Roger: Tell me how the idea for the Reviving the Entrepreneurial spirit: Create Wealth & Opportunity in the 21st Century conference came about?
Kay Lucas: The idea came about during a joint brainstorm session with the new Dean of the Montclair State University School of Business – Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite, The Positive Community Magazine, the new Director of the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship and former CEO of Verizon, Dennis Bone and me, representing my company, MediaSense. We were pondering the massively important role that small businesses will play in the formation of our new economy. We are now transitioning from the age of industry to the age of information. Technology is changing the business and economic landscape. Small businesses will the idea generators of the future as they are most able to possess the nimbleness to adapt to our new environment.
Roger: What was your role in creating the conference?
Kay Lucas: MediaSense wore several different hats. I helped design the conference and I helped to execute it. The Positive Community is a long time, highly valued client of MediaSense, but we found wonderful partners in Montclair State University School of Business and the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship.
I feel that the biggest aspect of this conference that differentiated it from others similar symposiums that we were able to provide six highly engaging workshops for small business owners that put them in direct contact with resources that could positively affect their growth and success.
To set the stage, we also hosted a panel, moderated by Dean Chrite that featured some of the leading entrepreneurs in the region, who offered wealth of insight and information to our audience. My company Media Sense also facilitated a workshop on Social Marketing for Small Businesses.
Roger: Who were your guest speakers at the event?
Kay Lucas: Congressman Donald Payne, Jr., New Jersey State Representative and John E. Harmon Sr. both gave keynote addresses that focused on the current small business landscape in New Jersey.
Our panelists included Marjorie Perry, CEO of MZM Construction; Darren Dowdy, CEO of Razac Corporation, Lowell Hawthorne, Founder and CEO of Golden Krust Bakery; Minister Kevin Smallwood, Owner of Two Fishes and Five Loaves Restaurant, in Plainfield, NJ; Dennis Bone, Director for the Feliciano School of Entrepreneurship; Alan Wyosnick, SVP, Business Banking Manager at Wells Fargo Bank; and Maureen Tinen, President of UCEDC, as small business development organization. Michelle Lee, SVP, Regional President of Wells Fargo Bank, our core sponsor, gave opening remarks.
Workshops were hosted by Footsteps Group, UCEDC, Rising Tide Capital, Dfree, Tax DRx, the Greater Newark Enterprise Corporation and my company, MediaSense. We covered everything from finance to accounting/taxes to marketing.
Roger: Media Sense facilitated a workshop about social marketing for small businesses. Why should entrepreneurs get involved with social media and what did your workshop cover?
Kay Lucas: All businesses, regardless of size should be involved in social marketing. This is one of the most powerful tools that a business can use today to drive sales and secure new customers. It also provides validation of the goods and services you provide that resonates as it comes directly from customers and fans. This is one of the ways that technology is revolutionizing business today.
For a small business or start up, it can make the difference of your success by helping you secure your very first one or two customers. This is why it was so important to communicate this information to our audience of budding and blossoming entrepreneurs.
We covered the basic tools you need to conduct and effective social marketing campaign – a strong brand identity, an attractive website landing environment, and finally understanding which social platforms to use depending on the type of business you have.
We concluded by provide some of the secrets to success for social marketing, including the needs to be creative, consistent and responsive to your audience.
Roger: What was the feedback from the conference and what are the plans for the next one?
Kay Lucas: The feedback was truly phenomenal, not only from attendees but from Montclair State University and our panelists and workshop participants. We will continue to host this every year as we evolve in our exploration of the important role of small business in our economic future.
Roger Maloney: Thank you Kay Lucas.
Please give me your feed back comment about a business/social media conference that you have been to. Did you like it? What did you get out of the conference? Love to hear from you.