Manage Risk and Growth with Small Businesses – National Small Business Week

An extremely large influence for sustaining economic growth and encouraging creative problem solving lies within small/medium sized businesses (SMB). In the U.S., approximately two out of three jobs created in 2014 were within small/medium-sized businesses. To continue and prolong this enthusiasm for small, hardworking firms, the Small Business Administration (SBA) formed to provide itself as an ideal resource for the SMB community. Along with their extensive collection of resources online, they also organize events that celebrate the SMB community such as National Small Business Week (NSBW), which has begun this week!

The Small Business Administration has delivered millions of loans, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses since 1958.

To get a great perspective of successful SMB companies, we must understand what it is that they do differently during the developmental stages of managing a business and how they assess risk appropriately. Every year during NSBW, the most successful SMB’s and executives of the year are selected from each state and U.S. territory in which on of those selected will ultimately be selected for National Small Business Person of the Year.

We’ve had the special opportunity to receive an in-depth look at some of the nominees from recent years in the past by asking them a few questions regarding how they stood out among other companies and different ways they manage risk and security.

Three SMB’s that were able to successfully harness the importance of these values are as followed:

TribalVision based in Boston, MA.
TribalVision based in Boston, Massachusetts .

As an outsourced marketing department for hire, TrivalVision‘s mission is to help companies grow. TribalVision’s unique marketing model is designed to fully align interests with client outcomes – guaranteeing an objective, client-first partnership listing organizations to higher grounds.

AE Works from Pittsburgh, PA.
AE Works from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

AE Works exists to create a world where everyone is relevant. An architectural and engineering firm, our product is buildings, spaces, and systems – all designed by people for people to enable others to do what they do better while working to improve our collective world.

Strider Sports Intl., Inc. from Rapid City, South Dakota.
Strider Sports Intl., Inc. from Rapid City, South Dakota.

Strider® Bikes is a sophisticated and customer oriented manufacturer creating lightweight, efficient, all-terrain bikes that build two-wheeled balance, coordination, and confidence in children.

Development and Milestones

When discussing ways to achieve developmental milestones and suggestions for other companies on how to accomplish similar achievements, different advice and different perceptions were identified:

Strider: “If you stop the development of your company with just the product itself, somebody will surely copy it and take it all away from you. You have to continue to develop and perfect every aspect of your business… the best product, the best customer service, the best marketing, the best sales people, the best social media, the best follow-up after the sale, the best technology for connecting to customers.”

AE Works: “Focus on your values and vision. Creating a company, one whose values are actionable and whose vision serves a higher purpose feeds people’s need to understand the purpose their work plays in realizing the larger company vision. Enabling team alignment and a strong internal culture, a focus on values and vision helps people find meaning in their contribution to achieving company vision.”

TribalVision: “Short term approaches; use a brick by brick strategy in order to continue push forward with what’s in front of you by keeping existing clients thrilled with our work, trying build the next foundational piece – the next client to service – and look directly in front of you rather than trying to conquer the world.”

Prioritizing – Risk Management

When prioritization and risk management is discussed, each specific strategy corresponds similarly to how each organization manages their success. Risk management and proper prioritization is such a vital component of business development and long-term success. Competition, turnover, lack of design and innovation, and customer negligence can quickly show up in the face of a manager if due diligence and staying true to core-values is not a forefront for daily operations.

As TribalVision, a marketing solution based company, is highly focused on clientele operations and closing sales, they use monetary based KPI’s as a weapon to avert risk and strengthen the ratio between income and expenses to empower the company. They mentioned that a lot of risks can go away with the building of sales and building of business. They believe that risks are far more impactful with a lack of top-line revenue which can help overcome certain risks.

AE Works positions their strategy by complimenting their depth in customization and diversification in their daily work with methods of creativity and staying ahead of the rest of the pack. According to the internal research, they were able to mitigate the risk of having 75% of our business in one governmental agency with a strategic focus on diversification.

Within the manufacturing world, Strider has a high focus on the detail of the product itself and generating awareness with what else may be in the market enabling fast decision-making. Strider is a team of people who believe that failure to act or putting all eggs in one basket are probably the least favorite ways to manage. With more awareness, they have more room for agility. They said that lots of small, rapid steps are better than one uncertain jump.

Online Operations and Protection:

A common theme is noticeable among small businesses and proactive online/network management and data protection. Trusting an organization with any type of information that a potential lead or valuable customer provides is an example of organizational interest and loyalty, however, a healthy relationship between a client and a company can sometimes become fragile if responsible online operations are not handled properly. The SBA and companies who have proven to be outperformers strive to exemplify how it should be handled.

Strider says it is imperative to have all systems secure and backed up with so much depending on the Internet. They take extra cautious steps to collect and store data, as they think data is all potential liability. Once data is collected, they then make sure it is protected.

AE Works address cyber security in every design. To them, cybersecurity is a growing element of their world and they are positioning themselves by adding talent that can meet those unique challenges.

TribalVision has a vast portfolio of marketing resources online. As potential and current customers navigate through the portfolio, it’s clear TribalVision has established a system of managing their information cleanly and professionally, while continuing to add marketing content for viewers to learn from within their online channels in a secure way.

Companies within different industries offering different products and services all must prioritize and manage each respective team in order to stay focused on healthy growth. These key points made by successful SMB’s above are examples of how other SMB’s can achieve similar success. Highlights from NSBW can be followed live from their Twitter feed @SBAgov and winners will be announced daily for a variety of competitions.