I had the pleasure of attending the first 2014 Small and Medium Business Exchange at the Toronto Regional Board of Trade. It was an inspiring and educational event that featured a keynote discussion panel led by George Babu Director, OMERS Ventures. His diverse background as once an entrepreneur and now as a Venture Capitalist made him an excellent moderator and very approachable to the other entrepreneurs in the room.
Troy Fraser COO, Keek Inc. and Michele Romanow Co-Founder, Buytopia & SnapSaves took part in the panel as well. They had very unique paths towards their success and different points of view regarding funding specifically around when and how one should seek it out. I immediately levitated to Michele’s story as it involved the bootstrapping approach to new business and the smart and dedicated way a new business needs to use its seed money to achieve near immediate market establishment and revenue generation.
The rest of the morning was filled with interesting presentations by Square and Powered by Search. Innovative ways for small business to use social media and different ways to promote using internet market dominated the conversations but a pleasantly surprising underlying theme to each of the talks was the importance of being aware and focussed on brand first and marketing execution and tatctics second. Bobby from Kitten and The Bear highlighted this very well and you can tell when you visit his store and see their overall visual presence.
Branding for new business may seem out of reach but a solid flexible brand strategy, identity and communication tools is more accessible now than ever before. You just need the right partner to help you through it.
It was a fantastic morning filled with great networking and inspiration conversations. I’m looking forward to the next SMBX event on June 6, 2014 at Toronto Region Board of Trade.