Plan ahead to get the most out of National Small Business Week
Small businesses are the backbone of Canada. In fact, almost 70 percent of Canada’s private labour force is employed by small businesses. And that’s not the only reason they’re critical to Canada’s economy. Here are three more reasons why small businesses matter:

  • Small businesses created more than 77 percent of all private jobs in Canada from 2002 to 2012.
  • More than 7.7 million Canadians work for small businesses.
  • 98 percent of all private companies in Canada are small businesses.

Most Canadians probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about just how important small businesses are to the country’s economy. But National Small Business Week is a great opportunity to highlight the value that small businesses bring to their local communities and the country as a whole.

Small Business Week may not be until November, but it’s never too early to start planning ahead to truly get the most out of it!

National Small Business Week: Participate and celebrate
As part of last year’s Small Business Week statement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, “Small Business Week offers an opportunity to celebrate the grit, creativity and dedication of Canadian small-business owners.” Here are some ideas you can use to commemorate this celebration.

  • Plan ahead: Don’t let Small Business Week sneak up on you. To get the most out of it, encourage your staff to start thinking of ideas now. The U.S. version of Small Business Week is coming up in May, so pay close attention to how your southern counterparts maximize the occasion. You just might find some great ideas!
  • Hold an event: Let your customers know it is National Small Business Week and, as a small business, you appreciate their patronage. Hold a special thank-you event where the focus is on supporting local businesses—and be sure to let your customers know you couldn’t do it without their support. Send an invite to your customers, vendors and other local businesses. Have refreshments and Fortune Cookies with the custom message “We feel fortunate for your business” to convey your gratitude. Remember to have extra staff on hand to meet and greet customers and thank patrons for stopping by. A Spooner Mug, Double Wall Tumbler or a folding tote makes a nice thank-you gift for your guests.
  • Attend an event: Check with your local association of commerce or small business administration office to find Small Business Week celebrations in your area. Attend one to show your support and to share your entrepreneurial story.  And use the event as an opportunity to network and drive new traffic through your door by presenting other attendees with a special offer or promotion. For example, attach a business card to your printed offer with a Keep-it Clip to be distributed at the event.
  • Support your neighbours: Remember, Small Business Week isn’t just about promoting your small business—it’s about promoting all the entrepreneurs that are making a difference in your community. Spread the news by telling friends, family and customers about your favourite local small businesses. And remember: you, too, can buy locally. This includes purchasing from vendors and suppliers you use for your business. Is there a local office supply store you can use to purchase supplies? Or a local company offering computer maintenance and IT support?
  • Become a mentor: Know of a small business trying to get their feet off the ground? Support their entrepreneurial spirit by becoming a mentor. New businesses often struggle with obstacles you may be familiar with, such as understanding regulatory requirements, defining business goals and getting customers in the door. Look to your network, or contact your local association of commerce or small business administration office, to look for opportunities.

Hopefully you’ve picked up an idea or two on how to get the most out of National Small Business Week. These important contributors to our economy and communities deserve to be celebrated.

“Key Small Business Statistics.” Industry Canada. N.p., N.d. Web. Retrieved 01 Feb. 2014.

Tice, Carol. “Three Ways to Celebrate National Small Business Week.” Entrepreneur. N.p., 16 May 2011. Web. Retrieved 21 Jan. 2014.

Kiisel, Ty. “Get Your Passport to Celebrate Small Business Week.” Forbes.com. N.p., 17 June 2013. Web. Retrieved 21 Jan. 2014.

Finding a Business Mentor” Find a Business Mentor | SBA.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 23 Jan. 2014.

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