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Learn strategies for success at the Hawaii Small Business Conference

By Staff | Apr 6, 2017

KIHEI – Maui Economic Development Board and the county Office of Economic Development last week announced the 2017 program schedule for their upcoming Hawaii Small Business Conference on May 3-4 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

“This year’s conference theme, ‘DESIGN, PROTECT, ENGAGE: Small Business Strategies for Success,’ aptly describes what attendees will gain from this empowering two-day event,” said Teena Rasmussen, director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.

“Not only will entrepreneurs and owners and employees of new and established businesses learn how to take their business to the next level, but they’ll also gain insights on how to stay ahead of the competition.”

Conference attendees will have a rare opportunity to network face-to-face with innovative business leaders and hear their insights, best practices, and tricks of the trade on a variety of topics such as customer service, marketing, data security and risk management. They can also take advantage of informational workshops and exhibits.

The full-day conference is set for Wednesday, May 3, from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Highlights include:

Maggie Bayless, co-founder and managing partner of ZingTrain, will explore the elements of leadership and employee behavior that form Bottom Line Change, making it a vehicle to invigorate positive change in any business. She will then bring home the practical impact of Bottom Line Change by interviewing Michael Moore of Hoaloha Na Eha Ltd., who has implemented this process in his own small businesses, including Old Lahaina Luau, Star Noodle, Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop, and Aloha Mixed Plate.

Following her talk, Bayless and Moore will moderate “A Case Study with Hoaloha Na Eha, Ltd.”

In “The Power of Service in Small Business Success,” Petra Marquart, president of Petra Marquart and Associates, will present a comprehensive approach to customer service that holds each individual responsible for his or her behavior. Addressing the complex issues that affect people’s willingness to perform well and their dedication to their work, she will offer solutions and suggestions as to how organizations can create environments in which people thrive, inspiring people to provide world-class service.

Next, Marquart will moderate “Case Studies in Customer Service” with Mama’s Fish House, Maui Soda and Ice, and Pukalani Superette.

Albert Samuelian, managing director west and strategy for OMD, will lead “Powerful Marketing Strategies with a Small Business Budget.” Samuelian will focus on how small businesses can use social media and Search Engine Optimization to make their most of their modest marketing resources. He specializes in providing guidance on integrated marketing strategies.

Special Agent Edward Arias of the Honolulu Division of the FBI and Matt Freeman Sr. of Hawaiian Telcom will lead “Cyber Security and Small Business: Don’t Let the Bad Guys Get You.” Arias will explore cyber security from the perspective of the criminal, outlining the vulnerabilities and “holes” in security that make many businesses perfect targets. Freeman will approach it from the opposite perspective, concentrating on what a small business can do to prevent being a victim of cybercrime.

Drew Nagai of First Insurance Company of Hawaii will investigate the art and science of risk management in “Risk Management: Why Didn’t I Think of That?” Every business is open to potential risks, including the weather, fire, data loss, numerous types of theft, and a myriad of other catastrophes or damaging events. The challenge is to define, assess and quantify what risks would most likely create an unrecoverable situation for your business. As Nagai will point out, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

The day’s slate will conclude with a Networking Reception from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m.

On day two, Thursday, May 4, workshops held throughout the day will build upon the program topics discussed earlier, facilitated by experts in their respective fields. Workshops topics include customer service facilitated by Marquart; tax strategies for small business facilitated by Kent H. Kasaoka of Accounting & Tax Solutions; human resources in Bottom Line Change facilitated by Bayless; and social media marketing facilitated by Samuelian.

The Hawaii Small Business Conference coincides with National Small Business Week, a celebration of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Cost is $85 per person for the full-day conference on May 3, which includes a luncheon and exhibits. The May 4 workshops are $45 per workshop. Attendees can also save $10 by registering for the conference plus one or both workshops, or by registering for both workshops.

To register online, visit www.HawaiiSmall.Biz. For additional information on this year’s program and speakers, visit the event’s website at www.HawaiiSmall.Biz, e-mail smallbiz@medb.org or call (808) 875-2300.

Conference sponsors include Pacific Media Group, The Maui News, Hawaiian Telcom and Maui Printing Company.

Various sponsorship opportunities are still available. Companies interested in exhibiting their goods and services for small businesses are also encouraged to participate. For information on sponsorships and exhibitor opportunities, visit www.HawaiiSmall.Biz, e-mail smallbiz@medb.org or call (808) 875-2300.