Updated: Feb 26
The Small Business Expo helps small business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs take their business to the next level. As a nation-wide event, scroll below for dates in a city near you!
Last week, I had an excellent experience attending the Small Business Expo (SBE) held in San Diego, California. Free to register and attend, it is San Diego’s LARGEST business networking and educational event for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. The expo’s show agenda offered the following:
Workshops: There were a number of 45-minute sessions led by Small Business Industry Experts to chose from. I most benefited from one of the first morning sessions, Master LinkedIn for Your Business, where Kennected's Andrew Ruge demonstrated algorithms that deliver the best filtered results to connect with industry experts and increase your percentage of successful outreach efforts and responses. Of what seemed to be the most attended workshop was Managing Your Business By The Numbers, a session led by Award Winning Business Executive Yusef Muhammad who held an intense discussion on how to use a company's financials to increase funding and lending alternatives like apply for SBA's loan guarantee program, crowdfunding and more.
The Keynote Theatre: As the focal point of the show, attendees gathered to learn from the best in the Industry. The content was inspiring—Adriana Gallardo (Author, Co-founder of NOWRISE) shared her challenges on how she built an insurance empire and empowered many people in the LatinX community. Richard Martinez (Speaker, Co-founder, NOWRISE) delivered enriching content to help attendees increase business revenue and refine their leadership skills to better understand and connect with people.
Speed Networking: BONG! In the speed networking area composed of 17 tables with two-chairs each, every three minutes the cymbal would sound instructing attendees to switch tables. As one of the most popular areas of the expo, it was the best way to meet other entrepreneurs quickly and exchange business and contact information. I found this area to be most useful to quickly connect with potential business owners who have interest in now joining The Cause Mall. Sometimes speed networking events can seem intimidating, but it is much easier (and a better environment) to pitch your brand and/or product during one-to-one sessions than at the different companies' booths.
Business Card Exchange: As a designated area for attendees to leave their business cards and brochures to market their business and services to other attendees, this section of the event was highly trafficked. For myself in particular, it was a great place for me to gather contact information of potential sellers on The Cause Mall and services we are looking to outsource. In my next article, I will discuss some helpful tips on how to best market your brand on your business card. It is also best to pay a little extra for durable cards as a few (including mine) had weathere
Networking Happy Hour Mixer: After a long day of networking (9am -4pm), attending workshops, building new business relationships, and pitching with confidence, the Happy Hour Mixer was a casual and fun networking environment to enjoy an open bar of beer and wine. There was a DJ and prizes from raffles held throughout the event.
Step & Repeat: The backdrop was perfect for selfies and to elevate one’s brand. I certainly received a lot of reaction and networked with others through the expo’s tag: #smallbusinessexpo. On the SBE application (TSP Events), you can find more information on the show agenda, floor plan, social media feed, and badge upgrades. I started the event with the silver badge and later upgraded to the Gold badge ($50). I most enjoyed the ability to scan other attendees Badge QR-codes for direct contact information saved in the application during the speed networking sessions I participated in.
Below you will find a screenshot from the SBE website with a list of locations the expo will be held-- be sure to attend in a city near you!