Every year, NYS holds two large MWBE events in Albany NY. The first one gives MWBE’s the opportunity to showcase their businesses with them behind the booth marketing products and services. The second, which is coming in October, State agencies and prime contractors are the ones behind the booth. Of the two, I found that the latter give you more flexibility to network and attend the various workshops.
Marketing is a critical part of your business and you’ll need to pick and chose what events to attend that make sense. From my perspective, having attended both, going as an attendee is the way to go. It is more cost effective and allows you to be more strategic with your marketing dollars. Having the time to attend important workshops and networking with your target agencies can be a great deal more fruitful than waiting for the right person to stop by your both to have that conversation. I’ve found that the earlier event is more of a gamble if you need to be thrifty, as many of the agency reps that are walking around walk past your booth as they may either be looking for something specific or just don’t want to engage. They have the option to keep walking. But, when they’re in a booth, or walking the floor just like you, you can step up and engage them.
There a general rule of thumb when it comes to sales. It’s all about the numbers. You have to engage at least 10-20 prospects in hope of landing 1 opportunity. The other rule is that people like to do business with people they know. If you don’t get to meet enough people and talk to them about your business, opportunities may pass you by, just like the agency reps that walk past your booth. When you’re at events, you can’t sit around and wait and that is why the event in October is the better of the two.
If you decide to go and stay for both days, keep in mind that the first day will be your busiest and most important. Bring an associate from your company and try to reach as many people as possible. You may also find that there are after hour networking with potential clients or teaming partners. Many times, the best networking gets done in the evening after the event as people want to get to know you and loosen up a bit in a more social atmosphere.
The second day is relatively short, as people packed up their luggage and many leave early after wrapping up any business. Try to find the people you may have missed on the first day as early as possible then wrap up for the day with any workshops that are remaining. Good luck and have fun while your there.
You can find the event information here: https://www.nysmwbeforum.org/index.html