need to clone yourself? One of the best ways to fix this is to automate your marketing efforts. You might be worried that “set-it-and-forget-it” means not adding your personal touch, but automation can be natural and free up tons of time for you.

Why do it:

Today’s buyers are much more informed, and they’re making decisions long before you talk to them face-to-face. If you don’t have things automated, you’re bound to let your marketing slip through the cracks.

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12. Try a New Small Business Tool

When it comes to running a small business, time and effort are precious resources, and the last thing you wanna do is waste them. Thankfully, there are tools available to make your life much easier. From marketing to accounting, communicating, and more – there’s a tool for that!

Why do it:

You’re a busy person, and it’s hard to stay organized. A tool can’t make or break a business, but it can take a load off so that you can focus on more important things.

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13. Do Some Spring Cleaning

As a small business owner, you’re faced with a constant stream of things to do. Harry Potter isn’t going to wiggle his wand and organize your life, so you’ve got to adopt some basic strategies that work for you.

Why do it:

Being disorganized is the pits. You can’t concentrate on important things if you can’t keep it together.

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14. Draft a Summertime Marketing Plan

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Sometimes, it seems like summertime motivation—or lack thereof—is a kind of “seasonal affective disorder.” The kids are home, the weather is beautiful, hotel rooms are booked, and it seems like we’ve got everything on our minds except work. But if you neglect your efforts just because it’s summer, you’ll pay for it. Stay motivated.

Why do it:

Summer can be a slow season for some industries and a peak season for others, but you don’t have to experience the dreaded “summertime slump.”

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15. Brush up Your SEO

Getting Google to recognize you may seem harder than climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, but being a top search result can position your brand above the rest (literally). Plus, traffic that comes in (and buys!) via organic search is free. Instead of paying for each click, you simply reap the benefit of appearing when someone is looking for your products or services.

Why do it:

The world is online searching for products and services. If you’re not appearing, you’re missing out on gobs of business.

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16. Host a Contest

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Contests are a great way to engage your audience. These contests don’t have to be fancy sweepstakes. Instead, you can give away a product or an Amazon gift card in exchange for participation. Contests are a fun opportunity to get customers and clients to share their stories, and they can result in a lot of traffic to your site.

Why do it:

Contests create “buzz” about your brand, products, and services. They encourage people to visit your website, and you can even use them to build your email list, all the while positively interacting with your customers.

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17. Make a Resolution

National Small Business Week is a great time to create a new goal. Yes, we’re all familiar with the routine: Everything heads downhill after you make your resolution, right? But before you let out a collective sigh, think about how you could set some realistic resolutions for your business– and really stick to them.

Why do it:

We all need a resolution or goal to get ourselves working hard for what we want.

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18. Find a Mentor

If you don’t already have one, make it a priority to add a mentor to your arsenal of friends, partners and advisers.  A mentor is someone who can help you navigate the challenges of running a business, make connections, and help guide you starting and growing a successful business.

Why do it:

Mentors can be an invaluable asset to your business thanks to their knowledge, connections and skills. Having someone you trust to bounce ideas off of or talk you off the ledge might be just the help you need to take your business from good to great.

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19. Throw a Customer Event

A little customer appreciation never hurt anyone! It doesn’t take a lot of effort to pull together a small event with your customers. It could be something as simple as inviting them to the office for a small event or hosting a happy hour.

Why do it:

The real value of these events comes from talking to your customers. You’ll be surprised at how much they’re willing to share and what you can learn from them.  Bonus: They’ll feel appreciated and get to meet other like-minded people; helping not only you grow your business but theirs, too.

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20. Update the Office to Enhance Productivity

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Your office should be a stimulating and inspiring space. From the lighting to the décor, or lack thereof, it all plays a role in your mood and productivity at the office.

Why do it:

A quick office makeover (or make under if you’re a clutterholic) can make all the difference in you and your team’s productivity levels and even happiness. Think of all the time you spend at the office. A small investment here could yield big results in the future.

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21. Learn to Delegate & Focus on Personal Development

Somebody’s got to pay the bills, but does it have to be you? As a business owner, it’s hard not to get bogged down by all the little things that need to get done. That’s where delegation comes in.

Why do it:

Delegating tasks will free you up to focus on what really matters. That usually means revenue generating activities but it could also mean you finally making it to that workout class, or getting out of the office and networking.

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22. Attend an Event

There are tons of tools out there (check out Meetup.com and Eventbrite) that compile all of the upcoming events in your area. These tools make it easy to find great events. The hard part comes when deciding which ones to go to.

Why do it:

Plain and simple: it’s good to get out of the office and talk to people. A quick chat with a new person could result in a new idea, a new customer, a fresh perspective or even the connection of a lifetime. But you’ll never know if you don’t go!

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23. Take a Mental Health Day

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How can you expect yourself to be on top of your game if you’re just a hamster on a wheel working non-stop on your business? You can’t. Sometimes you’ve just got to step back from the desk, step out of the office and recharge.

Why do it:

It’s important to take care of yourself and your health. Although it may seem counter-productive, taking some time off from work can actually increase productivity. You’ll come back refreshed and ready tackle anything that comes your way.

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24. Find a Personal Board of Directors or Advisors

We’ve all heard of a board of directors. You know… the people who oversee company activities and make strategic decisions. But, what about a personal board of directors? This not so well known board of directors is just as important as the actual board of directors.

Why do it:

At any time, you’ll have a group of people you trust for support or solid advice. A good personal board is made up of people with a wide variety of specialties and experience and their combined efforts can help you make better, well thought out decisions. A win-win for you and your business.

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25. Refresh Your Company Swag

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People love free stuff and when you provide high quality free stuff your fans are sure to use it.  Those pens you’re giving out? Although useful, they’re probably not the best option for swag. It’s time to take a step back and find something worth keeping.

Why do it:

LuLuLemon gives you a good quality, reusable bag when you buy something at their store. People use these well after they’ve bought something from them and become a walking advertisement for the brand. Swag done right can do great things for your brand. It’s just a matter of finding the right item(s).

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Happy National Small Business Week!

This week, celebrate your status as a small business owner, and support others in your region and industry. What will you do to celebrate National Small Business Week?