Another Chamber Business Expo in St Joseph County is complete, and from the attendance, it appears to once again be a successful event for businesses. The Business Expo is definitely the biggest networking and business showcase event of the year, but I am always curious in the value businesses and the people get out of it. I do believe it is a valuable event for those that have a booth to get their name and products or services in front of hundreds of people. It is also a great opportunity for those of us in business development to make some new connections and revisit and strengthen others.
This was my 8th Chamber Expo event, and typically I try to circulate through the entire show, check into people I know and look for interesting businesses. I seldom make it through the entire show as I inevitably run into several people I recognize and take time to chat with everyone. I walk down a couple aisles, have multiple conversations, and before I know it, it’s time for me to hit the door and pick up my kids.
This year I tried a different tactic, which I admit, should have been my tactic years ago. This year I looked down the list of vendor companies and highlighted those that I wanted to make a new connection with or those that I wanted to make sure I said hello to. These were all companies or people that I thought could directly help my business grow either through referrals new client relationships. I knew my time at the show was going to be short so I chose those that were new to me.
Going into the Expo with this highlighted map gave me a plan to focus on and something that I could look at after and know that I had made the best use of my time. While I was unable to visit every business that I had highlighted, I was able to visit a few and make some new connections. As always, I ran into several people that I hadn’t seen in a while and could have easily spent another hour at the event. When it came time for me to leave, it still took me another 15 minutes to make it to the exit as I continued to visit with people I passed by. However, because of my planning prior to the Expo, I was able to make those most desirable connections.
Did you plan for the event and how successful do you think you were?