Building partnerships at Vaughan Business-to-Business Expo
Exhibiting at the Vaughan Business-to-Business Expo in February 2015 was a great experience that shaped the way I run my business. I started NewPath Consulting part-time in 2010. We provide small businesses with simple, highly effective marketing and business software at an affordable monthly subscription fee.
After five years, I started to run the business full-time and incorporated in February 2015. When I was looking for business development opportunities, booking a booth at the Vaughan Business-to-Business Expo was a good idea. We are located in Thornhill and the Expo provided access to local potential clients and is a fraction of the cost of other shows. Exhibiting at the Expo was easy and yielded positive results beyond my expectations.
At the Expo, representatives from The Centre for Education and Training (TCET) introduced us to the Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG) training. This was a good fit for one of our customers. We partnered with TCET right after the show. Developing and delivering training became a new income stream for us.
The Expo is a great opportunity for any small business in Vaughan to network with more than 100 local businesses. Companies will find potential customers at the booths right on the show floor. Attending the Expo is a cost-effective marketing opportunity for small businesses. We look forward to growing our relationship with the City of Vaughan and the business community by being a corporate sponsor this year.
Here are a few tips to maximize your Vaughan Business-to-Business Expo experience:
- Come prepared: bring business cards and any printed material and samples.
- Polish that elevator pitch: in the time it takes an elevator to go up one floor you should be able to explain what problem your company solves and how you stand out from your competition. A strong elevator pitch will stimulate curiosity in the listener and open up the conversation. Take time to practice this before you go.
- Look at the floor plan: see who is exhibiting so you can decide which booths are most important to visit and network with.
- Set a goal: decide who and how many people you want to talk to before you arrive at the Expo.
- Just listen: unanticipated opportunities may present themselves. It’s a lot easier to spot them when you’re listening and thinking about how you can help improve others’ businesses.
- Have two people at your booth: one person should be at the booth while the other walks the floor to encourage people to visit your booth.
- Follow up immediately: send out LinkedIn invitations and schedule phone calls for follow-up as soon as you can. You may not do business with these contacts now, but you want to keep the connections active.
I’ve found these to be effective tactics for getting the most out of expos. Please drop by our booth to say hello and let me know if they worked for you.
Alex Sirota, Director and Founder
Visit the City of Vaughan’s website at vaughan.ca.