The Small Business Summit , annual New York event with over 400 attendees (in it’s 8th year being produced in 2013) is produced by Ramon Ray, editor and technology evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com and Regional Development Director of Infusionsoft and Marian Banker, business growth consultant at Prime Strategies.
The Small Business Technology Tour (6 city national tour, in it’s 4th year of being produced) is produced by Ramon Ray.
Why did NMX make this purchase?
Why did Ramon and Marian sell the Summit?
What is the Small Business Summit and Small Business Technology Tour?
What are 8 lessons small business owners & entrepreneurs can learn from this purchase and sale?
NMX is the leading event producer for all things digital content and social media. NMX growth continues beyond digital media professionals to business professionals, small business owners and entrepreneurs, overall. This announcement clearly showcases BlogWorld’s desire to lay the foundation of this growth.
In specific regard to the Small Business Summit and the Small Business Technology Tour, BlogWorld has watched what Ramon has built over the years and observed how he has been able, with few resources to build a powerful ecosystem of events (and content) in the small business space, largely focused on technology. With the purchases announced today, BlogWorld is buying two great events, and is able to partner with Ramon to leverage his experience in producing events and content for small businesses. BlogWorld looks forward to taking what Ramon has done and growing it event more. Ramon looks forward to learning from the BlogWorld team and working with them to reach more small businesses.
In 2005, Ramon Ray, editor and technology evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com and Marian Banker, business growth consultant at Prime Strategies met each other at a business event and did the usual “business card exchange” and introduced themselves to each other.
During the conversation both expressed a desire to produce an event bringing together the small business community. In 2006 they produced the first Small Business Summit.
They knew an event like this takes a lot of time, energy, a team to help execute the event, and money. The money for an event like this comes from attendees (ticket sales) who see value in attending the event and sponsors who see value in sponsoring the event to generate sales or increase brand awareness for their product or service.
Little did Ramon and Marian know that the Summit would be strong and profitable for 8 years as of 2013.
So, why sell the Summit?
Marian’s focus has shifted to develop a community for active seniors. Ramon felt it was the right time to work with a partner who could take the Summit and grow it even more.
In regard to the Small Business Technology Tour, Ramon felt that it was time for the Tour to GROW. He knows that with BlogWorld’s larger resources, the Tour will reach more small businesses than ever before.
Started in 2006 with about 300 attendees, the Summit now attracts over 400 attendees and is one of the leading events focused on small businesses in the NY area and possibly the nation. The Summit is an all day event whose speakers have included Seth Godin, Chris McCann (President, 1800 Flowers) and many others. In addition to key note speakers, the Summit has included powerful panels of insight for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Created in 2010, the Small Business Technology Tour educates small business owners in how to leverage technology as a tool to grow their businesses. Cities have included Miami, San Francisco, Mountain View, Boston, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Washington DC. At each city stop, this all day tour brings great speakers and discussion to local small business owners. The speakers include national and local speakers.
BlogWorld will grow the Small Business Summit and Small Business Technology Tour even larger and better, in all aspects.
- Small business is big business
- Small businesses can do big things
- Personal branding matters
- Finding the right partner is critical
- A good team can do anything
- Be willing to take smart risks and learn
- Be a giver
- Have fun
Small business is indeed big business
Today’s purchase announcement shows that the small business space (be it events, content, media) is a very hot market.
Sponsors – Large companies such as Dell, Google, Intuit, Microsoft, Verizon Wireless, Bank of America and Salesforce (all sponsors of small business focused events and a sample of companies sponsoring the Small Business Summit) are keen to connect with small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Event producers – BlogWorld’s purchase of these two events (Small Business Summit and Small Business Technology Tour) indicate that the market for producing events, geared toward small businesses is only going to get more competitive.
Attendees – The longevity and continued attendance of these events clearly shows that small business owners are HUNGRY to continuously learn how to grow their business and network with each other.
Small businesses can do big things
Ramon has produced a number of successful events, including the Small Business Influencer Awards (co-produced with Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends), Small Business Summit and Small Business Technology Tour. These events are all produced on a scrappy budget with a small team of other small businesses. Overall, it’s very small businesses, doing big things, by working together, innovating and being strategic.
In producing events, Ramon says that virtual worker management services such as Elance are invaluable for finding expert assistance. Online collaboration and communication tools such as Google Apps or Microsoft Office365 or other similar tools are absolutely essential in bringing together remote professionals who need to operate as one.
Personal branding matters
Rick Calvert, co-founder of BlogWorld said, “Ramon we’re buying the events you’ve produced, but more importantly we’re buying and betting on you”. Over the years, Ramon has been able to build and leverage his personal brand. This purchase, by BlogWorld is clear proof that for very small businesses, focusing on a logo is not most important. What’s most important is being “out there”, getting press, being online, and more. Check out Ramon’s slide on personal branding here.
Finding the right partner is critical
Building a thriving business alone is hard work. Finding the right partner who can complement and not detract is not easy.
Marian Banker is a methodical, detailed planing, MBA, business strategist.
Ramon Ray is a quick reacting, creative, technology guru with a fast laugh.
Together, this diverse team, built a thriving business, the Small Business Summit. Never an argument, profitable from day one, informing (and entertaining) thousands of business professionals, building relationships with dozens of awesome sponsors and more. This was an amazing partnership with perfectly complimentary skill sets.
A good team can do anything
Ramon and Marian led the Small Business Summit but the Summit would not have been the success it has been to date, nor been an asset valuable enough to be purchased by BlogWorld, were it not for the incredible team that help produce the Small Business Summit. This team includes:
Laura Leites, L2 Event Production (Event manager)
Andy Schulkind, Andigo New Media (Web site development)
Jeffrey Siegel, EZ Data Solutions (who worked on the first Summit registration system)
Beth Silver, Doubet Consulting (Marketing and branding)
Jeffrey Holmes (Jeffrey Holmes Photography)
Sarah Sawya, Sassafras Design Services
Richard Paul, Twin Goat Media
Ramon expresses thanks to Asish, Jibin and John for their help as the first Summit production logistics team.
Be willing to take smart risks and learn
Ramon can remember when he was on the call with Intuit, discussing their sponsorship in the first Small Business Summit in 2006.
Two of the questions he clearly remembers: “Can you guarantee 300 people will attend”. “Have you done this kind of event before”. Ramon’s answer to both questions was a slow and painful “No”.
A few weeks later Intuit, joining Intel, become one of the founding sponsors of the Small Business Summit.
Intuit took a strategic and calculated risk to sponsor the Summit, just like Ramon and Marian took many risks to produce the first Summit.
Without a full deck of sponsors and having never before produced an event like this, Ramon and Marian took all their credit cards and put thousands of dollars on the line as security deposit for hotels and other things.
Sometimes people are afraid to take risks. This fear keeps them from realizing their full potential.
Be a giver
One of the successful strategies of the Small Business Summit (and the Small Business Technology Tour) was giving back to the community. Marian and Ramon made a concentrated effort to always include, at low cost or for free, organizations in the local NY area that support small businesses. They in turn were quite willing to support the Summit – helping to bring in hundreds of business professionals each year. Ramon is a giver in his personal life as well – giving hundreds of hours of time advising business professionals in how to grow their own businesses.
One of the traits of the Small Business Summit is that it’s a high energy, fast paced day filled with action and fun. If you take yourself too seriously you won’t be able to ENJOY what you’re doing. But if you ensure there is some element of fun in everything you do, you’ll do it well. While everyone might not have a big budget to do a lot of fancy things, in regard to event production, everyone can have fun.