by Shatoria Means (Guest Blogger)
YPN gave away so much knowledge at the Business Expo that was held on November 18, 2017!! If you are a small business owner and you were not in the building you missed out! I mean, so much knowledge. Ok, ok… Not trying to pull a guilt trip on you.The panel discussions were very beneficial. Now, I’ve attended quite a few events that were in the form of a panel discussion. I often thought to myself, “I could have lived without 3 long winded speakers”. Sometimes having one speaker will do the trick and provide the audience with the necessary information. However, I was pleasantly surprised that each panelist brought a unique and necessary piece to every discussion. What was also refreshing was the willingness of the panelists to engage with the audience after the session. I had no idea how many nuggets of information I would be blessed with. I attended the conference with my 7 year old daughter who’s easily entertained by watching silly slime making videos on YouTube. So when I did my checklist, I ensured I had my cell phone, breath mints, and some cash for the vendors. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring a note pad so I was forced to write a few take aways on Quick Memo on my phone. Of course this totally interrupted my daughter and her video watching. I got so much sideye from her. Here are a few notes from the second panel discussion:
– You need a business plan.
– How are you going to grow your wealth?
– Everyone is not your client.
While the panelists were speaking I couldn’t help but notice the Baptist church-like “hmmm mmm” being mumbled in the background or the audience nodding in agreement. It was evident that the audience members were taking in the knowledge. I could also sense that the were assured that their experiences weren’t isolated. This Expo not only provided knowledge, but a sense of community and support. After the two panel discussions, we were shown to a different room where the vendors were set up. Although the discussions exceeded my expectations, I was disappointed in this portion of the day. There wasn’t enough participants. Period. I’m not sure if there was a fee to participate as a vendor. If so, this may have attributed to the lack of participation. However, if the fee was FREE or minimal, please see above. Nevermind, I’ll repeat it… If you are a small business owner and you were not in the building you missed out! The vendors sold items ranging from jewelry and hair care products to signs for your small business and everything in between. I was able to find some (reasonably priced) goodies for both myself and my daughter. The vendors that were present were so personable and I truly appreciated that most of them were small business owners.
The event closed with a Pitch Competition. The competition was the final step in the Minority Business Expo, Forum and Pitch Competition. Contestants pitched their business ideas to a panel. I was really impressed by the presentation. I mean, really impressed!! YPN is like a hidden gem for business owners! With this being only the 2nd Business Expo, I am really excited to see what’s in store for next year!