How Running a Small Business Has Changed: Recap

Last week on July 9, we brought together oodles of small biz people (together with BlackBerry and  for an online chat on Twitter, netting almost 1,000 tweets and retweets before, during and after the chat using the chat hashtag of #BBSMBchat.

We’ve put together this recap in case you missed it, with some key answers to 8 questions asked during the chat.  The questions and a small number of selected answers are below.

chit chat twitter bird

1. How are the challenges of starting a new business now different than they were ten years ago?

  • “Information moves so fast and the net makes us all more dependent and connected to each other.” ~ @ramonray
  • “Startup funding is tighter.” ~ @karenlinder
  • “You can run a business virtually now – no need for high overhead.” ~ @aMaryica
  • “Easier to get into business because of the information available. With competition & the current economy harder to stay in business.” ~ @HowardLewinter
  • “Global competition for some markets.” ~ @m4bmarketing

2. Who are some of the people and organizations that provide good advice to help your small business that you follow on Twitter?

  • “@NFIB, @Entrepreneur, @INCmag @smallbiztrends @openforum and many more.” ~ @gflorence77
  • “SEOchat has been helpful.  Also @justincutroni @avinash @TAanderud @TJMcCue” ~ @ZimanaAnalytics
  • “Surround yourself with smart people. Look at @DIYMarketers & @strategystew and @smallbiztrends.” ~ @HowardLewinter
  •  “I like @LisaBarone – neat tweets – and I pick up much from the @AllAnalytics @Digital_Draw communities.” ~ @ZimanaAnalytics
  • “Another great #smallbiz mind is @HowardLewinter. I consider him to be an excellent and needed resource for my company!” ~ @brianmoran

3. What influences small businesses the most today?  Was it the same ten years ago?

  • “I think customers have more influence on #SMBs thanks to social media.” ~ @Ileane
  • “SMBs are influenced by global markets more today than in the past because we are more aware due to the Internet.” ~ @BasicBlogTips
  • “Customers have the POWER so leverage it – don’t fight it.” ~ @ramonray
  • “SMBs just have so much more information. About their markets, their customers, their competitors.” ~ @robert_brady

4. How has social media evolved the small business space?

  • “Social media makes the world smaller, more accessible and at the same time easy to reach many.” ~ @DeborahShane
  • “#Smallbiz always had an advantage – connectability Social media let’s us stretch that connection past the in-store experience.” ~ @KyleBellingar
  • “Social media allows you to connect instantly with your customers and food trucks are a great example of putting it to work.” ~ @gflorence77
  • “Social media so widely accepted, even fantastic for localized ad campaigns, so easy to spread the word fast!” ~ @TheAndrewWatson

5. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is about to start their own small business?

  • “Bootstrap it!” ~ @DIYMarketers
  • “Focus on sales and revenue.” ~ @TJMcCue
  • “I would tell people to always expect delays and overruns in the beginning. Budget for that!” ~ @TheAndrewWatson
  • “Never assume you know it all. You never will.” ~ @eggmarketing
  • “No matter how good the idea, if your start-up runs out of cash, your idea remains just an IDEA. #cashflow” ~ @umaInvests
  • “Patience is still a virtue. Love and kindness are precious. Plan, act, monitor, change; and don’t sweat the money.” ~ @dynamicnet
  • “Keep your business focused. Lack of focus sinks so many businesses. Avoid going in 100 directions.” ~ @rajmalikdc

6. Is it harder or easier to keep up with emerging trends in small business than it was ten years ago and why?

  • “It is SO HARD to keep up with trends in #smallbiz – the barriers to entry are so low.” ~ @ramonray
  • “Big challenge for small biz is sustainability with media and messaging. People lose interest in it. Hard to stay motivated.” ~ @DeborahShane
  • “Easier as long as you know which trends are important for your biz.” ~ @m4bmarketing
  • “Employee turnover happens much quicker so it’s harder to keep trained staff on board.” ~ @BasicBlogTips
  • “Easier to learn about technology trends due to an abundance of news resources, but harder to know which ones to implement.” ~ @PhilipNowak
  • “It’s easier to keep up on the trends but keeping up on all of social media is time consuming.” ~  ?@NuThreadz

7. How has the Internet changed the way you stay updated about small business and your industry?  What sources do you get news from?

  • “It changes everyone. New thinking. Better time management. Connected to biz world. @WSJ @Marketwatch @smallbiztrends.” ~ @HowardLewinter
  • “Mobile devices enable us to get important news and info in REAL TIME.” ~ @ramonray
  • “70% of my daily news comes from the Internet.” ~ @karenlinder
  • “Internet + mobile = speed, viral, immediate, real time, NOW! That’s what we want and expect! Twitter is stronger than ever now!” ~ @DeborahShane
  • “My business is the Internet and small business. I have to research many tech and business avenues to stay on top of it all.” ~ @KyleBellingar

8. Who do you consider to be a small business legend?  Alternatively, do you know of any emerging and promising fresh faces?

  • “I think Michael Gerber and eMyth are legends for sure.” ~ @ramonray
  • “@JimBlasingame is a living legend with the small business advocate.” ~ @Lyceum
  • “Richard Branson is a small business legend. Over 400 businesses in the Virgin empire!” ~ @PhilipNowak
  • “I know so many SMB legends, but one is @TimBerry, the father of business plan software.” ~ @smallbiztrends
  • “Inc Mag’s @NormBrodsky = small biz legend.” ~ @rajmalikdc
  • “I really like Rob Walling and his stuff for entrepreneurs.” ~ @TJMcCue

Thank you to all who participated, and if you didn’t get a chance to drop in, please join us for a future chat!  It’s fun and informative, and you make friends and raise your social profile in the process.

For another recap of the chat, see the post on the BlackBerry blog.

Many thanks to BlackBerry (@BlackBerry4Biz) for hosting this chat along with guest of honor, Ramon Ray (@RamonRay), Editor and Technology Evangelist at SmallBizTechnology, and yours truly, Anita Campbell (@Smallbiztrends).  Please note that this is not a full transcript but a selection of representative tweets. Tweets have had hashtags and other repetitive information removed for ease of reading.

BlackBerry is also the title sponsor for the Small Business Influencer Awards. Voting commenced on July 16th, 2012.

Tweet Bird Photo via Shutterstock


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

6 Reactions
  1. Martin Lindeskog

    Anita: Great recap and coverage of the Twitter chat. Thanks for including my tweet (Q & A #8):

    “@JimBlasingame is a living legend with the small business advocate.” ~ @Lyceum

    I look forward to the next chat! 🙂

  2. These are all really great questions to be asking…especially as we are moving into new territory with mobile marketing launching off like a rocket. It will be interesting to see what the current business climate will look like 6 months from now.

  3. Thanks for this, since I missed it. I look forward to following some of these users on twitter as well!

  4. Wow. Just saw this. Very awesome. I was at the Small Biz Infuencer Awards too and thought it was terrific and inspiring. I love this recap and wonder if I can repost on my blog:
    My readers are owners of small businesses and this info is valuable.