It may have happened a week ago or a decade ago, but most every small-business owner can tell you exactly when they had the “Gulp!” moment.
That’s the time when the excitement, optimism, and euphoria of starting their businesses suddenly gave way to a breath-stealing, temple-throbbing, sweat-inducing panic.
“It’s when they say, Oh, my god … what have I done?” laughs Pat Boulay, publisher of New Business Minnesota, a monthly magazine that focuses on new entrepreneurs and start-up companies. “It’s what happens with every new business, usually when they've got problems and need to solve them fast.”
Launching even a relatively simple business can be remarkably complex. There are all kinds of important financial, organizational, and practical questions to be answered. There are plans to be laid and weighty decisions to be made.
In the beginning, aspiring entrepreneurs are often surprised to find that they don't know everything they need to know. Or they discover that they are not very skilled at key aspects of their business. They tend to need a whole lot of professional advice. Trouble is, they often have no idea where to turn to get the counsel the need.
To help business newbies get over the post-startup panic and get down to business faster and with more confidence, New Business Minnesota is sponsoring a Small Business Resource Expo on Tuesday, May 13, from 2:30 to 6 p.m. at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center.
This year’s show features 50 exhibitors who provide the basics that every new or aspiring entrepreneur needs to start off on the right foot: banking, accounting, and legal services; data, telecommunications, marketing, web-design and social media; office and facilities location services; and personnel, payroll and human resources.
Besides the range of exhibitors, the scale and pace of the expo are also important advantages. Unlike larger events that can seem more like speed-dating for businesses (two-minutes at a booth and then move on), the Small Business Resource Expo focuses on providing a slower-paced, more personal atmosphere. There are no speakers. No breakout sessions. No rush. No crush.
“We know people are coming here for solutions. They want to get some help, they want to find an opportunity,” says Boulay. “That takes time. It takes someone who’s willing to sit down and talk to you for a while. That’s exactly what you get here. It’s a great business-to-business environment. There’s time and room to talk. You’re not elbow-to-elbow with thousands of other people.”
Boulay likes to think of the expo as the perfect prescription for everything that ails small-biz start-ups. It can take the indigestion out of your big "Gulp!" moment. And it's the perfect pain reliever when business headaches become too frequent or severe. No matter the problem, there are experts who can help make it better. Just tell them where it hurts.
The expo is free if you register in advance by Monday, May 12. Admission at the door is $15 the day of the event.
Participants at the Small Business Resource Expo talk about the benefits of the event.