Earlier this week I was in New York at the Small Business Summit 2008. It was the best event I’ve attended in a long time.
Dynamic, friendly, connected, informative — those are the 4 words I would use to describe it.
Let me give you an inside peek:
A Beyond-Capacity Crowd — Like last year it was held at the Crowne Plaza in Times Square. But this year there was an over-capacity crowd. The original goal of 400 was exceeded when almost 500 people registered. This was definitely THE small business event of the East Coast.
Entrepreneurs Create Leverage — In a nice touch, the event organizers, Ramon Ray and Marian Banker, publicly introduced the team that organized the event. You’d never realize the Summit was produced by 2 independent entrepreneurs and not a large organization. Marian and Ramon were able to leverage their talents and put on a professional event by outsourcing to a team of contractors. Laura Leites of Workstation Business Support was the event’s virtual assistant. Andigo and Solutions for the 21st Century also made up the team.
A Message About Being Resilient as an Entrepreneur — Barry Moltz was the luncheon keynote speaker, and his message was about being resilient as an entrepreneur and business owner, embracing failure and recovering from it. He had a ball with him that he used as a prop to signify the idea of bouncing back as an entrepreneur. In one of those quirks of modern 21st-century business networking, Barry is one of those people I “know” online but have never actually met in person. With the crush of people around him after his address, I’m sorry to say I still haven’t met Barry.
Do You Know Your Google Quotient? — Brent Leary introduced the day and managed to get his remarks about your GQ (“Google Quotient”) covered in a Wall Street Journal blog. Way to go, Brent!
People Traveled Far and Wide — Mike McDerment, CEO of FreshBooks, came down from Toronto for the event. He’s about to start on a tour to meet with customers across the U.S. If we keep our fingers crossed, Mike may be joining us here as one of the Small Biz Experts.
“Friends of the site,” Pamela O’Hara and Michelle Riggin-Ransom of BatchBlue Software, fresh off their formal product launch, came down from Providence, Rhode Island. Grant Wickes of Wasp Barcode was there from Texas, and April Farms of MyBizHomepage traveled from Virginia.
Bob Mathew, CEO of Catalyst Web, also came up from Virginia, and gave me a personal demo of their Web-based office and collaboration suite. Hopefully we’ll find out more so we can write about that product.
Marla Mullen and Carolyn Acker, of Infusion Software, came all the way from Arizona. Rachel Euretig from Intuit was there from California, as were folks from Dell and Google.
The Small Biz Media Came Out — I ran into Robert Levin, publisher of the New York Enterprise Report. I also got to meet Lauren Simonds, Managing Editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com. Gail Perry, Editor of AccountingWeb.com, flew in from Detroit. The folks from Smart Money were at our lunch table, too.
Made New Connections — Robin Carey and Jerry Bowles, co-founders of SocialMediaToday and MyVenturePad were there. Kevin Kennedy, Founder of Webgrrls.com was there, too (yes, a man founded Webgrrls in the early days of the Web). Miranda Tan, CEO of MyPRGenie told me about her company’s PR solution for small businesses and I hope to write about it soon.
The U.S. Postal Service was also there, same as last year, with representatives who worked the show.
I saw Shashi Bellamkonda, of Network Solutions — we’ve been Facebook friends — nice to connect people from the Web world with the real world!
So, as you can see, many businesses and movers and shakers in the small business market were represented. And I’ve just scratched the surface.
Radio show signups — Many thanks to the 3 dozen people who signed up to be on my radio show. We’ll try to touch base very soon. Please be patient — with so much interest and only one show per week, it may take us a while to schedule the shows.
It was nice meeting all of you and re-kindling connections. My apologies for not being able to name everyone I met in this article — not to mention the many excellent speakers. But that’s the subject of another article ….