A candid conversation with Amanda Brinkman, host of Small Business Revolution

David Quinlan
5 min readSep 21, 2020

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A conversation with Amanda Brinkman, host of Small Business Revolution

Amanda Brinkman co-hosts the show Small Business Revolution with television star Ty Pennington. Deluxe, a BBB Accredited Business, created the show to help small businesses, and in turn, small towns, reignite the spark that drives them and keeps people coming back. BBB’s David Quinlan sat down to have a virtual conversation with Amanda about the struggles and opportunities for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview.

Tell us about the show Small Business Revolution — what’s the vision?

The Small Business Revolution is a show or a series where each season, we revitalize a different small-town main street, and we do it through its small businesses. I work at a company called Deluxe, and they started the Small Business Revolution because we work with 4.5 million small businesses every day. We help businesses with everything from marketing their business to operating their business.

For us — our brand purpose is to champion small businesses so communities can thrive. We want to go out and put our money where our mouth is and do that work. The reason we do that work is that we believe small businesses are so integral to our neighborhoods, our communities, to our country, and certainly to our economy. We want to tell the stories of great small businesses and show how business support can genuinely help entrepreneurs run their business better and feel more secure operating them.

The show is unscripted; it’s in the reality show genre — but one thing we do not do is create that drama that you sometimes see on the network reality shows. We are here to help these businesses. We always say it’s a makeover show with heart. We are trying to tell the story of these businesses to inspire more people to recognize the importance of supporting small businesses.

When you support a local diner or a local barbershop or a local retail store — those dollars stay within your community and create jobs in your community. It is more than a show, it is truly a movement, and we are trying to inspire people to support small businesses.

How are small businesses being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

This is really a challenging time. This pandemic has never happened in modern times for businesses and people. It is an odd way to be living as a human, let alone running a business within this environment. You have to look at running your business differently.

One of the things we are always working with businesses on in the show and is so important right now is making sure you have a great online presence. Even as stay-at-home orders lift, people are not going to come back in the capacity as they did before.

For the foreseeable future, this is the business — trying to operate without people physically being in your space and how you continue to bring in money. We see businesses realize that their online site is their storefront, which is so important right now.

So many businesses do not focus on their online presence, but it’s vital. Thinking through how people find you online or the story your website tells about you, how you engage with customers on social media, how you are using directory listings, and marketing tools like email and print.

So what we are seeing is that businesses that are not just surviving, but are trying to find a way to thrive during these difficult times. They are focused on three things.

1. Businesses are thinking about their business model and starting to focus on what they sell and how they sell it, and where they sell it. Business owners are using this time to shed some of those proverbial ideas that are always in the corner of an entrepreneur’s mind. Maybe it’s those ideas that didn’t get off the ground. is the community asking of my business? What skillset, equipment, delivery mechanisms do I have to change in my addressable market? How can I reach new people and figure out how to get my products and services to them?

2. The second thing we really see businesses doing is focusing on the technology of their business — so thinking through things like their digital presence, their websites, their online presence, so getting your website updated, cleaning up your directory listings, and starting to invest in social media.

3. The third thing we are seeing — and this is something we love about small businesses — is that they are giving back to their communities. The week the country began to shut down, we saw small businesses show up in droves to support their community. They were figuring out how to make medical supplies or feed people in the community that are in need. The universe is almost rewarding them for their generosity, and their instinct was to do good for people around them.

With all of these things, I think people are recognizing how disproportionate this crisis is impacting small businesses. So how can small business owners make it as easy as possible for people to support us? It’s on us as owners to make it as easy as possible — communicating with customers, to be pivoting how we sell and deliver things, and showing the heart behind our businesses as to what we are doing for the community.

How have small businesses and big businesses partnered during this time?

It’s been incredible to see entrepreneurs get so creative. We’ve also seen a lot of partnerships between big businesses and small businesses. Small businesses partner with big companies locally that have the resources and the distribution model to get those products out. We see big businesses and small businesses work together during these times in a way that I hope continues once we emerge from the crisis. Small businesses have the nimbleness and ideas to go for it, where big companies have more of the infrastructure or supply chain to deliver on that idea.

How relevant are the BBB Standards for Trust — especially for small business owners?

The standards are vital. They are key. I am so glad they are your values, and I know that’s what BBB is known for in the community. People want to support businesses that are doing the right thing, and they are doing it by the right standards. We all recognize we have a lot of power in our dollar and where we spend it. We want to support businesses that are doing the right thing and operating with integrity, treating their employees and customers well.

We are starting to hold corporations and brands and businesses to a higher standard. We want to see people living their values and not just saying they stand for trust and integrity — but demonstrating that through their actions in what they do and operate as a business.

I love that there are organizations like BBB out there holding businesses accountable — that it’s a standard on which we judge companies. And it should be. It shouldn’t just be the financial performance; it should be how you run that business.

Links:

Small Business Revolution: https://smallbusinessrevolution.org/small-business-revolution

Deluxe: www.deluxe.com

Social Media

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallbusinessrevolution/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smallbizrev

Twitter: @amandakbrinkman

For more information on how BBB can help with your business goals, visit the BBB Get Accredited page.

Originally published at https://www.bbb.org.

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David Quinlan

Marketing and Communications Executive. MBA. Storyteller. Brand Strategist.