As the president of INDIE Beauty Network, my passion is helping my members succeed. One of the ways I remain on the cutting edge of what's happening the small business world is by being connection to American Express. I am American Express Card Member and an active participant at American Express OPEN Forum (here's my OPEN Forum profile). I was listed there as one of 80 Small Business Twitters You Should Be Following, and my tips about the importance of relationships to social media outreach are also featured there in Six Key Benefits of Using Social Media for Small Businesses. Over the past few years, I have enjoyed seeing American Express rally around the small business community, including last year's Small Business Saturday.
So when I received a press release announcing the launch of the Facebook Big Break for Small Business, which will award business makeover trips to Facebook’s Headquarters and $20,000 to help some lucky companies grow with social media, I knew I had to share it with you. I reached out to their corporate offices, and American Express Vice President Laura Fink (pictured) was kind enough to take a few minutes out of her busy schedule to share how excited the company is to launch this event. Here is a bit of what she told me, paraphrased since I did not record our conversation:
dM: Why is the time right for Big Break For Small Business?
Laura FinkSocial media is changing the way small businesses communicate with each other and with customers. Statistics show that nearly half of small business owners use at least one social media platform, and marny of them regularly use FaceBook. Since American Express is dedicated to helping these companies thrive, now is the right time to work with FaceBook to encourage their success.
dM: Is the program designed for micro-businesses too — meaning those that are solo-preneurs or who have only a few employees?
Laura Fink: Absolutely. Through Big Break, we aim to help any small business, regardless of the number of employees it has, that seeks to leverage social media to garner more customers and spread the word about what they offer. Microbusiness owners often find it challenging to make the most of social media because it requires a large commitment of time to develop and implement a strategy that works. Through Big Break, we will help several small companies expand their use of social media. This program absolutely makes sense for any small business, no matter how many or how few employees it has.
dM: Economic times are tough today. Do you think the future is bright for microbusiness owners? What words of encouragement can you offer?
Laura Fink: The future is bright, especially if they understand who their target audience is. If they are willing to become a part of the conversation — to listen and then to join in and facilitate conversations with and between their customers, it's a great time to be in business fr yourself. FaceBook Big Break For Small Business will help drive continued entrepreneurship. It will be the “big break” some small companies need to make the most of social media.
How To Participate
I am so excited about this program! I encourage you to head on over to the FaceBook Big Break For Small Business Page on FaceBook to get the details on how you can enter to win an all-expense paid trip to Facebook’s Headquarters in Palo Alto, CA for a two-day, in-depth one-on-one business makeover, and $20,000 to help their business grow with social media.
Ten finalists will be selected by a panel of judges, including Laura Fink of American Express, Adele Cooper of Facebook, Guy Kawasaki of Alltop and John Battelle of Federated Media. Entrants will be judged base on Commitment to their business and growth;
Overall social media need where Facebook could improve their business; and Energy and enthusiasm for small business.
You can also participate by following OPEN FORUM and and Tweeting the news using the #OPENBigBreak hash tag.