Hot Topics at the U.S. Chamber’s 11th Annual Small Business Summit

Hello, and welcome to the first of many in.credibly editorials (subscribe in the sidebar to receive our newsletter!). Not only is it an exciting day for this website, it’s also the day our 80+ employees—spread out across Michigan, New York, Arizona and Massachusetts—can finally announce we are now Credibly.

As one of the newest members of Credibly, I was thrilled to get the opportunity to attend last week’s 11th Annual Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the event attracted nearly 1000 business owners and local chamber representatives from across the country to discuss topics close to their hearts, and balance sheets.

An added benefit of being in D.C. is that attendees were educated on current legislative issues, such as the TPA bill that failed to pass the House on Friday, and encouraged to lobby their representatives. Phone banks were also available for those who weren’t able to trek to Capital Hill during the week.

Veteran-Owned Businesses & Hiring Our Heroes

One of the first speakers to open the conference was Christian Nahas, Senior Vice President of Business Solutions and Portfolio Leader at First Data Corporation. Christian grew up an Army brat, his dad having served for over 26 years. But when his father left the Army, he struggled for about 5 years to fit into corporate America, until he successfully started his own business.

Under Christian’s leadership, First Data Corporation has joined forces with the Coalition for Veteran Owned Businesses (CVOB), a group dedicated to “veteran, service member, and military spouse-owned businesses by connecting them with entrepreneurial education and training.”

Following Christian, we heard from Eric Eversole, Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce & President of Hiring Our Heroes. Hiring Our Heroes helps connect local chambers with returning war veterans, and in their 4 1/2 years have conducted 900 hiring events around the country. These events are free for companies to attend and recruit job seekers — check this page for upcoming hiring fairs, and this page to make sure your business meets eligibility requirements.

CyberSecurity

I attended three separate talks on cybersecurity last week. Considering a good number of business owners were at each session, I’ll assume this is a pressing issue. I’m going to write more about this in coming weeks, but here are a few things the speakers suggested putting into practice immediately:

  • Use one computer to move funds online for your business, and don’t use that computer for anything else. Don’t use it for email, don’t use it to read Buzzfeed articles, nothing. Use it only for banking (on your own secure LAN or WiFi network!), and then logoff.
  • Educate your employees on “phishing” scams, and don’t assume that your more senior staff already know not to click the links in those misspelled emails.
  • Be careful about the vendors you give access to your networks. Services like SecurityScorecard can provide transparency into how secure they are before they become a threat to your data.
  • Patches, patches, patches: most security patches are free, and they could save you thousands of dollars and hours of headaches down the road.

Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)

Attending conferences with concurrent tracks is always frustrating, but since I wanted to understand how the looming trade bill was affecting small business owners and their ability to enter international markets, I skipped both the “Baby Boomers Managing Millennials” and “How She Built It” sessions to attend “Happening Now on Capital Hill” presented by Jack Howard.

This was a disappointing choice to be honest, because even though the TPA was an Obama-backed bill, and Mr. Howard was pro-TPA and encouraging everyone to lobby their reps to pass the bill, his slide deck and talk was very partisan and veered into awkward right-wing territory. I regretted my scheduling decision and didn’t learn what I was looking for in the session.

If you can explain this topic in a non-partisan way that every small business owner can understand, please contact me for an interview and I’ll feature you on the blog!

There was so much more to this conference, which I will cover in the coming week, but I hope I’ve provided some helpful resources today. If there’s anything you’d like me to cover on this blog or in my weekly editorials, feel free to chime in below in the comments or tweet me @lovablemarketer (#ASKCREDIBLY)! And again, don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

Carrie Gallagher
Editor in Chief, in.credibly
Director of Content Marketing, Credibly

About In.Credibly

The mission of in.credibly is to be a resource SMBs can turn to for evaluating working capital needs, sourcing right-sized loans, and spending those funds wisely on everything from inventory to marketing.