October 25, 2014

From Behind The Scenes: SMBInfluencer Media Partner Interviews

Now that the 2012 Small Business Influencer Awards voting has drawn to a close, we’d like to highlight a few of the media partners who supported the event.

The awards give much-deserved recognition to businesses, organizations, apps and people who have made an influencial impact with their contributions to the small business market.

The Small Business Influencer Awards media partners are all small businesses like you.  They offer products and services that help small businesses succeed.  Below, is a series of short interviews that I conducted with several of the media partners.

Let’s get to know these small businesses and hear from the voices behind the scenes.

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Manhattan Chamber of Commerce

Manhattan Chamber of CommerceThis membership organization is comprised of 10,000 members and subscribers representing more than 100,000 companies in Manhattan. The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce’s members are part of one of the largest constituencies in the country, representing approximately 1.6 million US employees and approximately 4.5 million employees globally.  Vice President and Director of Communications, Laura Bucko, shares a bit more about both the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and her own passion for small business:

Small Business Trends:  How does Manhattan Chamber of Commerce help small businesses?

Laura Bucko:  We advocate on behalf of the business community, educate our member businesses about current trends and provide networking opportunities to find clients, partners and grow our members’ base of contacts.

Small Business Trends:  What was the last business book you read? What did you like about it?

Laura Bucko:  Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I liked how it showed how outside random circumstances can influence our success and how, with a few small changes, we can create more opportunities for success for all.

Small Business Trends:  What’s your favorite quote that you apply to your business?

Laura Bucko:  I was going to go with, “never ever ever give up” from Winston Churchill, but then found another lesser known quote by him: “The pessimist sees the problems in every opportunity. Whereas the optimist sees the opportunity in every problem.”

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BizLaunch

BizLaunchCanadian-based BizLaunch provides small business owners with free educational webinars, seminars, content and templates. BizLaunch has worked with Fortune 500 companies to improve their brand presence with over 100,000 entrepreneurs by providing high quality webinars, seminars, marketing content and training.  Bizlaunch Founder, Andrew Patricio, has started seven businesses, authored two books, and is an internationally recognized small business expert who has delivered over 100 key note speeches all over the world:

Small Business Trends:  Can you tell us something completely surprising about your company?

Andrew Patricio:  We have trained business owners in 18 countries.

Small Business Trends:  What was the last business book you read? What did you like about it?

Andrew Patricio:  The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. The book teaches how to develop good habits for you and your employees.

Small Business Trends:  What’s your favorite social media channel and why?

Andrew Patricio:  LinkedIn. I like that it’s focused on business. It’s useful to connect with buyers, and I enjoy the groups.

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Your Virtual Assistant

Your Virtual AssistantMichelle Mangen applies her knowledge of accounting, social media, and payroll to help small business owners be more productive through her firm, Your Virtual Assistant. Mangen is based in Florida, but services clients all over the country.  She specializes in WordPress services, QuickBooks, social media management, administration services, and Excel spreadsheet creation. She strives to help business owners get more hours in the day by delegating tasks she can assist with:

Small Business Trends: What’s your top tip for small business owners today?

Michelle Mangen: My top tip would be that we have to stay current in our industry in order to remain knowledgeable and competitive. Maybe this means taking some classes, reading certain material, etc. Building relationships is also important as well, especially if you are a solo-preneur.

Small Business Trends: If you were stuck on a desert island with Internet, what would be the single app or website you couldn’t live without?

Michelle Mangen: For me that would be Basecamp. Since most of the tasks I receive from clients are through email it’s important for me to have some system that makes it easy to record items that need follow up. Basecamp allows me to assign tasks out to other team members and the threaded conversations makes it easy to keep everything together (and tidy).

Small Business Trends: What role does social media play in marketing your business?

Michelle Mangen: Both very little and a lot. Twitter has always been my favorite social network and the one I spend the most time on. I don’t really “market” my business per se but have gotten the majority of my client base as a direct result of a relationship that developed on Twitter. I’ve never been the self-promotion type (it makes me uncomfortable) which is why I really don’t do any marketing. I’ve also been incredibly blessed with “word of mouth” referrals.

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MyVenturePad

MyVenturePadMyVenturePad, a crowdsourced content community owned by Social Media Today, focuses on topics relating to venture funding and growth. The site offers blog posts, webinars, and podcasts on subjects like raising capital, startups, and technology.  Robin Carey, CEO of MyVenturePad, shares her insight for small business:

Small Business Trends: What’s your top tip for small business owners today?

Robin Carey: Be prepared to change your model at any time.

Small Business Trends: What’s one thing you never skimp on in your business?

Robin Carey: Customer attention.

Small Business Trends: If you could have one small biz superhero power, what would it be?

Robin Carey: A great night’s sleep.

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Hawkeye Management

Hawkeye ManagementHawkeye Management provides lines of credit to small businesses of $50,000 to $100,000 or more. The company prides itself on its track record: to date, 70% of the business owners who apply for unsecured business credit through Hawkeye have been approved. With an industry average of only 10%, Hawkeye stands out in its ability to connect business owners with the right lenders.  Tom Gazaway, President and CEO of Hawkeye Management, shares his insights:

Small Business Trends: What’s one thing you never skimp on in your business?

Tom Gazaway: Our brand. Don’t have a crappy logo, don’t put out bad content, don’t have bad business cards or a bad website.  Do it right or don’t do it.  There are a lot of things we may be ready for, but we won’t do it if we can’t do it well.  That doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes, but shoot for perfection and settle for excellence.

Small Business Trends: What role does social media play in marketing your business?

Tom Gazaway: It’s integral.  We use tools like Hubspot, TweetDeck and Vocus to make our social media efforts more effective, efficient and measurable but you’re not a pioneer if you get on Twitter.  You’re a dinosaur if you’re not there.

Small Business Trends: If you could have one small biz superhero power, what would it be?

Tom Gazaway: I’m rarely and probably never the most talented, most gifted, or smartest guy in any audience but I have an unquenchable thirst to be better, grow our brand, and shake up the market.  So passion can make up for a lot of things.

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Research Access

Research AccessFor those with a passion for research, Research Access is the blog to read. It’s the effort of Survey Analytics, which offers an enterprise grade research platform for collecting feedback to enable businesses, governments and consumers to participate and learn from each other. This blog, however, focuses on helping business people who are tasked with marketing research and includes videos, podcasts, and how-to posts on surveys, data tools, and analysis.  Dana Stanley, VP of Marketing for Survey Analytics, answers our questions:
Small Business Trends: What’s your top tip for small business owners today?

Dana Stanley: You may think market research is out of your budget, but technology has made it easier than ever to affordably get market feedback before making major business decisions. It can be inexpensive to do online surveys and get feedback on your products and services prior to investing your money and time in launching them. A small investment in research can pay off big.

Small Business Trends: If you were stuck on a desert island with internet, what would be the single app or website you couldn’t live without?

Dana Stanley: Market researchers love information, so I’m going to have to go with Wikipedia. Not only does it have a shocking level of detail, it’s also updated seemingly to the minute on current events.

Small Business Trends: If you could have one small biz superhero power, what would it be?

Dana Stanley: As market researchers we’re obsessed with understanding the way customers think. So my small biz superhero power would be having the ability to read minds.

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This article is part of a series highlighting key players in the Small Business Influencer Awards.

1 Comment ▼

Susan Payton - Awards Communication Mgr.


Susan Payton Susan Payton is the Communications Manager for the Small Business Trends Awards programs. She is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in content marketing, social media management and press releases. She is also the Founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners who want to generate their own PR.

One Reaction

  1. Great to see so much support from the sponsors!

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