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. You can show your appreciation for small business 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. This year the event runs from Oct. 15-21 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 with Scotiabank's 2022 Path to Impact Report, the current state of Canadian small businesses is reported to be 42% better, compared to two years ago. The report also found that black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) small business owners reported doing 51% better than previous years. These improvements are partly associated with an increase in small business owners investing in strategic financial advice and business support. These agile business practices cemented a growth mindset that’s 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 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 sharing your small business appreciation and celebrating with your staff.
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.
In addition to attending a local BDC Small Business Week event, here are a few small business week ideas to celebrate and promote your local SMBs.
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. It’s important to take time to celebrate your employees and connect with other entrepreneurs to share lessons learned and advice for navigating what’s ahead.
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. 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.
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. Tip: The more personalized you make those appreciation notes, the more impactful they are!
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 starting up? Consider celebrating Small Business Week by sharing your knowledge with an emerging 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 daily responsibilities. This helps 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 these questions 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 an SMB for an award or recognition. The Canadian SME 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 on growing their business.
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 in 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 locally 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 to show your support. If you don’t have time to get out and about, there are other ways to show your small business appreciation other than buying from physical stores — like shopping online.
2. Refer your friends and family to your favourite small business
There is power in a referral, and a small business will thank you for it. Spread the word by 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 social channels. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok – no matter where you post content online, you can give meaningful support to a small business with a comment, mention, photo, or video. You can also support your favourite SMBs by writing a positive online review on Google or Yelp.
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 all small businesses this week and all year round, including our 47,000 small business customers. We’re also proud to create meaningful resources for small business owners nationwide. Check out a few of our featured webinars, blogs, and customer stories below.
Resources for small businesses: