Anita Campbell, CEO and Publisher of SmallBizTrends.com, makes our huggable people list because she loves entrepreneurs and everything I have seen her do supports small business owners, usually in both a useful and creative way. Whether it is launching her Small Business Book Awards four years ago (the 2012 awards garnered 55,000 votes) to ensure that books on small business (and their authors) get a chance to shine, or writing her own tweets and speaking at conferences directly to entrepreneurs – you can tell she loves what she does. I have also seen her be generous with both praise and assistance to well-known individuals and just regular folks; she excels at building authentic relationships and win-win opportunities. Her site’s tagline is: “small business success … delivered daily,” is a promise on which I think she delivers well. To me that makes her “huggable people.”
What is Small Business Trends?
Taken from her site… “From its humble beginnings as one of the first business blogs on the Web, using the free Blogger.com blog platform, Small Business Trends has grown and evolved into an influential source of information — while still retaining a conversational and authentic format. Small Business Trends was founded in 2003 by Anita Campbell, in Cleveland, Ohio. Our content is syndicated through Newstex, BusinessInsider.com and to other sites around the Web. Small Business Trends currently reaches over 4,000,000 readers annually, via direct visits, RSS feeds and social feeds. Anita is widely regarded as an expert in small business issues. She is the co-author of Visual Marketing: 99 Proven Ways for Small Businesses to Market with Images and Design (Wiley 2011).
Disclosure I have done some PR work for SmallBizTrends.com in the past.
A Few Fun and Useful Questions I asked Anita:
Q1 Cathy Larkin: What drives you to help small business owners and entrepreneurs? You obviously love what you do, it really shows in all you do.
A1 Anita Campbell: I think being a small business owner is a high calling. When you consider the “food chain” of people who rely on even the smallest businesses for their livelihoods and their families’ welfare, you realize that small business ownership is about much more than just commerce. That’s what drives me.
Q2 Cathy Larkin: Was there a moment of change, an incident, or interaction with a business owner, or at an event, or when you changed your site… when you saw that what you were doing could reach a larger audience, and really have an effect? If so, can you tell us about it briefly?
A2 Anita Campbell: There have been times when I’ve questioned what we do on Small Business Trends and whether we are adding value. But then someone will email me or come up to me at an event, and tell me how they read the site everyday or always find something of value to pass along to a co-worker, and I feel gratified. And I feel gratified not just for me, but for everyone on the Small Business Trends team. It’s an accomplishment for all.
Q3 Cathy Larkin: What would you like to tell small business owners about believing in themselves, about being different in a good way, or about any aspect of small business ownership that you feel they need to remember/be aware of?
A3 Anita Campbell: I’d say to them: be guided by a gut feel for doing what’s right for your employees, your customers, your stakeholders. If your business is like most, it probably isn’t perfect. Your products and services could no doubt be better (whose couldn’t?). And chances are you would like to pay your employees more. But if you are guided by a mission of serving others you will eventually resolve those issues and pull away from the competitive pack.
Q4 Cathy Larkin: Would you share a link to a fav blog post of yours from the past that gets lost on your site, and why this link?
A4 Anita Campbell: ”Successful Small Business Owners are Like Roombas;” reason: the title says it all.
Q5 Cathy Larkin: Favorite quote?
A5 Anita Campbell’s Fav Quote: ”Inspect what you expect.” It means that as a leader, you must pay attention to your business and signal to employees and team members what you expect out of them by asking and by actively engaging as a manager and leader.
Q6 Cathy Larkin: When you take break from work, where will we most likely find you, or what will you most likely be doing:
A6 Anita Campbell: In my garden trying to make something grow. :-)
Q7 Cathy Larkin: If you could take 50 to 100 small biz owners, whom you’ve met or interacted with via social media or your website, anyplace in the world for a long weekend (at no cost, and with no loss of business) – where would take them? and why?
A7 Anita Campbell: I’d take them on a cruise so we could all kick back and enjoy ourselves, and find time to get to know one another.