Small businesses (SMBs) are critical to the Canadian economy, and face the pressure of difficult workforce and economic decisions. It’s never been more important to support, build, and adapt local business infrastructures. Here’s how you can show support for SMBs by taking part in this year’s Small Business Week hosted by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).
For decades the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has hosted Small Business Week running from Oct. 16-22 this year to highlight the impact SMBs have on the economy, and celebrate the hard working people behind them.
In recent years, smaller companies were hit hard as crises radically changed demand for certain products and services across every sector. However, difficult times also introduced new opportunities for businesses to rethink traditional ways of working and operating models.
The future for small businesses looks optimistic, and especially given how historical trends have taken shape. According to Scotiabank's 2021 New Path to Impact Report, Canadian small businesses were performing better than expected. Despite ongoing uncertainty and rising case rates across Canadian provinces at the time, over half (54%) of small business owners feel they are doing the same or better than they were pre-pandemic.
The report also found 31% of black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) small business owners were seeing an improvement over their pre-pandemic performance, compared to 14% of non-BIPOC small business owners. To stay competitive during the pandemic, many BIPOC small business owners shifted their operations online and expanded their product offerings, which helped grow their customer base. These agile business practices cemented a mindset of growth that have continued to this day.
Small Business Week is a great time for entrepreneurs to come together to learn, network, and share their own stories about building business resiliency, and think about what’s possible for the years ahead. Here are several ways you can take part in and celebrate Small Business Week, whether you’re attending one of the Canada-wide events hosted by the BDC, your local Chamber of Commerce, or simply getting together to celebrate with your staff via a virtual event.
How to celebrate Canadian Small Business Week
Small Business Week is bringing 10,000 plus entrepreneurs and business owners together to attend virtual events, conferences, seminars, information sessions, and luncheons around Canada. Find out which events are happening near you.
In addition to attending a local BDC Small Business Week event, here are a few small business week ideas to celebrate and promote SMBs near you.
What business owners can do for Small Business Week
Small business owners have a lot going on. They’re focused on prioritizing business continuity, hiring the right talent to meet fluctuations in demand, and managing employee and customer needs. With everything happening, it can be difficult to pause and acknowledge the role SMBs play in the Canadian economy. This year it’s particularly important to take time to celebrate your employees and come together with other entrepreneurs to share lessons learned and advice for navigating the uncertain business environments.
1. Host a Small Business Week celebration
Acknowledge the contributions of your employees. Consider hosting a virtual team lunch or after work happy hour in honour of all the hard work your team puts in day in and day out. Your people help keep your business running and are the drivers of growth, which means you should never overlook their dedication.
Show your appreciation via a video posted on the company’s intranet, issuing points through an internal rewards and recognition program, or by mailing thank-you cards to employees. Recognizing your people is an essential part of keeping employees engaged and satisfied – especially if they’re working virtually or in different locations.
Related: Four ways to keep your small business employees engaged and happy
2. Thank those who support you
It’s also important to thank customers and other SMB owners that may have supported you and your business in the past. Share your appreciation via a video on your social channels to acknowledge your loyal following. Also consider including a thank-you note with purchase of a product or service to express your personal gratitude to customers. A message of appreciation will go a long way and can help to build brand loyalty.
3. Mentor an entrepreneur
Do you have lessons to share on building greater business resiliency or advice to help peers overcome adversity? Or are there things you wish you knew about running a business back when you were just starting up? Consider celebrating Small Business Week by sharing your knowledge with an up-and-coming entrepreneur, or one that may be struggling. Chances are someone else could benefit from your knowledge.
4. Invest in your people’s development
Help your people develop their skills by offering learning and development programs. This can include developing technical skills for a new technology or software program, or soft skills like managerial and leadership development. Another great way to invest in your people’s professional growth is providing opportunities to work on projects and tasks outside of an employee's current day-to-day responsibilities, helping your people grow so your business can, too.
5. Take time to reflect
While every business is different, it’s no secret that setbacks happen. Think about challenges you’ve faced recently. Are there any opportunities to improve on ways of working? How can you better support business continuity for future disruption? What new skills will your business need in the future? How are you supporting the development of your workforce? What inefficiencies can you reduce or eliminate? Are there any potential partnership opportunities available?
All of these questions and more will help guide your efforts toward an effective and sustainable business. And what better way to show small business appreciation than dedicating time to bettering your SMB?
6. Apply for awards and recognition
Share the success of other small businesses by celebrating accomplishments. A great way to do this is to nominate a small business for an award or recognition. The CanadianSME Business Awards, for example, was developed to raise awareness around the impact small businesses make on Canada’s economy. Awards can go a long way in inspiring business owners to continue working hard in growing their business, especially coming out of a tumultuous time.
Related: Five ways to save time on payroll
What members of the community can do during Small Business Week
Small business appreciation isn’t limited to business owners and employees. The entire community can join the festivities. If you’re exploring small business week ideas for celebration as an outsider, try a few of these activities.
1. Shop local
Encouragement to shop local is coming from all over, and there’s no better time to do it than Small Business Week. Stroll through your local downtown or plan a shopping trip to a small business near you and show your support. If you don’t have the time to get out and about, there are other ways to show support other than shopping in physical stores. Try purchasing items online for delivery and be a digital patron to show your small business appreciation.
2. Tell a friend about a local small business you believe in
There is power in a referral, and a small business will thank you for it. Spread the word and commit to telling a friend about a small business owners’ great customer service, a unique local product, or reputable service. Better yet, bring your friend along to a local business and show them what all the hype is about.
3. Engage small businesses online
Small business week is the perfect time to promote local shops on your socials. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok – no matter where you post content online, you can give meaningful support to a small business near you with a comment, mention, photo, or video. You can also support your favourite SMBs by writing a positive online review on Google or Yelp.
We only get seven days each year to celebrate and prioritize the small businesses around us – let’s make the most of it. Whether you’re a small business owner or local shopper, you have a part to play in the week-long festivities.
Ceridian is pleased to commemorate this year’s event and celebrate small businesses this week and all year round. We’re also proud to create meaningful resources for small business owners nation-wide. Check out a few of our featured webinars, blogs, and customer stories below.
Resources for small businesses:
- BDC: Stories of resilience from other business owners
- [2021 Webinar] Return to work considerations, the approaches, and related legal matters
- [2020 Webinar] Work from home: Key legal considerations for employers
- [Customer story] Intellio takes client care to the next level
- [Customer story] Aldex Chemical rises from the ashes
- [Customer story] Tara Natural Foods keeps its business healthy with Powerpay
- [Blog] Three tips for starting a small business
- [Blog] Better small-business lending options are out there: Meet open banking
- [Blog] Inside the mind of a resilient organization
- [Blog] Small business continuity planning: Lessons learned from COVID-19
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