Yesterday marked the beginning of National Small Business Week, which since 1963, has been recognizing the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. In conjunction with the Small Business Administration (SBA) Microsoft is hosting its National Small Business Week activities, which began yesterday at its Redmond Campus.Since I wasn’t able to attend live, I instead streamed the event from my home office (see photo), while I worked and listened concurrently. The event kicked off at 9 am PST with Calvin Goings, Regional Administrator, SBA, serving as the event’s Emcee. The welcome message was given by Alex Fong, Microsoft’s Senior Director Alternative Channels; a video message was also presented by U.S. Senator Patty Murray.
The event’s keynote speaker was Lee Rhodes, Founder, glassybaby, which made way for an armchair interview with Cindy Bates, vice president of the U.S. Small and Medium Sized Businesses (SMB) organization at Microsoft Corp, Joe Koreis, President and CEO, Clarus Fluid Intelligence, LLC and Karen Mills, SBA Administrator.
Following the Cindy Bates interview, I viewed two panel discussions; the first discussed Seattle's Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, which was moderated by Larry Spelhaug, Greater Seattle SCORE, followed by the “Growing and Going Global” Panel, moderated by Terry Chambers, Small Business Development Center, International Trade, Export Readiness Center.
In a blog post yesterday by Microsoft’s Stephen Bury, he discussed National Small Business Week, as well as how the success of a small business not only requires careful planning and execution, but also daily decisions, such as the use of technology. The company noted how many small businesses are increasingly adding Microsoft Office 365 when it comes time to decide on internal processes involving technology.
One such company is FLO Wine, which uses Office 365 to send email and share files while also staying on top of tasks like organizing corporate information, tracking store sales and hosting a shared calendar. With the shared calendar in Office 365, FLO Wine can maximize promotional activities by coordinating schedules the company. Without adding IT infrastructure, the winemaker now has the technology it needs to compete with larger wine companies.
Aside from Microsoft pulling all the stops to mark National Small Business Week, we also heard from other industry companies that are celebrating with various offers and announcements. Phone.com told us yesterday that in honor of this special week they are offering a free second phone number promotion for small businesses.
Available to new customers for a limited time, the second number - commonly used for toll-free or fax lines - is one of the company’s most requested features. To redeem the free second phone number offer, enter coupon code NSBW during sign up or call Phone.com at: 1-800-998-7087, and mention the code NSBW.
Also, the trade organization known as the CA Security Council released yesterday five tips for SMBs to Help Secure Their Online Presence. By implementing these simple steps, SMBs can build trust and loyalty by ensuring their website is safe to visit, search, enter personal information, or complete a transaction. Click here to learn more about these tips.
For those interested in attending the SBA’s event series this week, whether live or in person, I would strongly suggest that you partake. Even if you can’t make it out to one of the live locations this week, definitely take advantage of the live streaming sessions as I did yesterday.