The doors opened at 8:00 am, and after completing a registration form you received a reusable shopping bag courtesy of Shoprite. Attendees then entered the Riverfront Ballroom where over 30 exhibitors including the SBA, SCORE, PNC Bank, Wells Fargo, DEDO, Traci Lynn Jewelry and the YWCA had tables that showcased their products/services as well as items for sale or small giveaways.
On this cold and rainy morning the hot coffee and danish was a welcomed delight, but for each of the attendees all of various ages and ethnic backgrounds they delighted in a common goal; to obtain information and guidance to make their small business more successful. Small businesses are the engine that drives the economy in Delaware and if they are successful, we are all successful.
The conference was kicked off by Mary Caracciolli, The Money Confidant, who emphasized that the day wasn’t about networking but about meeting people, building relationships and doing something for someone else. Opening remarks were made by Lt. Governor Matt Denn, a major supporter of education in the state. Chase was the #1 sponsor of C.O.D.E. and Daryl Graham spoke about the importance of supporting small businesses. Ken Anderson, a DEDO rep stated that small businesses have created the most net new jobs in the state of Delaware. State Treasurer Chip Flowers was also in attendance and video remarks were given by Governor Jack Markell and U.S Senator Chris Coons.
Judy Travis, Founder of Stockings for Soldiers Delaware spoke of how passion drives your business and presented a slide show. Last year, over 10 thousand packages containing 47 thousand stockings were made and shipped thanks to the many volunteers who devoted their time. Volunteers in this effort included students from elementary schools to members of Senior Citizen centers, but donations and volunteers are always needed. One of the major rewards in volunteering for this program is knowing you are improving the morale of our troops serving overseas.
There were two sets of morning sessions from which to choose that began at 9:30 am: Business Start-up 101, and Run Your Business, Don’t Let It Run You. The next two sessions started at 11:00 am: The Business of Your Business and Service…Your Secret Weapon To Success!
I sat in briefly in all 4 sessions and found them to be very informative, enlightening and one was quite entertaining. Ellyn and Robert of SBA and SCORE started their session by having everyone stand and sing along to the song “Good night, I Gotta Feeling”, by The Black Eye Peas, it was a great way to rev up the brain cells.
A light lunch of pizza, and snacks were provided before the final General Session, “Understanding Social Media”, presented by Eric Holtzclaw, Founder and Chief Strategist of Laddering Works, LLC. Using a PowerPoint presentation Eric highlighted the various groups of social media users; discussed understanding social media and how it makes an impact on today’s business.
Audience participation with questions followed, several asking how social media impacts their small businesses and why it was important to brand themselves on the Internet. Social Media whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Google+, is here to stay however, the advice of only using what is comfortable was the underlying message from Eric.
The conference ended with the awarding of Door Prizes ranging from a $100 gift card to autographed copies of Eric’s new book, Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior. Overall, it was a great event for anyone with or who is thinking about starting a small business in the state of Delaware. Kudos to the staff of The Money School for all their hard work and effort that made this yet another successful event.