Small Business Influencers: Please Nominate!

Would you like to help choose the top 100 Small Business Influencers of 2011?  Perhaps you’d like to be one?  Or have your company be one?

I am thrilled to announce our latest initiative  in partnership with  It’s called Small Business Influencer 2011.

In it we are honoring the people and organizations that are influential and important to small businesses.  And nominations are now open.  The following FAQs give more information:

Q: Who can be nominated?

Nominees have to fit into one of 5 categories:

  • Leaders (executives, academics, government officials, or key employees who are part of companies or other organizations serving the small business market)
  • Corporations (companies that provide products and services to the small business market, and non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and advocacy and support organizations)
  • Journalists (individual journalists, reporters, editors, broadcasters, bloggers, podcasters, freelance writers)
  • News Outlets (media companies, newspapers, magazines, broadcasting companies)
  • Gurus (mavens, authors, speakers, consultants, advocates, professionals such as lawyers or CPAs)

Nominations are subject to editorial review (hey, we have to keep out spam).  We also will make sure the nominees meet the minimum criteria as positively impacting hundreds (or more) small businesses.  But other than that, nominations are completely open.

Q: How many nominees do you expect?

That depends on YOU, actually.  It all depends on how many people and organizations are nominated by the community.  As of this writing, there are 107 nominees, with a few more on deck waiting to be reviewed.  We expect about 500 to be nominated but we’re ahead of  where we expected to be at this point.  So it could be more.  It’s only limited by the size of our database, and that can accommodate thousands of nominees.

Each nominee gets an entry in our Small Business Influencer website.  We intend to leave the website up indefinitely.  It’s an honor to be nominated.

Q: I Can I nominate myself?

Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to nominate yourself or your company.  If you are in doubt, just go ahead and nominate.

Q: How will the top 100 be chosen?

The community (people like you) will get to vote once a day, for a period of 30 days, starting in July.  The community vote will count for 40%.  Then we have a Judging panel whose vote will count for 60%.

The top 100 will be honored online and also invited to attend an in-person awards event in New York City on September 13, 2011.

Q: Who’s behind this?

This is a joint initiative of and Small Business Trends.  Ramon Ray of and I have been kicking around this idea for over 18 months now.   We’ve wanted for a long time now to honor those who tirelessly support small businesses with their products, services, advice, guidance and encouragement.  We’re delighted to finally give them the recognition they deserve.

But most importantly, we want to point out BlackBerry.  BlackBerry’s support makes this initiative possible.  BlackBerry rocks!  Keep an eye out — we’ll be holding a contest giving away some BlackBerry Playbooks (pictured right) very soon….

And thanks to our media partners who have agreed to help spread the word:  BizTech; SmallBizLady;; and It’sYourBiz.

Q: Who are the Judges?

We’ve enlisted a panel of judges with deep and wide knowledge in the small business market — everything from franchising to angel investing to technology to marketing.  The Judges are familiar with the people, companies, products and services serving the small business market.  And we also looked specifically for people who are independent and not tied too closely to any particular organizations or individuals who might be nominated.  (Judges will, however, recuse themselves from voting on any nominee in which they have a financial interest.)

The Judges are:   Barry MoltzBrent Leary;  Edith Yeung;  Joel Libava;  Ivana Taylor;  John Warrillow; Jim Blasingame; Ramon Ray; and Anita Campbell (me).

Q: Where do I find out more?

Visit the Small Business Influencer website to see an overview.  Or read the full rules.  And please — help spread the word.   Tweet about it on Twitter, using the hashtag #SMBinfluencer.

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.