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Allow Your Small Business Achievements to Be an Inspiration

If you own a small business and happen to have been born a Kardashian or have achieved superstar status in a variety of sports, chances are you have gained name recognition or fame across the United States.
But, alas, most small business owners, who would be sorely missed if their shops and services were suddenly to disappear from the American landscape, remain relatively unknown. Not heroes…even though their contribution to our communities is crucial to our way of life.

Small business owners tend to be, well, “too busy” to enter small business or entrepreneurial contests or write press releases and are often much more focused on branding their company to consumers and selling than in branding their personal community image as an inspiration to future entrepreneurs.

Unfortunately, as young people consider their life’s work and how they might like to make future contributions to society, careers as a basketball star, movie star… or even a political star are often much more appealing. Part of the reason is that our media keeps those kinds of stars in the headlines, but as well, those types work to keep themselves in the headlines!

Even if a small business owner has made their mark on the small business world, the act of promoting these achievements often resides a bit outside their comfort zone. Yet reviewing your business’s strengths and weaknesses often uncovers areas in need of improvement as well as strong points. What impact do you make on the community? Are you supporting the community through charities or with your time? How can you raise your profile, and thus your word of mouth standing in your community?

This discomfort of assessing and promoting must be overcome if we ever hope to elevate the honorable profession of small business owner in the eyes of future generations!

What promotional tools are out there? There are a variety of contests for good small business owners to enter and many success stories being written about them through Chambers of Commerce, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers and a variety of other sources, including newspaper business pages and small business specialty publications.

In the contest arena, I can assure you that your effort to prepare a nomination for your small business is needed more today than ever…I hope you will consider entering a small business contest in the coming year, if not for yourself and the publicity your business would receive, for our future generation of entrepreneurs. SBA’s National Small Business Week will take place May 12-16, 2014. You may wish to check out http://nationalsmallbusinessweek.sba.gov/ and read the nomination guidelines for our local and national awards. Our SBA-funded Small Business Development Centers have counselors who can help you fill out the nomination forms. You can locate an SBDC near you at www.sba.gov/sbdc.

You may not be recognized this year for your achievements, but even the exercise of nominating yourself will help you assess your small business on a whole new level.

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About Patricia Brown-Dixon

Patricia Brown‐Dixon was named Regional Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Region VII Office by SBA Administrator Karen Mills in January of 2011 as a Schedule C appointee of President Barack Obama. Previously Ms. Brown‐Dixon served in the federal government by helping small business owners as the Director of the Office of Business and…