Many small business development initiatives, programs, projects, and activities are too fragmented to offer the potency necessary to make real change.  They cannot impact consistent and sustainable results due to their design and structure.  What’s more,  those being incentivized to deliver these vitally important economic development services are often ill-equipped to do so. They, themselves, have not formed or managed a successful enterprise, nor have they solicited assistance from those who have. 

Diversity managers, like the diverse firms they rely upon, are positioned at differing points along the commitment and competence spectrum. Not everyone is alike. They do not have identical values or corporate measures and supports. They are not at the same place at the same time, either in their understanding or in their willingness to be helpful.  Some Diversity Managers go the extra mile while others stop mid-race.

What Are Your Priorities?

Is it possible that many small business development programs are based too heavily on the number of hosted activities and attended events and not on the measurable progress of the individual firms themselves?

Progress is individualized. It can only be measured when a destination and timeframe have been established.  It is literally defined as, “Onward movement toward a destination in space or time.” Progress is, in itself, an impetus for change and improvement. Those who see themselves advancing, want to continue, if not increase the speed of their growth. In short, they want to get better, faster. On the other hand, those who see little progress will most certainly lose interest in the pursuit of their goals. Often, they abandon the effort entirely. 

The goal must be to fuse those effective pieces into a strategy for moving ahead. To this end, some businesses will choose to do their own thing. They often rely on consultants and strategists that can deliver internally targeted program support.  

Working under the direction of the corporate leader, these professionals will understand and align all strategies to the greater organizational objectives, messaging, and methodologies.  Working through a shared community resource requires that corporate priorities be diffused and generalized. However, when working with a dedicated internal or contracted resource, the corporate’s specified preferences are prioritized in the most favorable way.

Take a look at our list of 50 small business development interventions, initiatives, and strategies. Take time to determine which, if any, are actually contributors to progress and goal achievement.

Small Business Development Initiatives

  1. EEO Programs
  2. Diversity & Inclusion Programs
  3. Community Outreach &/or Engagement activities
  4. Networking events
  5. NAICS Code Expansion
  6. MBE/WBE/DBE Business development training (University Executive education)
  7. Small business/Entrepreneur training – basic and advanced (technical, business & leadership: not University-based)
  8. Surveys for customer feedback
  9. Seminars, Workshops & Conferences
  10. Business Coaching & Technical Assistance
  11. Supply Chain Procurement Goals
  12. Status Certification services 
  13. Minority Chambers
  14. Coalitions, Consortiums, and Partnerships
  15. Mentoring activities
  16. Growth Opportunities 
  17. Breaking glass ceilings on Boards
  18. Advocacy activities
  19. 8a Federal contracting
  20. Bid notifications (mailed to targeted populations)
  21. Award & Recognition events
  22. Match-Making events
  23. Small Business Incubators
  24. Directed publications & corporate co-marketing initiatives 
  25. Targeted Research
  26. Events 
  27. Outreach/Job Fairs
  28. Political advocacy
  29. Access to capital: Financing/Bonding/Equity
  30. Buy Local campaigns 
  31. MED Week Awareness Campaigns 
  32. Contracting assistance
  33. Collaboration and Partner Opportunities
  34. Shared Best Practices, Innovations, and Strategies  
  35. Assigned Procurement Officers
  36. Sponsorships
  37. Business Evaluation services
  38. Publications: Targeted White Papers, Blogs, webcasts, podcasts 
  39. Affinity Groups
  40. DBE Supportive Services
  41. DBE Gap Analysis/Needs Assessment
  42. Guest Speakers/Lecturers/Keynotes
  43. DBE Consultation
  44. Small business technical assistance 
  45. Small business incentives
  46. National American Express SHOP Small Business Saturday 
  47. Supplier pay initiatives
  48. Factoring
  49. Availability Studies to locate Suppliers
  50. Sole-Source Contracting

Learn about how our effective 4P model has helped organizations–large and small–implement strategies that improve their bottom line.