Monday 24th September was the first ever Micro Business Show. I’d been looking forward to this Midlands-based event, created for the freelance, self-employed and micro business community and it didn’t disappoint.
The show was organised by business owners Nichola Kelsey (Welcombe Productions), Karen Heap (Orchard Business Development) and Rebecca Jones (Glory Design). They wanted to create an event catering specifically to the needs of micro businesses – and cater they did.
I couldn’t sum up the day in a tweet, so here’s a blog about it instead.
Setting the scene…
The venue was Hogarths hotel in Dorridge, Solihull – a luxury 4* hotel in a picturesque spot surrounded by countryside. I hadn’t been before as you’ll gather from the below…!
To reach the hotel you turn off a main road and follow a lane all the way to the end where Hogarths awaits you. Don’t do what I did and think you’ve taken a wrong turn, turn around halfway up the lane, only to then see someone you know who’s going to the event heading back the way you’ve just been. I blame the Sat Nav…
Anyway, after my slight navigational hiccup, I arrived (at least I now know where it is for the future!). This photo doesn’t do Hogarths justice… (I’ll leave the photography to David Fawbert, the official event photographer).
Warm welcome and event programme
One thing that struck me, aside from the warm welcome of course, was the event programme. It was clear lots of thought had gone into creating it – an enjoyable read. It included practical information, complete with top tips for networking and prompts with space to write down your thoughts. Nice touch, especially for those who aren’t seasoned business show goers. Can we also take a second to appreciate the design?!
Learning useful stuff for my business
There were five seminars during the day covering a range of topics from marketing to protecting your intellectual property. I went along to two:
- Marketing your micro business – Karen Heap, owner of Orchard Business Development talked about how to get the best from your marketing as a micro business, particularly since most micro businesses also tend to have a micro budget! Coming from a marketing background, I’m always keen to learn more and it was a really useful session with lots of actionable tips. In Karen’s wise words:
- Cyber Security – Ant McGhie, Digital Engagement Manager at Barclays talked us through some of the main cyber threats. It highlighted the importance of looking after your data online. We were shown a range of short videos, like this one… scary, isn’t it?! Simple tasks, like creating strong passwords, can really help with online security
Meeting new faces, catching up with familiar faces
It was great to speak to such a range of micro businesses…social media marketing, photography, investment, art, printing, personal development, virtual PA, speech and language therapy, wellbeing, I.T., business networks and copywriting…to name just some.
There was a real buzz in the exhibitor area – big enough to chat to lots of businesses but small enough for it to feel personal and approachable. There was also plenty of space, so you weren’t squashed in like sardines! I had some great conversations and came away feeling better connected to the micro business community. You’re often a one man/woman band as a micro business, so relationships like these are important. I was approached about some work too which is always good!
There was also an I.T. clinic where you could share any techy concerns with Mandy from Purple Mouse.
On top of this was a dedicated networking zone with three facilitated sessions as well as drop-ins…I didn’t actually get to any of them as I lost track of time chatting in the exhibitor area (clearly a good sign), so will have to get to one next time!
What else did I learn? That I’m rubbish at origami! One of the stands had an origami challenge and my bird looked a little worse for wear. I’ll stick to writing I think…
A great day of learning and networking. To top it all off, the sun was out! Thanks to Nichola, Karen and Rebecca for such a great event. Sign me up for next year, please!
Find out more about the event at themicrobusinessshow.co.uk or search for #microbizshow on Twitter.