As a Road Warrior sometimes my trips take place in my hometown of Vancouver. In this case I actually got on my bike, put on the helmet and crossed the controversial Burrard Street bridge, found parking at the Fairmount Hotel and attended the SOHO fall conference (I'm not big on acronyms but it stands for Small Office / Home Office - which is what I am, I think, therefor I am?)
There are so many trade shows, conferences and associations that you can join so how do you know which ones are right for you?
I struggle with this all the time since I'm a self employed professional with strong links to several companies.
So I trotted off to this conference, paying my $10.00 (a discounted rate as Canada Post sponsored the event).
Just for a couple of hours....was it worth it?
For me yes - the presentation put on by Canada Post/Venture One on direct mail was insightful, gave me some additional resources that I will find useful and gave me some ideas that I can offer up to my clients.
I only caught the tail end of another presentation but it was on goal setting - prospecting, building value of existing customers, and closing business. It was another session I wish I had attended from the start. And while I'm not in day in/day out sales, sales are still a valuable measure of my performance in a marketplace.
There was a small trade show - the hard part sometimes is walking by a booth and wondering what the hell are they offering.
Several caught my attention (and since I'm trying to cut down on the amount of paper I pick up I'm writing this post so I won't forget about the ones I want to check out).
www.trailblazersystem.com Sounds like a decent on-line coaching/guidance program geared to entrepreneurs & self-employed professionals.
The join SOHO now regular rate $149/year now only $111.75 - www.soho.ca/offers and www.mysohoworld.com
Junior Achievement of BC Volunteer Program. I used to be a member of Junior Achievement way back when and it intrigues me that it is still being offered. The program snapshot page I picked up doesn't have a website but it does tell me it is sponsored by Odlum Brown.
Park n Fly - two complimentary days parking - you just never know when these might come in handy - but I have to be a member to get this one. (and in this case I have to keep the form and fax it to their offices - that for some reason seems a bit old-fashioned to me but I still have a fax machine that I can turn on. Fax form to 604-273-0279
SMARTT - (which actually is the company that hosts my website) had a booth so it was great to see real people. I've always been able to get through to them and while my needs are small I'm been happy with the service. Mind you I do pay $32 / month which works out to almost $400 per year. And this is where I start to get confused - how many services do I have or need? Between Smartt, blogs, squarespace, telus, rogers it does get a bit frightful. Anyhow they have a free offer www.smartt.com/freebook - the 6 week online business makeover - SEO & e-marketing for small business.
Several Canadian government agencies were represented Canadian Intellectual Property Office (an agency of Industry Canada). www.opic.ic.gc.ca oops the English one is www.cipo.ic.gc.ca - file online, search IP databases and learn about IP (patents, trademarks, copywrits, industrial designs and integrated circuit topographies - what the heck is that?)