Celebrating the 50th Annual National Small Business Week

Happy National Small Business Week! Since 1963, each U.S. President has officially recognized this week in June in honor of American small businesses throughout the country. It’s a time to celebrate the incredible contributions made my small businesses, freelancers and solopreneurs.

Paradise for Paws (Illinois)

Who they are

Paradise for Paws provides doggie daycare services for travelers coming and going from Chicago-area airports. In addition to pet sitting services, the company offers grooming, cage free boarding, pet massage, obedience classes and pet transportation services.

Why they got nominated

Paradise for Paws has succeeded as a small business because of excellent branding and unique problem solving.

The company clearly defines its brand through the use of specific language, colors, textures and fonts on its website. Services like pet massage and doggie webcams cater to a very particular high-end clientele. By focusing on a very targeted niche market, as opposed to trying to appeal to everyone, Paradise for Paws has differentiated itself as the premiere doggie daycare of upscale pup owners.

In a related but separate business decision, Paradise for Paws decided to open all three of its locations near airports, creating a highly unique selling proposition. Instead of simply opening up a daycare facility and marketing to residents that happen to live or work in the general vicinity, the company searched for and found a very specific problem – frequent flyer clientele needed reliable pet care near the airport so they could minimize the amount of time spent away from their beloved pet.

The geographic location of Paradise for Paws immediately identifies the company’s target market, while solving that market’s problem at the same time. Built into the structure of the business is a clear definition of who the business is meant to serve, and what that population’s major “pain point” consists of – their dog is an incredibly important part of their life, and their pet deserves the absolute best! What’s more, it’s clear that since this target market requires airport-adjacent daycare, they are most likely a) frequent travelers, b) business people, c) affluent, and d) single.

By solving the problem of a very specific target market, Paradise for Paws has been able to create a hybrid small business that blends the best of two worlds – pet care and upscale business travel.

national-small-business-week-2Last Year’s Winner

The 2012 National Small Business Person of the Year was Victoria Tifft, the founder and owner of Clinical Resource Management, a small business based in Hinckley, Ohio. Tifft began a medical research firm after contracting malaria while serving in the Peace Corps. Her experience inspired her to find solutions to the global medical problems she had witnessed firsthand while volunteering in Africa.

Today, Tifft’s company creates vaccines for infectious diseases. Since 1994, the business has grown from 3 employees to over 300 employees in the United States and abroad. Between 2007 and 2010, the company more than doubled its annual revenue, increasing from $17 million a year to $40 million a year.

In addition to the incredible growth sustained by this small business, it’s clear that the driving factor behind Tifft’s success has been her passion to do good in the world. Small businesses that are driven by personal passion are much more likely to go the distance and reap the financial rewards of longevity.

Honoring Small Businesses

The 2013 National Small Business Person of the Year will be chosen from the 54 winners of the State Business Person of the Year, including the small business rock stars listed above.

During National Small Business Week, the SBA will offer workshops, seminars, keynote speeches and mentoring opportunities for small business owners across the country. If you’re unable to attend events in any of the five participating cities, you can tune in via live webcast on the SBA’s website.

In addition to naming the National Small Business Person of the Year, the SBA honors small business owners with a variety of awards and accolades that are given out throughout the week. The Entrepreneurial Development Awards are given out to organizations that assist small businesses in getting started, while the Phoenix Awards honor public officials and SMBs who have helped small businesses recover after economic or environmental disasters.

Here at Shoeboxed, we can’t wait to see which of the incredible small business nominees will be named the 2013 National Small Business Person of the Year. Good luck to all, and congratulations to small business owners everywhere!

What should your small business be honored for?



1. The SBA

2. National Small Business Week

photo credits: scoreoc.org, neurologicalcorrelates.com, www.sba.gov

Author: Emily Farrar

At Shoeboxed, Emily focuses on keeping our users happy and engaged. She is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in Public Relations and an avid Tar Heels fan. She enjoys traveling, staying active and spending time with her six-year-old Maltese, Madam.

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