Last week, Concur joined the celebration of Small Business Week Canada with BDC. Themed “Success Ahead, Mapping Your Future Growth,” the weeklong celebration offered a ton of information and networking opportunities for small business owners.
Here are some trends we spotted during Small Business Week on mapping your future growth:
Networking Is Key For Small Business Growth
Over 70% of the 1.2 million small businesses in Canada are operating with less than 100 employees, so networking is crucial for their growth. All of the small business owners we met have big plans for success. Professional events, like the ones held during Small Business Week, allow them to network with other small businesses and larger companies. The camaraderie during the events inspired everyone to help each other find new ways to grow themselves and their businesses, no matter their size.
This spirit of networking goes way beyond Small Business Week. Since Canada’s small businesses are a very close knit community, one person can introduce you to a whole new web of connections, all one has to do is ask the right strategic questions.
Participation In Social Is Key For Small Business Growth
Years ago, every small business owner was told that a website was a must have — the current "must" is social media. Sure a website will give your business an online presence, but with social engagement being tied so closely to search engine rankings, every small business needs to participate and engage on social platforms.
According to Sage’s Canadian Small Business Survey, only 53% of Canadian small businesses utilize social media for business purposes. That percentage will rise as customers continue to use social media to recommend and discuss products and services online. Social media allows businesses of all sizes to listen to and speak with their customers who are already talking about their brands online.
Business Cards Still Rule
Even with all of the talks around social media, the business card still rules when it comes to being social in person. During the small business events, we noticed that very few attendees used networking apps to exchange contact information — everyone we met had a business card.
However, the information on the card has changed. Today’s business card contains not only the basic company contact information but also social media links, hashtags and QR codes. Plus, business cards are becoming more personal, sometimes featuring the executive’s favorite activities outside work. For example, one card my co-worker received actually listed ‘Marathon Runner’ under the business title. In the past, you had to jot down a couple of quick points on the back of business cards to add a bit of personality and help jog your memory, but today’s cards are a step-up in both style and content.
Everyone Does Expense Reports
We spoke with a variety of companies, and one thing remained consistent — they all do expense reports. Everyone agreed they can be a pain to complete, both for employees and their managers. Check out our easy 5 step guide to fixing your expense reports and gain more valuable time to network, both online and in person to help your small business grow.