I don’t remember a time when my mom wasn’t exploring a new small business idea. She raised me to be self-sufficient and see the beauty in truly creative ideas, especially those that could be turned into a business plan. One of her absolute joys was being her own boss and she went after her dream, owning a farm, a cleaning business, and finally a successful craft store.
There’s one thing, however, that I know she could have benefitted from in those early years: a community of small business owners, like herself, to learn from and lean on. That’s why I was so honored recently to be part of Elevate NW, a Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce conference dedicated to just that—creating community for SMBs.
From left: Beto Yarce of Ventures, Tony Philips of BECU and Erika Schmidt of Sappington, together with Christal Bemont, served as guest speakers at the Elevate NW Conference in Seattle recently. Courtesy Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
For business owners, especially SMBs, the power of community is everything. They get you. They understand the struggles and joys you get from the first time you open your physical or virtual doors to when you’re stuck on what seems like an impossible problem. There’s nothing like sitting down over coffee with someone who truly understands what you’re going through. They get what it takes to run a successful SMB.
As a guest panelist at Elevate, I couldn’t help but emphasize the power of community with our audience of small business owners because together we empower each other to make better decisions. At SAP Concur, we encourage our clients to network and share knowledge. To help facilitate this, each year we host a SMB customer lounge at our user conference Fusion.
And we’re taking the power of community even further by connecting our hundreds of SMB customers in a way that they’re able to help each other grow and stay financially viable. That means they’ll be just as powerful together when compared to the largest companies in the world. Stay tuned for more on this!
There’s also so many free and inexpensive opportunities out there to find SMB colleagues and friends. Join online communities, your local chamber and user groups – find what works for you and just get out there!
Mom’s retired now but I know she would have leapt at the opportunity to harness the power of community for the same reasons SMBs should today – to keep a pulse on what’s around the corner. There’s no better way to do that than with amazing SMB friends.