I’ve been attending the Score Women’s Networking Breakfasts, each month, since 2004. When I started networking at the breakfast, there were two breakfasts each month, one in North County, one in Mission Valley. Each drew approximately 30-35 attendees.
It was November 2006 when we had the first joint breakfast. Shortly after that, Score made a change, one networking breakfast, every other month, centrally located at Morgan Run. It was a stroke of genius. The breakfast became a “never miss networking event” for me and the attendance grew to 160 business women. (ok, and some men)
Anyone in the business community knows I’ve been an advocate of this breakfast. I think it’s one of the jewels of our small business community. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I take pictures and tweet them up with a link to the business as a way of helping introduce the North San Diego Business community at each breakfast. Hence, my decision to step up and ask Score a few questions about the future of the breakfast after attending it Friday, given the attendance was 101 and not quite as many exhibitors as any recent breakfast.
It’s customary when asking a professional speaker to provide a 45 minute, pro bono, presentation, especially where there are exhibit tables being sold, to offer the speaker an exhibit (or speaker’s) table at the event. Score has decided to adopt their workshop policy of forbidding the presenter from marketing their business, thus Carolyn Gross was not offered an opportunity to share her products with the attendees…..of course, she could have purchased an exhibit table. This just doesn’t make sense.
These are my concerns.
- Those of us who attend regularly realize that the exhibit tables for these breakfasts sell out immediately.
- If you want a table, you need to purchase it ahead of time.
- Having a robust exhibit area offers the attendees the opportunity to meet other business owners and network with them.
- Having a large number of attendees offers the exhibitors tremendous value for their marketing dollars spent, and in turn, becomes a great event to exhibit your business.
As I see it, the exhibitors feed the attendees, and the attendees feed the exhibitors.
So, do the same people attend the breakfast each month? No. Many come for the program. Thus my concern.
- The speaking community in San Diego is small. They all know each other. Once the speaking community discovers that they are not permitted to market their business, and won’t be provided a speaker’s table for their books and products, does Score think it will be able to provide the same quality of speakers they’ve had in the past?
- If Score doesn’t provide the same quality of speaker, will it draw attendees?
- If Score doesn’t draw attendees, will it draw exhibitors?
If Score is going to change the Women’s Networking Breakfast (from the Agenda and the website) into a workshop, by adopting the workshop policies, then why sell exhibit tables? I don’t believe Score sells exhibit tables at it’s workshops, where it doesn’t allow it’s workshop instructors to market their businesses. Now, in all fairness, I don’t know if Score pays them or if they offer the workshops pro bono. None the less, it’s seems somewhat hypocritical to enact part of the workshop rules, and not all of the workshop rules.
Score San Diego, I implore you to review this policy. In March you have Pamela S. Perkins, founder of the Human Communication Institute and author of The Art and Science of Communication: Tools for Effective Communication in the Workplace speaking. Having the opportunity to purchase her book could make the difference for an attendee. Please don’t deny the small business community tools to help them with their success by denying the speaker a table for her books and products. It’s a small price, a speaker’s table, that yields you great profits. It’s a system that’s been working for years, and can continue to work, if you can see past your workshop rules. This is still advertised as a networking breakfast.
So, small business community, what do you have to say? Is a speaker’s table too much to offer so Score San Diego can attract the best speakers possible to their breakfasts? Let’s have your comments….