SOHO/SME Toronto Roundup
October seems to be Conference Month for me. The first one on the circuit was the SOHO|SME Business Conference & Expo. The conference, whose focus is Small Office Home Office "For Businesses On The Grow", was held in Toronto last week and is going to be in Vancouver for its 11th year on October 30th.
As an entrepreneur running a home office for the last 10 years this conference is designed for me. I went looking for new ideas on keeping things organised, managing remote teams, and of course gadgets. I love my tech toys.
The morning Keynote session started with Yahoo! Canada's Maor Daniel's fact-filled presentation discussing the opportunities for Canadians to market better online. Lots of info on Canadian online usage stats, SEO tips, and of course a little Yahoo! sell. Best comment? "Marketers aren't leading, they're following consumers online" (BTW, Maor made his presentation available for One Degree readers, and you can see it below.)
The Entrepreneur Success Panel -- Ray Civello of AVEDA, Cam Heaps & Greg Taylor of Steam Whistle Brewing and Kerry Knee of Flirty Girl Fitness -- were all pretty clear that, business plan or not, clarity of vision, a unique offering and tenacity are really the things that will drive you to success... well that and some catchy marketing. Actually their marketing message was pretty clear too - everything you do is a marketing activity, so make sure every gesture, choice and breath reinforces the brand image you want. I think Ray Civello summed it up when he said: "Dream big and tell everybody about it!"
Another inspirational kick-in-the-butt, came from Loretta LaRoche, who said "we talk about what we can't do, more than what we can." She added "if you spent as much time creating an intention and building the attributes you need to do it - you'd do it!"
My gadget fix for the day came from Mike Agerbo from GetConnected TV. He took us through some cool new tools and toys that will let the SOHOer leave the office behind - mojopac.com, gotomypc, MyBook, Mionet, data deposit box, umpc, zoho, and of course u3 technology.
I liked the fact that as opposed to most SOHO-targeted shows I've attended, the event and exhibitors seemed fairly B2B-focused rather than "small"- and "home"- focused. It was a nice shift and created a positive and professional environment.
Though I must say, I don't think opening the bar before all the presentations are complete is really a smart move. Even the last speaker didn't show up in his presentation room until 75 minutes after it was supposed to start.
---register online for a free tradeshow pass.