Business Market Event Has a (New) Date with Destiny
Organizers of the Business Market Show moved the event to the MassMutual Center last year, one of several steps taken to give the show a shot of adrenaline. The various strategies have succeeded in creating a new look and feel for Market, which should get another boost with an early May date and a number of new features.
Deb Boronski says the decision to move the date for this year’s Business Market Show from its traditional early April to May 2 was strictly a matter of dollars and cents — specifically, those recorded on the tax forms filled out by CPAs.
Area accounting firms have struggled the past several years to do clients’ taxes and the trade show at the same time, explained Boronski, vice president of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield and long-time organizer of the annual trade show.
Many stopped trying, leaving some well-known names from the accounting sector as no-shows for the Market event.
“Something had to give,” said Boronski, joking that, since the Internal Revenue Service wasn’t going to change the filing deadline, the ACCGS would have to make some adjustments. And it did.
Actually, there are several good reasons for moving the date of the show back several weeks — from warmer weather that provides incentives for people to leave their offices for part of the day, to giving people more time to prepare their companies for the show. But the desire to accommodate CPAs was the initial motivation, and a quick glance at the exhibitor list shows it was a wise move.
“We have a lot of accounting firms coming,” Boronski said, “including some that haven’t been here for some time.”
These additions provide more evidence that the trade show remains relevant for the Western Mass. business community and that it has a real future, said Boronski, adding that, in recent years, there were questions about whether it did. Participation had been declining — and not just because of the conflict for accounting firms — and organizers needed to gauge whether that trend could be reversed.
“Last year’s show was the big test,” said Boronski, noting that the event had been moved to the MassMutual Center after more than a decade at the Big E, and many new features were added in an attempt to breathe some new life into the show. “And it passed that test with flying colors.”
In other words, the show stopped losing ground in terms of exhibitor participation, and the needle has started moving in the other direction. And judging by early response this year — only a few booths remained unsold at press time — the show is clearly headed in the right direction.
“Had we not done as well as we did last year, we would have been having a discussion about the future of the show,” she said. “Now, the future looks secure.”
“Back by popular demand.”
That’s a phrase Boronski used a number of times as she talked about what’s in store for the 2007 show. She borrowed it in reference to the venue, many of the breakout sessions staged during the day (although there are some new additions to that list), the so-called ‘Taste of the Market Show’ conducted late in the afternoon, and many other aspects of this event, now in its 19th year.
“We didn’t fix anything that wasn’t broken,” she said, starting with the location.
Indeed, while parking was an issue for some, the MassMutual Center gave the event a new look and new feel, said Boronski, adding that its facilities led to some improvements and refinements with regard to many aspects of the show.
They start with the general atmosphere, she said, adding that the room at the MassMutual Center offers a more intimate environment, in many ways more conducive to effective business-to-business networking than the cavernous Better Living Center at the Big E.
Also, the many smaller, well-appointed meeting rooms provided better accommodations — and acoustics — for the breakout sessions, most of which were well-attended, she said.
While many elements of the 2007 show are back — again, by popular demand — there are many new twists, which show organizers say are necessary to keep the event fresh.
They start with the breakfast speaker, Wes Moss, a certified financial planner, author, and entrepreneur who gained more than his 15 minutes of fame in the fall 2004 season of The Apprentice. He was the 12th person to hear those infamous, often parodied words ‘you’re fired,’ but his experiences with the show — and in business — should provide for an entertaining morning keynote address, said Boronski.
Other additions for this year include a microbrew tasting — participants can sample three craft beers distributed by Chicopee-based Williams Distributing — and a luncheon staged by the Better Business Bureau’s regional office, which will use the occasion to present its Torch Awards for marketplace ethics. The luncheon speaker will be Dr. Steve Sobel, a noted motivational speaker and humorist.
As for the seminars, Boronski said there is a good mix of return engagements from last year and several new offerings, registration for which can be done online at www.businessmarketshow.cm/seminars. The schedule looks this way:
- Creating a Work-life Balance = Healthier Business, led by Anne-Marie Szmyt, director of WorkLife Strategies at Baystate Health;
- Golf and Learn: Leadership and Team Building on the Green, Lynn Turner and Ravi Kulkarni of Clear Vision Alliance;
- Effective E-Commerce, Justin Friend and Fred Bliss, Stevens Design Studio; and
- Think Like an Entrepreneur: Any Time, Any Place, Any One, Dr. Jan Ruder, Dr. Sandi Coyne-Westerkamp, Professor Lauren Way, and Dr. James Wilson III, the Graduate School at Bay Path College.
- New Ways to Meet Your Workforce Hiring and Training Needs, Kevin Lynn, manager of Business Services at FutureWorks Career Center, and Charles Bodhi, director of Employer Services at the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County;
- The Secret Life of Your Information, Elizabeth A. Rivet, Ph.D., director of Graduate Studies in Communications and Information Management and assistant professor of Information Technology at Bay Path College;
- Taking the Lead: Manage with Style, Carol Bevan-Bogart, Cambridge College; and
- Multichannel Marketing, Tina Stevens, Stevens Design Studio.
- Effectively Reaching the Hispanic Market, Hector Bauza, president, Bauza & Associates;
- The Implications of Aging Parents: How to Help Your Employees, Joanne Peterson, program development manager, Baystate Visiting Nurse Assoc. & Hospice; and
- Seven Steps to Improve Your Web Site’s Performance, Dave Flaherty, president, Ashton Services.
While packing the schedule with interesting programs, show organizers have taken several steps to ensure an attractive quantity and quality of visitors to the show, thus fueling better opportunities for exhibitors. One such step involves parking; the vendors will be instructed to park under I-91, said Boronski, noting that the walk is only a few minutes, thus leaving more spaces in downtown lots for attendees.
There will many smaller new twists and turns for the show, said Boronski, listing everything from an appearance by the Fred Astaire Dancers at lunch to a DiGrigoli Salons booth that will be cutting and shaping hair during the day.
Such additions are part of the process of making the show stronger for today — and for tomorrow, she said, adding, again, that the future of the Market show certainly looks bright.
What:The Business Market Show 2007