COM0015: Assignment 5: Event Participation

I participated in New Entrepreneur of Ottawa Networking event on September 24th, 2013. This event was a trade show of services to help entrepreneurs get started or get that final push to starting their businesses, as well as a talk on how to attract and retain customers. Although I was not in need of any help starting a business, I always like to hear of new ways to attract customers and different strategies on how to retain them.

As most of the services there were for startups, it was difficult for me to find someone to talk to that was not there to start their business or trying to help someone to start one. I did however, find Jarrod Goldsmith, an

Me at the NEON event

Me at the NEON event

entertainer in Ottawa. In speaking with him, I found that he was planning to host a networking event in October at Lago Bar & Grill called ‘e-Sax’, or ‘The Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience’.  His event will take place October 9th, 2013. I had previously met Jarrod at the Ottawa Wedding show. He manages a group of saxophonists who play at events and I was there as a wedding photographer.

“It doesn’t matter where you are with your business, we could all use some networking.” – Jarrod Goldsmith, NEON event Fall 2013

I couldn’t agree more!

My husband also attended the event, he is a magician and owner of . So he was able to meet Jarrod and we all talked about the importance of creating a strong network. After speaking to Jarrod, we sat down to listen to the lecture of the keynote speaker, Harpreet Singh of Zoho Consulting.

Mr. Singh delved mostly in to the importance of networking in marketing and business.

Mr Singh addressing the crowd.

Mr Singh addressing the crowd.

“Nothing can beat networking, it’s all about building a relationship.”

–       H. Singh, NEON event Fall 2013

He stressed the importance of having a holistic approach to marketing. You can’t just focus on telling your customers and potential customers about the services you offer. Informing them is important, but you must also engage them and energize them. It is all about perception. If they perceive the value of your services, it doesn’t matter what you charge. By having a holistic approach, you will be perceived as a well-rounded expert in your business and be sought out.

After Mr. Singh, we listened to three different Ottawa local business owners and how they started their businesses. Each of them had a different approach to what they were doing, which made sense since they were all in very different trades. Andryi Azarov is the owner of Canaflora, an online flower shop, Francois Desnaulniers owns Accurate Shelving and Amira Abdalla is the owner of two Shopper’s Drug Mart stores in Ottawa. By sharing their experiences, the audience was able to ask questions related to where they want their businesses to be in a few years.

I will absolutely attend another event like this in the future. It is a chance to network with like-minded people in a learning environment, for free. In fact, I’ve been browsing EventBrite looking for similar events that my husband and I can attend. Since we both own our own businesses, it is important to stay informed and explore new ways of connecting and marketing ourselves. As Mr. Peter Stewart of Entrepreneurship Services said during his introductions to the evening, “There can be lots of great ideas, but if you don’t have customers, you won’t be successful.” Networking, holistic marketing and social media integration with a holistic approach means that people feel like they are being informed and energized rather than a target of business purely for sales.

My husband and I listening intently.

My husband and I listening intently.

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