Small Business Week has always been one of the most fun weeks of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce year. Each finalist has a party, and there’s the big reveal — you basically don’t get any work done the entire week if you’re a finalist, but it’s worth it. From getting to know new friends and new businesses to unlimited platters of snacks, it’s a great week.

This year, Small Business Week has a new meaning for us, as our parent company, The Business Times Company, was named the 2017 Small Business of the Year by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Wow! I think we’re all still in shock over this amazing recognition.

Though I’ve always enjoyed Small Business Week, I left this particular week with several great takeaways I’m still thinking about:

 

  • We talk about how supportive the business community in Columbia is, but there’s a difference between thinking something and knowing it. The sense of camaraderie the week creates — not just for employees on one team, but between all the finalist teams — is fantastic. The fact that dozens upon dozens of people who have absolutely no skin in the game show up for these seminars is stunning. I felt support from friends, sure, but I also felt support from people I’d never met. Celebrating Small Business Week is a huge accomplishment in itself, and Columbia has been doing it well for 25 years.
  • Life moves fast and work seems to move faster. It’s always rewarding and worthwhile to stop for a moment and assess how far you’ve come and envision where you want to end up next. The SBOTY process gave our team a chance to slow down, look around, and celebrate our successes.
  • Take the time to recognize your clients, partners, or friends in the business community with a nomination for something. Most nomination forms for business or businessperson awards take a minimal amount of work on the nominator’s part. You don’t know the exponential value of the 20 minutes you spend on a nomination form — even if the business doesn’t end up winning, they’ll be tickled and proud to be nominated, and that will help create more success in their future. Plus, it just feels good to give the recognition to someone else. Whether it’s CBT’s 20 Under 40 awards or the various Chamber awards, look around you and identify the those who deserve recognition.

 

Throughout the years, I’ve gotten a chance to build relationships with the teams at AnnaBelle Events, Harold’s Doughnuts, Tompkins Homes & Development, and TrueSon Exteriors. They’re all immensely successful and talented, and they also have fantastic people behind those brands. We are honored to be in their company, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading about each of their businesses. We’ve committed to telling the finalist’s stories each year, so that means tooting our own horn a little, too.

Lastly, we hope you’ll join us at CBT’s Top of the Town party on June 28 at Logboat Brewing Co., presented by Columbia Regional Airport. If you’ve never been, it’s a fun evening outside with food, drinks, music, and lots of COMO biz love. You can buy your tickets on Eventbrite.

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