I was lucky to attend an event hosted by the New York Small Business Development Center on Thursday of last week. The event was called "The Encore Entrepreneur: Your Second Career" and it was chock full of awesome information and wound up being a great networking event for me, my company The Next Step and for my upcoming Entrepreneurship course with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning.
The Small Business Development Center for New York has offices locally on Staten Island and the representatives from there were all knowledgeable, helpful and willing to help all of us business owners take our next step. I have a meeting set up to go over my own business plan and a few other helpful things in a few weeks - see, even the teacher can be helped by others. One thing I have to say is that you can never know how to do everything and that is why it is so important to build that network and to have help or even a fresh pair of eyes to review and help you, too. No one is too advanced to not need help.
The speakers were excellent. Hands down - excellent. Ms. Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio, the founder of Six Figure Start, really shared how she runs her business and other great hints on marketing, networking and more. She spoke to us about the decision she made to become an entrepreneur 8 years ago despite being the head of campus hiring at Merrill Lynch and also about how happy she is to have made the jump to being an entrepreneur. She really was an inspiring speaker. On a personal note, I really felt a connection to her and look forward to seeing her again and to hopefully count her as one of my mentors in the future.
Mr. Solomon Chemo spoke on behalf of his own business as a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) and he spoke about the things entrepreneurs need to know re financial management, retirement planning and even exit strategies and insurance policies. I loved hearing him talk about his dad who built a business from scratch as an immigrant to this country and how at one point his dad did not see eye to eye with Mr Chemo re his decision to go into business for himself as a CFP.
At this point, we already got so much but there was still more - a panelist group including the speakers and a representative from the Small Business Administration Ms. Teri Coaxume and a few more financial services representatives from Santander Bank, a small micro-lending organization and a franchise attorney. We all were able to ask questions and get honest, well-thought out answers. For instance, my question was about how to allocate marketing dollars (which are limited, of course) to get the most value. All of the panelists had awesome answers but especially Ms. Thanasoulis-Cerrachio who gave me wonderful advice about using tele-seminars to help build out my business reach, which I will be doing soon. And Ms. Coaxume talked about blogging and sharing, which made me feel great because that is a big part of how I drive both traffic and clients to my site.
The event was well-run and super informative - and when it was over, there was time to network and meet new people who are all entrepreneurial whether they were just beginning or it was their second or third iteration of being in business for themselves. There were a lot of young people there who had spent 5-10 years in Corporate America and now were moving into being their own bosses with new technology innovations and other super exciting ventures and ideas. I wish them all luck and I hope to see some of them in my class on Entrepreneurship.
What do you think about events held by agencies like this? Have you ever gone to such events? Would you go after hearing my positives about it? Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen