The Northwest’s history is one of innovators, artists, and entrepreneurs – dreaming big and working hard.
To gear up for our inaugural Elevate NW conference, a conference dedicated to the growth and success of small businesses in the Seattle metro region. Here’s a sneak-peek of what SAP Concur's Senior Vice President and Managing Director U.S Nickole Sanner plans to talk about:
How does your business help/support Seattle’s small and medium business community?
We continue to make investments in the variety of ways we support SMBs both locally and across the nation. Our SMB team hosts dozens of virtual and live events during the calendar year. In addition, annually there are several key SMB moments such as National Small Business Week and Small Business Saturday, which help put the spotlight on this important industry segment. We also build dedicated programs to offer a range of value add resources and experiences.
Most recently, we launched SAP Business Exchange, a new community-oriented digital experience that will provide both customers and prospects tools and resources to become a best run business. Today, members will be able to engage with each other, access exclusive content and subject matter experts, actively participate in events, and take advantage of select partner offers. In the future, SAP Business Exchange will continue to increase its value by expanding partner engagement, offering business insights and industry benchmarks, and build a platform that promotes economic, social and environmental good. Explore all the details online.
What’s one piece of advice for someone looking to start or grow their business?
Find a mentor and sources of insight and inspiration. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, it’s often challenging to find enough time to step back and gain perspective. Folks often get deep into a routine of working “in the business” rather than “on the business.” Having that sounding board to help point out areas for attention is critical when one is prone to being hyper focused. Mentors can help you gain that advantage; I’d recommend SCORE.org as a good place to start.
In regard to inspiration, there are so many great sources—especially podcasts and online content. The President of SAP’s Cloud Business Group, Jennifer Morgan, has a great show called A Call to Lead; CreativeLive—based here in Seattle—has an amazing library of content; and the recently launched SAP Business Exchange will only get better and better over time.
On a scale of 1-10 how important is it for small/mid businesses to get to know/learn from each other?
I can not emphasize this point enough; you need to build a team around you. Collaboration, sharing of ideas and learning from each other is critical. Entrepreneurship and small business ownership can be a lonely and challenging time, so having a community to communicate both successes and problem solve is an essential component to setting yourself up for growth.
Again, I’d encourage readers to explore what SAP Business Exchange has to offer as well as investigate local Chambers of Commerce, SCORE and associations such as Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO). In my experience, the vast majority of people are willing to provide pointers, guidance and hacks that can help save time, solve problems and avoid pitfalls.
What’s the biggest problem small business owners don’t know they have?
It’s really easy to spread your data out across disparate systems and programs—and it can happen fast. It’s hard to clean up months or years of information and pull it into a centralized system, so get on top of it as early as possible. Knowledge is power but only if you can understand it. Data equips small businesses to make smart investments, cut costs and keep things running smoothly. However, if expense and AP data is spread across multiple sources and locations (Excel spreadsheets, handwritten files, online tools, etc.), the chances for outdated information and errors increase. By consolidating financial data in one location, you are more likely to have accurate and actionable insights.
To hear more from Nickole Sanner and many more, join us for our second annual Elevate NW conference, April 30:
Elevate NW Conference 2019
Tuesday, April 30 | 1:00 – 6:00 p.m. | Seattle Center
At this half-day, interactive conference, you'll:
- Connect – Meet peers from a variety of industries with structured and casual networking
- Discover – Learn from small businesses in our region that are changing the game
- Engage – Dig in to real-life examples of business success and gain insight into developing mutually beneficial relationships with companies of all sizes