Q. How will BBB recognize National Small Business Week, and what advice will it offer?
A. May 20-26 is National Small Business Week and a time to celebrate the growing business demographic in our country.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners are the backbone of the U.S. economy. Anywhere from 60 percent to 80 percent of the new jobs in the country are created by the about 27.2 million small businesses in the U.S. It is estimated that over half of Americans either own or work for a small business.
In honor of National Small Business Week, Better Business Bureau is encouraging small business owners to take advantage of the many resources for small businesses from BBB and from the Federal Trade Commission:
• Code of business practices: The BBB Code of Business Practices represents sound advertising, selling and customer service practices that enhance customer trust and confidence in business. Even for businesses that are not BBB Accredited, this code should be a roadmap for creating and managing an ethical business.
• Code of advertising: One hundred years ago, BBB was founded on the principles of truth in advertising, which rests first and foremost with the advertiser. All BBBs review local ads, and BBB's New York office reviews national ads. The BBB Code of Advertising lays out principles, definitions and suggestions for ethical advertising that all businesses can adopt.
• BBB data security: With data breaches becoming all too common in the news, BBB partnered with data security experts at Symantec Corp., Visa Inc., Kroll's Fraud Solutions and "NACHA -- The Electronic Payments Association," to produce free, easy-to-understand data security guidelines, with checklists and links to data security resources for small businesses. BBB's Data Security -- Made Simpler arms small business owners with the information they need to protect their customers and their business. For more information, visit www.bbb.org/data-security.
• BBB TrustBrief: This is a free, thrice-weekly email to help small business owners stay on top of headlines and get guidance and expert advice on running a business. Sign up for a free subscription at www.smartbrief.org/bbb.
• Tips on direct selling: BBB and the Direct Selling Education Foundation partnered to create a series of articles, videos and PSAs to educate direct sellers, their customers and even those considering a career path in direct selling. Free tips and advice you can trust on direct selling are available at www.bbb.org/us/dsef-tips.
• Federal Trade Commission: Wondering what kind of proof you need to back up the claims in your ads? Planning on using email to publicize your company? Thinking about buying a franchise or business opportunity? Concerned about your legal obligation to keep information secure?
The FTC has free resources on best practices for complying with the law, many of which you can order in bulk for your employees at no charge. Written with a minimum of legalese, the FTC offers online tutorials, videos and more than 100 to-the-point publications created with the small business owner in mind: http://ftc.gov/bcp/business.shtm
Get answers to your questions each Friday from Jim Winsett, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Inc., which serves Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia. Submit questions to his attention by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN, 37401-1447, or by emailing him at dflessner@ timesfreepress.com.