Thursday, March 31, 2011

Small Biz Need to Share, Collaborate and Network to Grow their Companies

As the number of small businesses in Michigan increases, the opportunities for business owners to gather for education, networking and motivation become increasingly important. To help fulfill that need in southwest Michigan, the Strategic Small Business Initiative (SSBI) is holding its annual small business
conference on Thursday, May 19th at the Kalamazoo Country Club.

Entitled, 'Dream the Work: Work the Dream', the 2011 conference will feature keynote presentations from Jason Rosado, CEO of Distinctive Coaching and internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, Brett Eastburn.

Breakout sessions will include:
- Marketing Basics and What's New in Printing: Cyndee Garrod and Cindy Van Schoyk
- Small Business and Legal Issues: Michael Willis, Willis & Willis
- Creating Business Systems and Policies: Kristi Pavlik, Adonai Business Solutions LLC
- The Digital Cafe: Lauren Sorensen, Page One Rankings
- Finding Financing to Run Your Business: John Schmitt, Michigan SBTDC
- 5 Keys to Successful Financials: Ronen Shefer, ROCG
- Human Resources; The Use of Virtual Assistants: Kristi Pavlik, Adonai Business Solutions LLC
- Franchising 101: Audrey Randall, Paradigm Franchise Group
- Social Media for Your Business: Carl Brown, Iron Shirt Media
- Using Mobile Technology to Grow Your Business: Linda Daichendt, Mobile Technology Association of Michigan

Those interested in attending this year's conference may register at

Early bird rates are currently available. Sponsors for the event include: Page One Rankings, Women's LIfestyle and PostNet, Sturgis.

According to an entrepreneurship fact sheet by the Kauffman Foundation, more than half the companies on the 2009 Fortune 500 list were launched during a recession, along with nearly half of the firms on the 2008 Inc. list of America's fastest-growing companies. Further, per the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial
Activity, 32 percent of adults in the U.S. created a new business each month, equaling approximately 530,000 new businesses nationally on a monthly basis.
Michigan is following this same trend of small business growth during challenging economic periods.

According to a report by the SBA's Michigan District Office, small businesses are becoming increasingly vital contributors to Michigan's economy as the state accelerates its move to a 'new' economy that is less dependent on its traditional major employment sectors such as automotive and durable goods manufacturing. As of 2008 (the most recent data available), small businesses represented 98.4 percent of
the state's employers with an employee base equal to 56.1 percent of the non-farm private sector workforce.

To help ensure southwest Michigan entrepreneurs are able to stay on the path to success, SSBI recommends participation in the upcoming 'Dream the Work: Work the Dream' small business conference, as well as SSBI's year-round agenda of small business programs and resources. More information on SSBI and its programs can be found at Those having questions about the Small Business
Conference 2011 or the SSBI should contact us at

The Strategic Small Business Initiative (The SSBI) is a southwest Michigan- based small business support and networking organization offering: training, support, marketing and relationship building for small business owners. The vision of the SSBI is to create a program / place where small business owners can come to learn, network, and grow their companies. For more information, visit the organization's website at