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SF Small Business Week. Celebrate Small Business.


San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations: Keep Your Ears to the Ground

#SFSBW2017 asked some of our resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations.

Tell us about your organization’s mission in one sentence

Since 1949, the San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations‘ mission has been to protect, preserve, and promote small business.

What are your organization’s recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community?

Fostering better and clearer communication between the different merchant associations to promote small business. We’ve helped merchants form new merchant groups, like the Upper Divisadero Merchants.

What tools and resources have your organization created to help small businesses tap into new opportunities to reach new customers, increase their revenue, and grow their business?

San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations award recipient

SFCDMA is creating a handbook to aid groups to form and ensure merchant association success. We advocate on behalf of small business city policies and formation of new laws and highlight the merchant associations to the public and other merchant associations through enhanced marketing efforts via newsletters, social media, and strategic partnerships with other city organizations

San Francisco has been experiencing quite the transformation. What is your organization doing to attract and support new and younger small business owners? What resources do you offer to entrepreneurs and small businesses to get started?

It’s an exciting time for San Francisco with many new merchant corridors forming. It is our job to bring them into the SFCDMA family. Through newsletters, social media and public/private outreach, we highlight the corridors so merchants can thrive in the competitive business environment.

San Francisco is known for its diverse culture. How does your organization ensure that the small businesses that make this city unique are able to stay in San Francisco?

San Francisco’s neighborhoods are the gems of the city! We want to ensure their success by highlighting the legacy businesses and showcasing the new entrepreneurs opening stores and providing services. We feature the different merchant corridors to the hotel concierge, the Airbnb super host, and to the Yelp Elite communities through merchant walks and social mixers.

What words of advice or wisdom would you like to share with small business owners?

The only constant to small business is change! The rewards and challenges are always changing and you need to keep your ears close to the ground and collaborate among other merchants. Public and private agencies are key to the success of small business.

We would love to hear some real life examples of how you’ve supported small businesses.

We recognize the city has many new businesses but we also need to highlight the legacy businesses which have defined the SF retail landscape. This year, we are highlighting second generation Two Jack’s on Haight for their 40 anniversary! We’re also collaborating with the Renaissance Entrepreneur Center to start a scholarship fund for new entrepreneurs.

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