2012 Small Business Influencer Awards: Q&A with Co-founder Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends

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The 2012 Small Business Influencer program is well underway, with nominations now being accepted through July 15th, 2012. The program seeks to recognize individuals, companies, media, apps, and others who have been influential to the small and medium-sized business community. It’s a great way to connect with others, help to recognize those who have made an impact, and raise your profile online and off.

I’ve tracked down Anita Campbell, co-founder of the program and CEO of Small Business Trends, to chat about this year’s awards and her work in the small business community.

[Biz Blog]: Hello again Anita, thanks for joining me today! What are you most excited about concerning this year’s Small Business Influencer program?

The most exciting thing is that you don’t have to be a celebrity to be recognized. These are awards “for the rest of us.” It’s about the contributions that people, companies and organizations make to small businesses each and every day.

You’ve heard of the book “It Takes a Village,” about how it takes the support of the community to raise a child. Something similar could be said for supporting small businesses. It takes the support of many – vendors, service providers, news outlets, analysts, journalists, consultants and more. The Small Business Influencer Awards recognize those behind the scenes who support small businesses. If small businesses are the unsung heroes of our economy today, then those who help small businesses to be successful are the double unsung heroes. We’re thrilled to bring them recognition.

[Biz Blog]: Can you quickly run through the important dates that we should all be aware of, and where someone could go for further information?

I want everyone to remember three key dates:

July 15, 2012 – Last day to submit a nomination. There is no fee to nominate, and we encourage people to nominate themselves, a colleague, or a client. Nominate here.

August 5, 2012 – Last day for the community to vote. We open up nominations to the community for daily voting. The community votes count for 40%, and afterwards our panel of Expert Judges will weigh in for 60%.

October 17, 2012 – Awards Gala in New York City. This year we’re partnering with the New York XPO Small Business Conference to hold the Awards Gala in the evening after its fall conference, at the Javits Convention Center in New York. It will be a dynamic and magical night – join us!

Be sure to read our FAQs for more information.

[Biz Blog]: Small Business Trends has been around since 2003; tell me about the publication and the impact that it’s had since it launched.

We deliver “small business success…daily.”

Small Business Trends is a news, tips and advice site reaching over 4,000,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs annually. We reach hundreds of thousands more through social media channels and our other sites including our social site BizSugar.com. Over 250 contributors share their expertise and insights.

We are obsessively focused on small businesses and entrepreneurial startups. We deliver what you need to know to run your business, navigate through current issues, stay up to date, and make your business the success you want it to be. We tell you about the latest resources, the latest economic statistics that matter to business owners, the latest marketing advice, and much more.

To sum it up, the site has one purpose: to help business owners, managers and entrepreneurs be successful. That’s why the Small Business Influencer Awards are a perfect complement – it’s all about enabling success.

[Biz Blog]: You’ve had an interesting shift in the past from executive positions in larger companies to extensive work with the small business community. What motivated the change, and what do you love about working where you are now?

I was a corporate lawyer – a General Counsel-turned technology company executive. But I wanted to try my hand at starting and running my own business.

I love being a business owner, and consider it a high calling. If you examine the food chain of people supported by any small business, it’s not uncommon for dozens of people to depend wholly or partially on even the smallest business. Consider the employees, their families, the owner’s family, service providers, independent contractors, vendor companies – it’s probably a larger number than most people realize. Remember, too, that many small businesses serve other small businesses. A single customer or client is not just a rounding error to a small service provider, for instance, but could be the difference between profitability and unprofitability that month. Knowing that a business matters to so many people brings a feeling of purpose. It fires me up.

[Biz Blog]: What does the future hold for Small Business Trends and your work with the community?

We plan to continue bringing solid advice from the trenches. The entire site is a production of small business people and entrepreneurs, for small business people and entrepreneurs. That authenticity is unparalleled and as long as I am at the helm, it will continue.

We also feel that initiatives like the Small Business Influencer Awards further the mission we are on. I firmly believe the Influencer initiative helps small business people by making them aware of the “best of the best.” If you look at the Small Business Influencer website, it is a terrific resource if you are looking for a vendor or consultant, for instance.

I’m thrilled to partner with Ramon Ray and his premier SmallBizTechnology.com site (another excellent and authentic small biz information site) to co-produce the Small Business Influencer Awards. We hope to make it bigger and better each year for many years to come!

[Biz Blog]: Thanks for joining me today Anita!

Don’t forget to head over to www.smbinfluencer.com to submit a nomination for the 2012 Small Business Influencer awards, to view media from last year’s event, and to learn more about the program.

About Luke Reimer

@Luke_Reimer is an Enterprise Marketing Manager at BlackBerry helping to design, launch, and manage enterprise marketing programs - particularly concerning content across digital mediums. Beyond spreading BlackBerry goodness in enterprise communities, you can find Luke cooking up a storm, out on his motorcycle (when Canadian weather allows), or digging into a good science fiction book.

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