3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: May 2

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. National Small Business Week commences on May 20. The Small Business Administration will commence its annual Small Business Week later this month, in which attendees can participate either in person or via the Web. The conference will feature award presentations including categories like the Home-Based Business Champion of the Year, the Small Business Exporter of the Year and of course, the National Small Business Person of the Year. Attendees can also participate in "dynamic educational events."

Hint to small business owners: link your marketing to the event. National Small Business Week is a good reason to encourage customers to shop local.

2. How one toy store stands the test of time. If you live in the Mamaroneck, N.Y. area, you'll know that Steve Josephson's The Toy Box has been a big part of the community for more than 40 years. That's a strong feat, considering that independent toy stores like The Toy Box are up against the big discount retailers and e-commerce stores.

The secret to Josephson's success: having a reputation of great customer service and for carrying the latest and greatest toys, according to the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Patch.

Josephson's success hasn't been all roses. At one time he had seven stores in the area, but due to the economy he had to sell or close most of them.

And of course, the toy industry is vastly different than what it once was. Josephson tells Patch that customers have gotten younger, meaning that young teens tend to go for more electronics than toys. But there are always staples -- Monopoly, checkers, Lego and Barbie, he says.

Another tough challenge is competing with the increase in online shopping. The Toy Box plans to launch its e-commerce store this year.

3. Today kicks off the New York XPO for Business. Looking to network with other small and mid-size businesses? If you're in the New York City area, check out New York XPO, held at the Javits Center on Wednesday and Thursday.

Seminar topics include marketing, social media, boosting sales in a down economy, government contracting and franchising. The annual trade show also features special events like the 24-HR Small Biz Makeover, in which one lucky winner will receive a detailed business plan review, new marketing strategy, financial check-up, social media tips, and even a new portrait photograph. So far, according to posts on Twitter, the event has some 15,000 attendees.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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