Small Business Playbook: Actionable Advice to Grow in the New Economy

Small Business Playbook: Actionable Advice to Grow in the New Economy

While the US economy’s strong recovery is good news for small businesses, it also presents a new set of challenges. From supply chain delays and inflation concerns, to labor shortages and an evolving customer base, the CNBC Small Business Playbook virtual summit offers expert guidance and insight to help small business owners conquer these obstacles, and more, and thrive in this next phase of the economic recovery.

WHO SHOULD JOIN: This program is geared toward small business owners and leaders.


Kevin O'Leary

Kevin O’Leary was born in Montreal, Canada on July 9th, 1954. As the son of a United Nations ILO official, he had the opportunity to live and be educated in Cambodia, Cyprus, Tunisia, Ethiopia, France and Switzerland.

Kevin attended the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada where in 1977 he received an Honors bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and Psychology. He attended the University of Western Ontario where he received his MBA in 1980.

After working briefly as an assistant product manager at Nabisco Brands, he left to pursue a career in television production and became a founding partner in Special Event Television, an independent production company that produced original sports programming such as “The Original Six”, “Don Cherry’s Grapevine” and “Bobby Orr and the Hockey Legends”.

Kevin co-founded SoftKey Software Products in Toronto, Canada in 1986. SoftKey was the first software company to apply the principles of consumer goods marketing to the software industry. SoftKey grew quickly as the price of personal computers declined and millions of North American families began to buy software for family education and entertainment.

In January of 1994, SoftKey became a catalyst of consolidation in the software industry, raising over $ 1 billion in a series of debt and equity financings and completing the first trans-border three-way pooling, merging with Spinnaker Software and WordStar International. As a result of this merger the company moved its headquarters to Boston, Massachusetts. In late 1995, SoftKey acquired Compton’s New Media and The Learning Company. In early 1996, SoftKey completed the acquisition of the Minnesota Educational Computer Company. In late 1997 and early 1998, the company acquired three more of its competitors, Creative Wonders, Mindscape and Broderbund making SoftKey the world leader in the development of educational, reference and home productivity software and the world’s second largest consumer software company with annual sales over $800 million, two thousand employees and subsidiaries in 15 countries. In 1996 SoftKey changed its name to The Learning Company. In early May 1999, The Mattel Toy Company acquired The Learning Company for $4.2 billion.

In 2003 he became co-investor and a director in Storage Now, a leading developer of climate-controlled storage facilities. Through a series of development projects and acquisitions, Storage Now became one of Canada’s largest owner/operator of storage services with facilities located in eleven cities serving such companies as Merck and Pfizer when it was acquired by the In Storage REIT in March 2007 for $110 million.

In July of 2007 Kevin became a founding investor and Director of Stream Global Services Inc., focused on the growing outsourcing business services market.

Kevin O’Leary is the Chairman of O’Leary Funds the Manager of the publically traded family of O’Leary Global Equity and Income Funds. He also serves on the board of The Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. He is a member of Boston’s 107 year old Hamilton Trust. Kevin O’Leary is a contributing columnist to CTV, BNN and the Bell Media Radio Network. He is a contributor to CNBC, ABC News and Good Morning America and an entrepreneur/investor co-host for the Discovery Channels Project Earth series that explores innovative ways man could reverse global warming implementing large scale geo-engineering infrastructure projects. He is also an investor/host of ABC Television’s Emmy Award winning venture capital reality program “Shark Tank” produced my Mark Burnet/Sony/ABC.

Kevin O’Leary is an active photographer, guitarist and author of three number #1 best selling books “Cold Hard Truth”, “Men, Women and Money” and “Family Kids and Money”.

Isabella Casillas Guzman

Isabella Casillas Guzman serves as the 27th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and was sworn in on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. Administrator Guzman represents the more than 30 million U.S. small businesses and is committed to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs start, grow and be resilient.
A lifelong proponent of small businesses, Guzman grew up as the daughter of a small business owner and learned at a young age how important small businesses are to the communities they serve, the people they employ, and the economies they help power.

Administrator Guzman previously served as Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate, a position she held after being appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom in April 2019. In that role, she served as the voice of small businesses and innovative startups in the 5th largest economy in the world. She administered and advocated for programs and initiatives to help small businesses access capital, markets, and networks for stronger outcomes. She and her team helped connect entrepreneurs in every community with the resources needed. As the economic recovery support function coordinator for the state, she focused on resilience and most recently worked to help small businesses access relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In California, Administrator Guzman oversaw a network of small business centers focused on expanding assistance to underserved business groups. She launched new public private partnerships and collaborated to deliver cutting edge resources to small businesses, including through initiatives like Get Digital CA to increase technology and e-commerce adoption and Source Diverse Source Local to strengthen supply chain readiness. She advocated fiercely for financial relief for small businesses, leading to the expansion of state supported lending and the largest COVID-19 grant relief program in the nation at over $2.5 billion. Guzman's office launched the Entrepreneurship Task Force to serve as a bridge to small businesses and create content and programs to help strengthen the competitiveness of startup and small firms.

Administrator Guzman has previously served in leadership at the SBA as the agency’s Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor during the Obama-Biden Administration, where she oversaw policy and new program implementation. She was a small business entrepreneur herself, and an advisor to fellow founders including in accelerating technology commercialization and in helping small business contractors leverage the federal marketplace. Administrator Guzman earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.

Nina Vaca

Nina Vaca is Founder and CEO of Pinnacle Group, a global workforce solutions provider focused on IT/Professional solutions for the Fortune 500. Pinnacle is among the largest and most successful firms in the industry and has twice been named the fastest growing woman-owned company of any kind in the US. Nina is a member of the Staffing Industry Analysts Hall of Fame, has been honored as part of the Global Power 150 – Women in Staffing for each of the past six years, and was recently named as one of 50 industry leaders for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. In addition to her leadership of Pinnacle, Nina serves as a Director on three corporate boards of publicly traded companies. Nina is also a civic leader and philanthropist, working relentlessly to expand educational and business opportunities for minorities and women in STEM. In 2014, Nina was appointed by the White House as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. She is also a German Marshall Fellow, a British American Project Fellow, a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, and in 2019 became a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Nina is a recipient of the coveted Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for Technology & Communications and the Goldman Sachs Most Intriguing Entrepreneuraward.

Holly Wade

Holly Wade is the executive director of the NFIB Research Center, where she conducts original research and studies public policy effects on small businesses. She produces NFIB’s monthly Small Business Economic Trends survey and surveys on topics related to small business operations. Holly is also a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). She has undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Washington and a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Denver.

Eric Siu

Eric Siu is an investor, founder and advisor. He is the Chairman of digital marketing agencies ClickFlow and Single Grain, which have worked with companies such as Amazon, Uber, and Salesforce.

He also hosts two podcasts: Marketing School with Neil Patel and Leveling Up, an entrepreneurial podcast where he dissects growth levers that help businesses scale.

In his youth, Eric was not academically or socially successful, but he was a serious high-level eSports and poker player.

He ultimately found how to convert his focus and success in gaming into a very successful career in marketing.

Larry Whiteside Jr.

Larry Whiteside Jr. is a veteran CISO, former USAF Officer, and thought leader in the Cybersecurity field. He has 25+ years experience in building and running cybersecurity programs, holding C Level Security executive roles in multiple industries including DoD, Federal Government, Financial Services, Healthcare, and Critical Infrastructure.
Larry currently serves as the Chief Trust Officer and Chief Technology Officer at CyberClan, a full service Global Incident Response and Managed Security Services Provider for the small to medium sized business.

Larry is also the Co-Founder, President, and on the Board of Directors at the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP), a 501(c)3 non-profit association that is dedicated to increase the number of minorities and women in the cybersecurity career field through providing workforce development that includes skills assessment, training, education, mentorship, and opportunity.

Since 2009, via Whiteside Security, which he founded, Larry has advised several corporate security executives and companies across the cybersecurity industry on how to make Cyber Security a number one objective to their business. He has helped CEOs and board members of private cybersecurity companies achieve their goals in sales, marketing, and customer retention.

Larry has spoken in front of C Level leadership and Board of Directors of some of the largest private and public sector organizations in America. A thought leader in the industry with extensive experience presenting at conferences such as the Gartner Security Summit, RSA Conference, and SC World Congress, Larry has been featured in many articles relating to information security and risk management.

Larry received his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science at Huston-Tillotson University, an HBCU that is the oldest institution of higher learning in the State of Texas.

Gyanda Sachdeva

Gyanda Sachdeva is the vice president of Product Management for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, which includes both the organic, free LinkedIn Pages ecosystem and paid advertising products and features.

Gyanda joined LinkedIn in 2010 as a member of the business operations team pre-IPO and then transitioned into the Product organization to lead product strategy, design, and execution for LinkedInSponsored Updates, a key mobile monetization initiative launched in July 2013. After serving as one of the product managers on the LinkedIn Ads Team, she moved on to become the head of Product for LinkedIn’s Premium Subscription products before taking the helm of Product Management for Marketing Solutions.

Prior to joining LinkedIn, she spent her early career in Investment Banking at Thomas Weisel Partners and Merrill Lynch.

Gyanda earned her Bachelors’ degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell University, and a Master of Science in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. She is also a First Mover Fellow at The Aspen Institute, on the board of IAB Tech Lab, and a co-founder of LinkedIn’s Women in Product Organization.

Brian Moran

As the Founder & CEO of Small Business Edge, Brian is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs achieve their objectives and to run better businesses. Brian, along with a team of top subject matter experts, is building a community platform that helps entrepreneurs run better, more efficient companies.

Prior to rejoining the world of entrepreneurship, Brian was an Executive Director at The Wall Street Journal where he led the sales development and marketing programs for the financial and small business categories among the many Journal brands.

From 2002-2010, Brian was President of Veracle Media and Moran Media Group, two companies that provided relevant and practical information to business owners which helped them start, manage and grow their companies. The companies published three national magazines for the small-to-midsize business market: Small Business Success, Urban Success and Winning Bids.

In 2012, Brian was a winner of SCORE’s Lou Campanelli Award which recognizes outstanding individual volunteerism, leadership, vision and philanthropy in support of small business, entrepreneurship and SCORE. In 2012 and 2013, Brian was named one of the top 100 SMB Influencers in the country by Small Business Trends & Small Biz Technology. In 2015, Brian was awarded the Small Business Excellence Award by Irish Echo Newspaper.

Brian sits on several boards of small business organizations and is a strategic advisor to business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide through his interviews, published articles and blog posts.

Steven Crowley

Steve Crowley is the Director, Solutions Engineering. He has worked for T-Mobile for the past thirteen years. Steven received his Bachelor’s in Computer Science from Florida Tech and a Master’s in Technology Management from Steven’s Institute of Technology. Prior to T-Mobile he worked in the aerospace field with LockheedMartin and GE. Steve has seen the growth of the T-Mobile network firsthand as they moved from 3G to 5G and from a niche player to the number two provider in the nation. His team aligns with each sales rep as they share best practices and act as trusted advisors to the ever growing T-Mobile for Business customer base.

David Wood

David Wood is the Senior Manager, Solutions Engineering. He has worked for T-Mobile for over 12 years as both as Solution Engineer and now leader with over 15 years of experience in telecommunications. Starting his career at Nortel Networks positioning Unified Communication platforms and WAN/LAN solutions, his broad experience in telecommunications has provided great insight for many customer as they explore leveraging mobility as part of their digital transformation plans. With T-Mobile’s nationwide 4G and 5G network and solutions, his team now educates customers on how T-Mobile can help customers tackle their network challenges.

Tyler Mathisen

Tyler Mathisen co-anchors CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F, 1PM-3PM ET), one of the network's longest running program franchises. He is also Vice President, Events Strategy for CNBC, working closely with the network's events team to grow the rapidly expanding business.

Previously, Mathisen was co-anchor of "Nightly Business Report," an award-winning evening business news program produced by CNBC for U.S. public television. In 2014, NBR was named best radio/TV show by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW). Since joining CNBC in 1997, Mathisen has held a number of positions including managing editor of CNBC Business News, responsible for directing the network's daily content and coverage. He was also co-anchor of CNBC's "Closing Bell."

Mathisen has reported one-hour documentaries for the network including "Best Buy: The Big Box Fights Back," "Supermarkets Inc: Inside a $500 Billion Money Machine" and "Death: It's a Living." Mathisen was also host of the CNBC series "How I Made My Millions."

Prior to CNBC, Mathisen spent 15 years as a writer, senior editor and top editor for Money magazine. Among other duties, he supervised the magazine's mutual funds coverage, its annual investment forecast issue and its expansion into electronic journalism, for which it won the first-ever National Magazine Award for New Media in 1997.

In 1993, Mathisen won the American University-Investment Company Institute Award for Personal Finance Journalism for a televised series on "Caring for Aging Parents," which aired on ABC's "Good Morning America." Mathisen served as money editor of "GMA" from 1991 to 1997. He also won an Emmy Award for a report on the 1987 stock market crash that aired on New York's WCBS-TV.

A native of Arlington,Va., Mathisen graduated with distinction from the University of Virginia.

Sharon Epperson

Sharon Epperson, named one of “12 to Watch in TV News,” can be seen regularly on CNBC television and other media platforms.

As CNBC’s senior personal finance correspondent, Epperson covers the many facets of how people manage, grow and protect their money. Her expertise includes saving and investing for retirement, paying for college, managing mortgage, student loan, credit card and other debt, and building a financial legacy through estate planning.

Preparing your finances for the unexpected is another critical (and personal) aspect of her reporting. In September 2016, Epperson sustained a ruptured brain aneurysm and she nearly lost her life. She has become a staunch advocate for health and wellness issues, raising awareness about brain aneurysms and funding for research. In September 2018, she and her family established “The Sharon Epperson Chair of Research” through the Brain Aneurysm Foundation to provide grants for research on early detection and innovative treatments.

Epperson is a lead contributor to “Invest in You: Ready. Set. Grow.,” a multi-platform financial wellness and education initiative at CNBC in partnership with the micro-investing app Acorns, and developed its companion 8-week learning course and weekly newsletter, “Invest in You: Money 101.” She also contributes to NBC’s TODAY and NBC Nightly News as well as and

Her book, The Big Payoff: 8 Steps Couples Can Take to Make the Most of Their Money-and Live Richly Ever After, was a finalist for the Books for a Better Life Awards, honoring works that have “changed the lives of millions.” She also was a contributing writer for The Experts’ Guide to Doing Things Faster. Her personal finance expertise has been featured in numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, USA Weekend, Self, Essence, Ebony and TIME, where she had covered business, culture, social issues and health as a correspondent prior to joining CNBC.

Epperson has numerous industry and civic awards, including the Special Achievement Award from the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and the Savvy Inspiration Award from the non-profit, financial empowerment group Savvy Ladies. She won an Alliance for Women in Media’s Gracie Award for Outstanding Online Host for her “Financial Advisor Playbook” video series on She has received the Vanguard Award for her distinguished career in business and personal finance reporting from the National Urban League Guild, and the All-Star Award from the Association of Women in Communications. She also has won awards from the New York Festivals, the New York Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Epperson is committed to improving financial literacy, particularly in underserved communities. She was invited to the White House during President Obama’s administration to speak about financial literacy and to moderate a public meeting of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability at the U.S. Treasury Department. She also speaks frequently at conferences and events for local and national organizations, colleges and universities about many facets of personal finance.

An adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Epperson has also taught courses at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. She enjoys teaching the importance of budgeting and building long-term savings as part of her professional development courses for graduate students.

Epperson received her bachelor’s in sociology and government from Harvard University, a master of international affairs degree from Columbia University, and an honorary doctorate from Carlow University in Pittsburgh. A Pittsburgh native, she has also been inducted into the Hall of Fame at Taylor Allderdice High School, her alma mater.

She currently lives with her husband and two children in Westchester County, N.Y.

Kate Rogers

Kate Rogers joined CNBC in September 2014 as a reporter based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Rogers covers small business and entrepreneurship for the network appearing on CNBC's Business Day programming and providing daily stories and videos to She will also contribute to the network's overall markets coverage.

Previously, Rogers was a personal finance and small business reporter for FOX Business and While there, she reported across FBN's and FOX News' daily programming. She also created and hosted a web series on entrepreneurship and startups called "Growing Your Business" for

Prior to FBN, Rogers was a reporter at the Nonprofit Times covering the business aspect of nonprofit management, and was an editor at the Union County Local Source.

Rogers holds a bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in Journalism and a minor in Women's Studies from the University of Delaware.

Jane Wells

Jane Wells develops features, special reports and series for CNBC and Based in Los Angeles, she also contributes to CNBC’s breaking news coverage.

Wells assumed her current role after more than 20 years as a CNBC reporter. Most recently, she covered retail, agriculture and defense as well as reports on California’s economy, West Coast real estate and Las Vegas for the network. Wells joined CNBC in 1996, providing special coverage of the O.J. Simpson civil case for “Rivera Live.” During her career at the network, Wells also served as a senior correspondent for CNBC’s “Upfront Tonight.” She also helped create the “Strange Success” franchise for CNBC Make It, and produces a companion podcast.

Prior to joining CNBC, she was a correspondent for the Fox News Channel and Los Angeles reporter for NBC’s flagship television station, WNBC, in New York. Her television news career includes reporter positions with KTTV, Los Angeles; WTVJ, Miami; and KOB, Albuquerque. She has also contributed international reports for CNN.

Wells has received numerous honors for her work, including a 1992 Peabody Award and duPont Award for her role in the live coverage of the Rodney King Trial. That same year, she earned a Los Angeles Emmy Award for her investigative reporting. She also has received UPI, Press Club and Emmy Awards for feature reporting; three Florida Emmy Awards for news reporting; and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for team reporting.

Wells holds bachelor’s degrees in broadcast journalism and philosophy from the University of Southern California, where she graduated with honors. She and her husband have two children and live in Los Angeles.


2pm ET



The good news: businesses have finally reopened. The bad news: owners are now battling new issues like inflation and supply chain slowdowns. We’ll examine trends, optimism, and the outlook for the second half of 2021 and beyond.

Holly Wade, National Federation of Independent Business Executive Director of Research
Interviewed by: Kate Rogers, CNBC Reporter
Watch the full interview



Strong relationships are the foundation from which successful businesses are built upon. But what happens when they go awry during a pandemic? We’ll discuss how to handle disputes with business partners, suppliers, and more, and answer your questions on all things small business. 

Kevin O’Leary, CNBC’s “Money Court” Host
Interviewed by: Tyler Mathisen, CNBC Power Lunch Co-Anchor & Vice President, Events Strategy
Watch the full interview


As the pandemic eases, a record number of small businesses still can’t find enough workers, making the recovery challenging. We’ll get to the root of the problem and offer tips on how to attract top talent to your organization.

Gyanda Sachdeva, LinkedIn VP of Product
Nina Vaca, Pinnacle Group Chairman & CEO
Interviewed by: Sharon Epperson, CNBC Senior Personal Finance Correspondent
Watch the full interview



Strategies to protect your business from a cyber attack.

Larry Whiteside Jr., CyberClan CTO & Chief Trust Officer
Interviewer: Frank Holland, CNBC Reporter
Watch the full interview


Tips to enhance your digital marketing strategy and transform your business. 

Eric Siu, Leveling Up Chairman
Interviewer: Rahel Solomon, CNBC General Assignment Reporter
Watch the full interview


Digital transformation is a necessity for businesses to thrive. This past year, successful small and mid-size businesses proved that a business plan focused on embracing digital technology, connectivity and collaboration, gave them the resiliency they needed to weather the storm. Find out if your business has the tools to succeed, and what you can do today to get on the right track if you don’t.

David Wood, T-Mobile for Business Senior Manager of Solutions Engineering
Steven Crowley, T-Mobile for Business Director of Solutions Engineering
Moderator: Shibani Joshi, Business Journalist
Watch the full interview



The widely used Paycheck Protection Program may have expired, but there are still plenty of readily available initiatives to provide assistance to small business owners. We’ll break down the resources, ranging from financial assistance to industry-specific training, and discuss what’s in the pipeline.

Isabel Guzman, Small Business Administration Administrator
Interviewed by: Kate Rogers, CNBC Reporter
Watch the full interview


Engage with fellow business owners and share ideas, obstacles, and insight. Plus, we’ll answer your questions, and offer up pro-active steps you should take to navigate the challenges of today, and successfully plan for tomorrow.

Featured Guests:
Brian Moran, Small Business Edge, Founder & CEO
Nina Vaca, Pinnacle Group Chairman & CEO
Featured ReporterSharon Epperson, CNBC Senior Personal Finance Correspondent


To view today’s event, please click here.