Monty’s Memos: San Francisco ASBDC Conference Review
San Francisco is a densely populated city with a large tourism market in a very scenic Pacific Coast setting. There are some serious hills to navigate as I learned last month when my wife made an unusual bucket list fulfillment request, requiring me to drive her down Lombard Street, known as one of the world’s steepest and crookedest streets. I’m not too fond of urban driving, but it was a memorable experience to drive some of the streets of San Francisco. We were in California so that I could participate in America’s SBDC (ASBDC) 2015 conference in San Francisco.
ASBDC organizes the annual event where 1500 SBDC business advisors, directors, supporting organizations and associates gather together to learn best practices, hear from small business experts and observe new industry trends. There are three full days of workshop choices for attendees and I’m always disappointed that I have to miss a few of them.
Conferences are a mix of fun and work. It’s fun to be off-site from your home territory and get to see a city from a visitor’s viewpoint. Evenings and the weekend allow us to engage in some tourist related activities. Advisors are always eager to see how other small business communities function. It’s also a lot of work because the schedule is full and the pace is active. There are a lot of people to engage with.
There is also the expense of travel and the loss of scheduled work time. This is why many professionals and entrepreneurs don’t attend conferences. I usually come home from a conference tired and in want of some down time… But it’s rare that I don’t come home excited with a new list of ways for me to improve myself professionally. This is the core benefit of a conference… To become motivated to perform at a higher standard.
This year’s ASBDC experience was different for me as I was honored to be selected as a workshop presenter. Mine was in the first 8:00 AM round of Day One workshops. I greatly enjoy speaking and this involvement helped me to ratchet up a notch by engaging with a different type of audience – my peers and superiors. If you follow me on Twitter (@montysmemos) – you know that I love good quotes.
Here are a few of my favorites from the conference:
- People need to be reminded
- Very few workshops are impacted by cost. Over 50% of “cannot attends” are based on date
- 39% of U.S. businesses don’t have websites
- Good subject lines have a great impact on success rates with email marketing
- The specialty food market was valued at $109B in 2014
- One of the best options to reach middle class in America is to be engaged in small business
- Customers want to do business with those they feel good about. The maker movement exemplifies this.
- You can’t apologize for making money in your business
- Registration forms should be short and simple
- People would rather do business with an expert than a salesperson
- If it’s just cheap rent, then it’s NOT an incubator!
- Everyone on the Internet is lazy and has ADD
- By 2020, 40% of the workforce will be self employed
- 41% of small business owners are lonely
- 95% of the world’s consumers live outside of our borders, but only 1% of our #SmallBiz are selling to them
- Busy day one at work as a business advisor after returning from #2015sbdc conference. Already used a lot of tips gained from attending.
Sometimes we have to attend an hour’s worth of meetings to obtain that one brief vital piece of information that we came for. Conferences in reality become as valuable as you make them.