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Small Business Week – Making Connections

By Linda Plater |

As Small Business Week kicked off across Canada, we caught up with some aspiring entrepreneurs and established businesspeople to find out their take on Enterprise Toronto’s Small Business Forum 2011.

A variety of workshops, advice and opportunities were available for eager participants at the event where they could pick up tips and tools to immediately apply to their business. And making great contacts was an added bonus.

The tradeshow floor was a-buzz with services geared to help small business succeed ranging from financial assistance, management expertise including business planning, insurance, accounting, advertising and legal advice.  One novel product  featuring classic re-usable metal nametags by Imprint Plus stood out from the crowd. Everyone needs a beautiful nametag!

The workshops

A recurring theme throughout the forum was the importance of connecting and building relationships. And the workshops echoed this theme by demonstrating that what you know is important but pairing that with who you know can boost your sales. Veteran business leader Murray Smith tackled “More Client and More Revenues” by sharing his experience derived from running multimillion dollar companies.

With the increased use of social media like Facebook and Twitter, what conversations and connections look like today are very different than from even five years ago. Many learned that a 140 character tweet today can lead to an extended conversation and possibly an increase in business down the road. “You just never know who you will meet at a show like this or online, for that matter and how that meeting will contribute to your business!”was Dragons Den winner and presenter Laura Berg of My Smart Hands mantra.

For Daniel Husbands of Black Canvas Group, the forum was a chance to revitalize his business know-how while his networking  friend Greg Keane of the Ithelpcrew, an independent computer consultant, was happy to get out of his home-based business to meet new people who always need help with their computers.

At the end of any event,  trade fair organizers want to build on this year’s strengths to plan for next year.  Evaluations please! Five participants who filled out a  survey were eligible to win a gift from Umbra.  Now that’s a great marketing incentive!

Forum By the Numbers:

  • Over 2000 entrepreneurs and small business owners attended
  • 104 tradeshow exhibitors
  • 17 speakers plus keynote, Nadja Piatka
  • Participation in the live social media feed doubled from 2010 activity


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