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I attended the Seattle Local Business Summit hosted by Dex Digital last Wednesday. It was a well-organized and well-attended event. I was amazed by how many small business owners attended and were willing to learn and connect.

Social media and online brand/visibility were the focus. Barry Moltz started the event with delightful energy. A panel discussion followed with a focus on social media and online business. The panelists, Shelton Bernstein, Amber Osborne, Lara Feltin (Biznik), Faith Murphy (Yahoo) and Adam Johns (Google) offered valuable observation on the trends and had suggestions for the business owners. Some tips were captured as follows:

  1. Treat your top five referral partners well and appreciate their efforts.
  2. Find the one employee who is passionate about social media engagement and let him/her take on social media for your biz.
  3. Build mobile into your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy.
  4. Paid advertising creates immediate results and organic SEO takes time in order to have an impact.
  5. There are over 200 algorithms that will calculate a Google ranking. Active engagement is the key.

Barry provided more tips on growing a business after the panel discussion. He gave attendees a book of his “Small Town Rules – How Big Brand and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy”. Three selling rules were mentioned as follows.

  1. People buy when they are in pain and have money to solve their problems.
  2. We can’t sell anything to anyone; we need to be there when they are ready to buy.
  3. If you can’t be found (online), you will never be chosen.

Whitney Keyes also gave away her book “Propel – Amp Up Your Marketing and Accelerate Business” and discussed the ”Five S” in the book with the audience. Her ”Five S” are Strategy, Story, Strength, Simplicity and Speed. She also shared a success story about a small biz owner leveraged Living Social in order to be visible in his field.

What I appreciate about small business owners is that they are open to learn and they can move fast when they are clear about the goals and benefits. In big corporations, too many “stories” can slow down the adoption rate of new technologies. Sometimes, executives are too busy to pick up a new trend or they are too fearful to take on new initiatives when the culture doesn’t allow “failures”.

Barry started the event by saying “Let’s fail and acknowledge that I can fail and bounce back”. That mentality helps small biz owners to explore and learn from their own experience. The invitation “working on your network” also encouraged small biz owners to form relationships and broke the habit of “doing it alone”.

Overall, I am glad that I attended the summit and thank Dex Digital for its contribution to the Seattle community.

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