Like raising children, building a small business in today’s economy takes a proverbial village. To that end, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the CE industry’s premier trade group and producer of the International CES, has made small business programs and support a top priority.
For the new year, CEA and CustomRetailer will kick off a series of articles that profile some of the association’s small business members, including technology integrators and specialty retailers. We will dive into their successes, highlight their challenges and offer some real-world solutions to some of the business issues those within the CE community commonly face.
While it’s easy to think of CEA as a trade association for large, international companies, the reality is that more than 75 percent of members are small businesses under $30 million in sales. One of CEA’s hidden gems is its Small Business Council (SBC), created to serve this key segment of the association’s membership.
The SBC, exclusive for CEA members, is comprised of small and emerging businesses in the consumer technology space. The SBC offers services and programs designed to help grow and sustain this critical membership and industry segment. Programs focus on core business functions and topics such as management, finance, raising capital, strategic planning, marketing, sales, human resources and legal issues.
Participation in the SBC is just one of the benefits of membership in the association. Here are some of the top benefits CEA offers for integrator, specialty retailers and small business members:
Mentoring programs: Led by accomplished CE industry leaders, CEA’s mentor program facilitates the exchange of ideas and provides a sounding board for small and growing companies. Industry veterans are available to meet privately year round for professional and business guidance and advice.
Educational programs: Live and distance learning opportunities focus on the business skills and strategies essential for starting and running a small business. CEA’s small business programs help you solve real-world business challenges.
Live seminars and online “webinars” feature the association’s industry-leading market research to provide a well-rounded curriculum. 2012 webinars included: crowd-funding; how to sell your product to retailers; how to meet with a retail buyer; hiring the best employees for your business; generational hiring; generating sales through social media; strategic planning; developing rewards programs, and more.
Promotional opportunities: CEA offers promotions designed specifically for small businesses and specialty retailers. In 2012 CEA sponsored three “CE Demo Days,” a nationwide campaign that helped drive traffic to more than 100 retailer members’ showrooms. CE Demo Days plays on specialty retailers’ core skills, demonstrating the A/V and home theater experience only available through the specialty retail channel.
In addition to these benefits, CEA’s small business members also enjoyed unlimited access to over $1M worth of market research in 2012, discounts on Bedrock Learning’s online residential technology training and financial and strategic planning from the experts at the Retail Owners Institute.
To learn more about the CEA Small Business Council, visit CE.org or contact me at dkassoff@CE.org.
Stay tuned to CustomRetailer throughout 2013 for more articles in the “My CEA” series. CR