National Small Business Week may be a time for small businesses to celebrate themselves and their achievements over the past year, but big businesses want in.
Amid the din of celebratory toasts and awards speeches at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington D.C., banking giants the likes of Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Capital One Financial and even retail megastore Sam's Club are hopeful their message gets heard: Small Businesses, we're here to help you.
Bank of America announced on Monday that it is offering three new small-business charge cards, which are due out next week. And, through its relationship with mentoring organization SCORE, the bank provides a new set of training resource booklets aimed at helping owners spur growth. Those booklets are available at local SCORE Chapter offices, according to Betty Riess, a BofA spokeswoman.
Similarly, Sam's Club, through June 5, is giving small-business owners a discounted membership -- 10 weeks for $10, up from $35 for an entire year. The retailer is also creating a Facebook application that will allow users to submit tips on how to create successful small businesses.
Even the Better Business Bureau is getting in on the National Small Business Week action. Teaming up with Capital One, the BBB launched a new free online credit guide, which houses tips and advice to help meet the unique credit and money management needs of small businesses.
Of course, the companies offering these freebies, training sessions and discounts hope to get something in return. For some companies, it's about the free publicity or preserving their relationships and goodwill with customers. For others, their aim is to expand their existing relationships into other -- more profitable -- services.
Take Chase, for instance. The bank's stated goal is "to expand both its lending and deposit businesses through Small Business Week promotions." Not only is Chase offering its business customers up to $1,000 in savings, rebates and refunds, it teamed up with Google to help small-business owners get the most out of Google's tools. Chase and Google today are providing a one-hour online seminar -- giving those who attend $100 in credit for Google Adwords. They're teaming up for another event on Monday, as well.
"It's just another way Chase bankers can be key partners in our clients' success," says Michael Cleary, CEO of Chase Business Banking.
What do you think of big businesses offering small companies freebies? Leave a comment and let us know.