Small Business Week
By Andrea H. Reay
Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce
Our Chamber of Commerce is proud to celebrate “Small Business Week” with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Since 1963, the president of the United States has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week.
While we love celebrating Small Business Week, it’s important for us to note that every week is Small Business Week for our Chamber. Our work, programs, resources and services are all geared towards helping small Business Owners succeed. We focus on helping small business owners because we know supporting locally owned small businesses helps power our local economy and helps build vibrant communities.
According to the SBA, here in Washington State 560,000 small businesses account for 98% of all the state’s businesses. Also, over 20% of our state’s workforce is employed by businesses with fewer than 20 employees. Supporting small businesses is both good for our economy and good for our communities. When you shop locally over 68% of your purchase goes back into our local economy vs 43% when you don’t shop local.
What are we doing specifically to help small business owners succeed? Here are a few of the opportunities and resources we provide to help our members succeed:
- Marketing and promotion – small business owners are constantly being “sold” the latest and greatest gimmick for advertising and reaching more and new customers. At the Chamber we focus on providing evidence based, tested and quantifiable opportunities for businesses to reach new customers and keep their current customers engaged. One of the programs we have promoted this year is the Seattle Southside RTA’s “Do more, save more” program. It’s an online app that encourages those visiting our communities to visit our local businesses. That is just one example of the FREE marketing and promotion opportunities we champion here at the Chamber.
- Networking – It’s no secret that relationships matter-in life and in business. Our Chamber presents 3 events every month for our business community to gather, learn, and grow their business and personal network. Your network is your net worth-build it.
- Advocacy – supporting and encouraging a healthy environment that encourages entrepreneurship is a large focus for our Government Affairs Committee. There is a common misconception that if a policy or activity is good for business, then it’s bad for the community. It’s unfortunate that perception persists. The bottom line is that all policy decisions and actions create consequences-some intended and perhaps some unintended. Our responsibility as advocates is to review and promote policy actions that support and encourage economic and community development. The best economic development policies are focused on the community. These concepts are not mutually exclusive, and we work hard to keep our membership and community informed so that they can make educated and balanced decisions.
Of course, we also provide education and resources for our small business owners on best practices and current market trends. In fact, we’re hosting an event next Friday May 11th at our office. Chamber member, All Things HR Inc., will be leading a workshop on managing employee absenteeism, which can be tricky when trying to navigate Washington State’s new Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law. We invite all small business owners with questions about how to navigate this new law to come learn with us. Please visit http://www.seattlesouthsidechamber.com/events/details/lunch-learn-with-all-things-hr-1034 for more information and to register or call our office during normal business hours (206) 575-1633 and we’ll be happy to get you registered over the phone.
Thank you to all our brave and intrepid small business owners. Your courage and passion fuels our organization to work hard for you, with you and for the benefit of our community. We salute you this week and every week.
Andrea H. Reay is the President/CEO of Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce – “A voice for business, a leader in the community.” Seattle Southside Chamber has served the communities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac and Tukwila since 1988.
For more information on the Chamber, including member benefits and resources, please visit www.SeattleSouthsideChamber.com.