Now that the 2012 Small Business Influencer Awards\u00a0voting has drawn to a close, we\u2019d 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\u00a0their contributions to the small business market. The Small Business Influencer Awards media partners are all small businesses like you. \u00a0They offer products and services that help small businesses succeed. \u00a0Below, is a series of short interviews that I conducted with several of the media partners. Let\u2019s get to know these small businesses and hear from the voices behind the scenes. * * * * * Manhattan Chamber of Commerce This membership organization is comprised of 10,000 members and subscribers representing more than 100,000 companies in Manhattan. The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce\u2019s 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. \u00a0Vice 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: \u00a0How does Manhattan Chamber of Commerce help small businesses? Laura Bucko: \u00a0We 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\u2019 base of contacts. Small Business Trends: \u00a0What was the last business book you read? What did you like about it? Laura Bucko: \u00a0Outliers 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: \u00a0What's your favorite quote that you apply to your business? Laura Bucko: \u00a0I was going to go with, \u201cnever ever ever give up\u201d from Winston Churchill, but then found another lesser known quote by him:\u00a0"The pessimist sees the problems in every opportunity. Whereas the optimist sees the opportunity in every problem." * * * * * BizLaunch Canadian-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. \u00a0Bizlaunch 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: \u00a0Can you tell us something completely surprising about your company? Andrew Patricio: \u00a0We have trained business owners in 18 countries. Small Business Trends: \u00a0What was the last business book you read? What did you like about it? Andrew Patricio: \u00a0The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. The book teaches how to develop good habits for you and your employees. Small Business Trends: \u00a0What\u2019s your favorite social media channel and why? Andrew Patricio: \u00a0LinkedIn. I like that it's focused on business. It\u2019s useful to connect with buyers, and I enjoy the groups. * * * * * Your Virtual Assistant Michelle Mangen applies her knowledge of accounting, social media, and payroll to help small business owners be more productive through her firm,\u00a0Your Virtual Assistant. Mangen is based in Florida, but services clients all over the country. \u00a0She 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:\u00a0What\u2019s your top tip for small business owners today? Michelle Mangen:\u00a0My 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:\u00a0If you were stuck on a desert island\u00a0with\u00a0Internet, what would be the single app or website you couldn\u2019t live without? Michelle Mangen:\u00a0For me that would be Basecamp. Since most of the tasks I receive from clients are through email it\u2019s 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:\u00a0What role does social media play in marketing your business? Michelle Mangen:\u00a0Both very little and a lot. Twitter has always been my favorite social network and the one I spend the most time on. I don\u2019t really \u201cmarket\u201d 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\u2019ve never been the self-promotion type (it makes me uncomfortable) which is why I really don\u2019t do any marketing. I\u2019ve also been incredibly blessed with \u201cword of mouth\u201d referrals. * * * * * MyVenturePad MyVenturePad, a crowdsourced content community owned by\u00a0Social 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. \u00a0Robin Carey, CEO of MyVenturePad, shares her insight for small business: Small Business Trends:\u00a0What\u2019s your top tip for small business owners today? Robin Carey:\u00a0Be prepared to change your model at any time. Small Business Trends:\u00a0What\u2019s one thing you never skimp on in your business? Robin Carey:\u00a0Customer attention. Small Business Trends:\u00a0If you could have one small biz superhero power, what would it be? Robin Carey:\u00a0A great night's sleep. * * * * * Hawkeye Management Hawkeye Management\u00a0provides 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. \u00a0Tom Gazaway, President and CEO of Hawkeye Management, shares his insights: Small Business Trends:\u00a0What\u2019s one thing you never skimp on in your business? Tom Gazaway:\u00a0Our brand. Don\u2019t have a crappy logo, don\u2019t put out bad content, don\u2019t have bad business cards or a bad website.\u00a0 Do it right or don\u2019t do it.\u00a0 There are a lot of things we may be ready for, but we won\u2019t do it if we can\u2019t do it well.\u00a0 That doesn\u2019t mean you won\u2019t make mistakes, but shoot for perfection and settle for excellence. Small Business Trends:\u00a0What role does social media play in marketing your business? Tom Gazaway:\u00a0It\u2019s integral.\u00a0 We use tools like Hubspot, TweetDeck and Vocus to make our social media efforts more effective, efficient and measurable but you\u2019re not a pioneer if you get on Twitter.\u00a0 You\u2019re a dinosaur if you\u2019re not there. Small Business Trends:\u00a0If you could have one small biz superhero power, what would it be? Tom Gazaway:\u00a0I\u2019m 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. \u00a0So passion can make up for a lot of things. * * * * * Research Access For those with a passion for research,\u00a0Research Access\u00a0is the blog to read. It's the effort of\u00a0Survey 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. \u00a0Dana Stanley, VP of Marketing for Survey Analytics, answers our questions: Small Business Trends: What\u2019s your top tip for small business owners today? Dana Stanley:\u00a0You 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\u00a0with\u00a0internet, what would be the single app or website you couldn\u2019t live without? Dana Stanley:\u00a0Market researchers love information, so I\u2019m going to have to go with Wikipedia. Not only does it have a shocking level of detail, it\u2019s also updated seemingly to the minute on current events. Small Business Trends:\u00a0If you could have one small biz superhero power, what would it be? Dana Stanley:\u00a0As market researchers we\u2019re obsessed with understanding the way customers think. So my small biz superhero power would be having the ability to read minds. * * * * * This article is part of a series highlighting key players in the\u00a0Small Business Influencer Awards.