This is an exciting week of activities for the Chamber of Commerce. I encourage all of you that are involved in a local business to take part and enjoy the programming offered. Between the Small Business of the Year Awards Breakfast and Luncheon, the Business EXPO at the Patriot Center followed by the largest PM get together of the year, a Legislators Lunch and a quality panel discussion about Innovation, there is plenty of opportunity to meet new people through networking opportunities, learn and tell the story of your particular company. As this year’s Chamber Board Chairman, I am proud of the work the staff has done to prepare for these events and look forward to seeing you there.
If you have never been to the Small Business EXPO (boasting around 200 exhibitors in 2011), you may find yourself a bit overwhelmed upon arrival. Here are a few tips to maximize your Small Business EXPO experience:
1. Make sure to bring 50 business cards. Exhibitors often collect them for giveaways and you will likely meet at least 10 new people while walking around the booths.
2. Upon your arrival, take a look at the exhibitor map and circle any businesses that could be potential clients, customers or partners. Be sure to visit those booths first.
3. Follow-up with new contacts at the Business PM (social hour following the EXPO) and introduce yourself to as many people as possible. The people in the “red coats” are Chamber Ambassadors and they want to help you connect. So, find one of them, explain who you’d like to meet and see who you meet!
4. After the EXPO is over, take 20 minutes to make a list of new contacts you’d like to follow-up with. Invite them to connect via LinkedIn, or an old-fashioned cup of coffee. Then, be sure to follow-through in the coming weeks.