It's May, the tulips are in bloom, and, once again, it's National Small Business Week. In Washington, D.C., celebrations will take place (and be streamed live), proclamations will be made, awards handed out and conference sessions held.

Outside of attending the big hoedown in the Capitol, what can you get out of National Small Business Week? Here are three suggestions:

1. Promote it. Put a sign in your shop window, or hold a special thank-you event for customers. Let them know it's a week where you especially appreciate their support. If there isn't a local event set up, start talking to your local chamber about organizing something for next year.

2. Go to an event and network. If you're not in D.C., there are regional events planned at all the regional Small Business Administration offices, too. Check with yours and find out what's going on.

3. Form an alliance with other small businesses. Look around your town and identify which businesses provide complementary services or products. Then get together and see what you could partner on to help grow all your businesses. Maybe you could do joint marketing, or put on an event.

Last year at this time, there didn't seem to be much to celebrate. This year, the economy is thawing at least a bit.

If you're a business owner who survived the past few years, take a minute sometime this week to stop and reflect on your achievement. Many entrepreneurs who were around last year are gone now. You've toughed it out.

Take this week to celebrate you and your business.

What will you do to celebrate National Small Business Week? Leave a comment and tell us your plans.