Los Angeles Convention Center(1)

The Business Show 2023 recap: Key takeaways and highlights

NewsCategory
20 min read
Ashley Grant

The GoDaddy team had a blast at this year’s Business Show event, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from Sept. 20 to 21, 2023. We’re sharing highlights and key takeaways from our experience on the ground, plus tips and tricks on how to prepare for the next Business Show event happening in Miami, in March 2024

Be sure to bookmark this page for a quick checklist at the end on how to prepare for business conferences in the future!  

Quick stats about The L.A. Business Show

Additionally, the event hosted 300 incredible industry-leading suppliers that came for a two-day event designed to inspire, educate and connect entrepreneurs — regardless of where they were on their business journey.

Check out some of the event highlights in the video below:

What is The Business Show and why is it beneficial?

The Business Show is a large business expo that started more than 25 years ago in Europe and has now expanded to the U.S., starting with events in Los Angeles (September, 2023) and Miami (Miami, 2024).

It also provides a platform for entrepreneurs and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to learn, network and grow their businesses. Over the past two decades, thousands of entrepreneurs have gathered to connect and share knowledge at events held across Europe.

This year’s L.A. event brought an immersive experience for attendees that wanted to:

  • Explore exhibits
  • Watch demonstrations
  • Attend seminars
  • Make connections that help start or expand their business 

At The Business Show, we also encountered related seminars like: 

  • The Power of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Budgeting, Cash Flow, and Profitability Strategies for Small Businesses
  • Cyber Security Panel
  • Leveraging AI to empower your business processes and more (view the entire agenda here

With more than a quarter-century’s worth of experience, The Business Show is an industry event for American entrepreneurs and business owners. It aims to be a pillar of inspiration, knowledge and a place for making the right connections to grow.

Who can go to this event?

Someone organizing badges at a convention

There are two groups of people that go to an expo like the L.A. Business Show: attendees and exhibitors — and there are key differences between both.

As an attendee 

You are there to explore, learn and make connections. The experience involves: 

  • Walking the expo floor
  • Visiting booths
  • Collecting information
  • Watching demonstrations
  • Networking

Tips for future events: To prepare ahead of time, you might consider researching exhibitors you want to visit. You can also bring business cards and have questions ready to engage with reps at booths. Plan your day in advance to maximize your time.

As an exhibitor 

You buy booth space to promote your company and products/services. This experience involves: 

  • Designing your booth
  • Transporting materials
  • Setting up displays
  • Managing inventory
  • Interacting with attendees

Tips for future events: To prepare, you can create eye-catching signage that draws attention to your booth. You’ll also want to include brochures, product samples and demos. Have a clear call-to-action and train your team on speaking to visitors, then follow up with leads after the show. 

Notes from the GoDaddy exhibit booth
GoDaddy exhibit featuring on-site team speaking to attendees.

The GoDaddy team was at booth 605, demoing our Godaddy Payments two point-of-sale (POS) devices — Smart Terminal and Card Reader. To help understand this category a bit more, we asked one of our GoDaddy exhibitor reps to talk about their experience. Check out the Q&A below:

Jai Sangha, Manager of our WooCommerce Success Team
Jai Sangha at The Business Show in Los Angeles

Q: What was the exhibitor experience like at the event?

A: "This was my first time attending an event as a GoDaddy representative. Although it wasn't nerve-wracking, the start of the first day had a bit of hesitation as I didn't know what type of conversations were to come.

What I found was that most attendees were there to learn, already knew of or had a relationship with GoDaddy and the conversation flowed naturally once we started talking about their small business." 

Q: What advice would you give to folks interested in setting up an exhibit for their business at future conferences?

A: "What I found helpful to network was to take a round of the exhibit hall and talk to other exhibitors about their businesses. You never know what type of collaboration opportunities might come up as most of the other exhibitors are businesses with a customer base as well. 

In terms of initiating conversations with attendees, be curious about their small business rather than only speaking at them about your products. Attendees are there to learn about how to grow their business or make their business more efficient.

Most attendees are happy to talk about what they're doing or challenges they're facing as long as you leave that door open without putting your products first.

Sometimes the answer was that our products aren't suitable for their particular case but the attendees still appreciated having a discussion with them about their business and anything they could learn from us."

What it all boils down to

Ultimately, the key for both attendees and exhibitors is to have clear goals and objectives to optimize your opportunities. 

Attendees aim to gather industry knowledge and make connections, while exhibitors generate leads and sales.

With preparation and strategy, the business expo can be valuable for networking, learning and growth.

Where did The Business Show 2023 take place?

The Los Angeles event was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) in downtown L.A. on Sept. 20 and 21, 2023. The event ran from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PST) on Wednesday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (PST) on Thursday.

If you missed this one, though, you can catch The Business Show event in Miami, happening in March 2024. Click here for details on the Miami show.

Highlights and takeaways from The Business Show 2023

Now that we’ve discussed the general breakdown of what the show is all about, let’s dive into some of the industry happenings we were most excited about. 

Panel discussions, seminars and keynotes

There were dozens upon dozens of amazing speakers that shared insights and ideas — including two of our very own GoDaddy team members: Rachael Powell and Amy Jennette

During the event, attendees heard discussions on a wide variety of subjects like:

  • Using AI in business
  • Finding funding for your startup
  • Innovative sales and marketing tactics
  • Branding and creating an image
  • How to improve profitability and so much more

Let’s take a peek at some of the highlights for each day below. 

Day 1: Be everywhere they are: A guide to successful marketing

Rachael Powell speaking at The Business Show 2023 in Los Angeles

Keynote speaker: Rachael Powell, Sr. Director of Global Brand, Creative & Marketing Research at GoDaddy

Rachel’s talk comprised of four components:

  • Build your brand
  • Create your online presence
  • Be your best marketer
  • Tools to make it happen
Build your brand

Branding is about so much more than your logo. It’s about your relationship with your customers, how you define your product/service, and the perception your customers have of your company. Ask yourself: What do they think of when they think of your business?

Create your online presence

She recommended you create a bold first impression of your business with your website.

The goal is to not only introduce your brand, but also share the benefits of your product.

Showcase your offerings with awesome product descriptions and images, and highlight your best testimonials.

You also need to be prepared to take payments by:

  • Determining your pricing structure
  • Creating a clear understanding of price listings for your customers
  • Outlining the payments you will accept

Editor's note: If you need help setting up a low-hassle payment process, GoDaddy Payments has everything you need — along with the lowest transaction fees in the industry.

If you’re a service provider, your online presence also means using a solid appointment system.

For example, a salon owner will need to let the customer know they've confirmed a time slot for their haircut. They'll also need to ensure their booking software is connected to every software and calendar they're using — to help avoid things like double-booking.

Be your best marketer

In this portion of her session, Rachael explained the importance of understanding your target audience. Here are some questions she recommended you consider:

  • Demographics: What is the common age, location or income of your target audience?
  • Psychographics: Do they have any values or interests?
  • What are their goals and challenges?
  • How do your customers like to buy?

You also must understand where they are hanging out online.

  • Do they go to Google or Bing to search for products?
  • Perhaps they prefer marketplaces like Ebay and Amazon?
  • Are they frequently on Facebook/Instagram/Linkedin?

It’s important to go where your target audience is if you hope to sell to them.

Pro Tip: Rachael says you need to connect your inventory across all marketplaces — this way if someone buys something on Etsy, you won’t worry about it now being out of stock on Amazon Marketplace.

Tools to make it happen

Finally, Rachael shared some tools to help you build and market your business. She suggested leaning into AI. ChatGPT, DALL-E, Google Bard, and many others are just the tip of the iceberg. You can also use Godaddy’s AI tools for things like creating product descriptions, writing Facebook ads and generating social media posts.

Day 1: Stories of success panel 

Panel host: Amy Jennette, Senior Director of Integrated Marketing at GoDaddy
Panel speakers: Jenna Stewart, Malik Muhammed and Madeline Arellano

Amy Jeanette Panel Discussion with Jenna Stewart, Malik Muhammed and Madeline Arellano.
Amy Jeanette with Jenna Stewart, Malik Muhammed and Madeline Arellano (featured left to right)

Amy Jennette moderated a panel of entrepreneurs at 1:15 p.m. (EST). Read some of the notable quotes from her discussion panel on Stories of Success, featuring business owners: Jenna Stewart, Malik Muhammed and Madeline Arellano. 

Amy Jennette: “What is something you wish you would’ve known before you started a business?”

Jenna Stewart: Co-owner of Canyon Adventure Vans  

“I wish I would’ve known how much the state of California was going to take from my business. I don’t think when you go into business, you think about those things. So, I think that was one thing — the compliance, the insurance, the payroll taxes. California’s very different [from] any other state, so that is something I wish I would’ve known just so that you can understand and be prepared for those things in California.”

Malik Muhammed: Co-owner of Mallik Books

 “As soon as you said that question, I thought about the $25,000 that I lost in 1990 because I opened up Malik Books in an area where they might eat fish, they might eat chicken, but they sure didn’t want a book. So demographics play a major part when you open up a retail store. So you have to target the right location. And let me say, you won’t get all the variables, but you got to do your homework.”

Madeline Arellano: Owner of All By Madeline

“I wish I knew how many hats I was going to have to wear. Along with the marketing, along with the inventory, along with producing (because I am the producer of all my products), I wish I knew how many hats I had to wear.”

Day 2: Netflix Behind the Streams: Global Business Growth Insights

Sophie Taitte from Netflix giving a speech at her session at the LA Business Show

Keynote speaker: Sophie Taitt, Director of Global Production Strategy & Operations at Netflix

Netflix's Sophie Taitt gave a chat about business growth insights. She touched on how curiosity and open mindedness is important for growing on a global scale. 

Here are three keys areas for opportunity that Sophie suggests for every business:

1. Embrace cultural curiosity 
2. Enforce consistency, where it counts
3. Encourage compelling and inclusive communication 

While ideas can come from anywhere, she suggests that entrepreneurs and business owners need to keep in mind that people do things differently all over the world.

Don't push your ideas on how things should be done. 

She also encouraged people that want to work all over the world to consider things like time zones, national holidays and other factors that could affect deadlines. 

For example, if your deadline for a delivery is the day of a national holiday in another country, you might receive pushback — which could cause resentment and low morale from your employees in those areas if you don’t address their needs accordingly. 

Day 2: Behind the Streams: Global Business Growth Insights

Keynote speaker: Jennifer Smith, President, Founder and CEO of Everything Podcasts

Jennifer Smith is the President, CEO and Founder of everythingpodcasts.com. She talked about the importance of audio and creating a podcast for your brand, even if your business might be in a boring industry — an accounting business was one of her examples. 

Let's face it, accounting can be very boring. But, you can tell your brand's story and share something that indirectly promotes your business while still being informative.

Jennifer Smith from Everything Podcasts giving a speech at her session at the LA Business Show

To further exemplify this, Jennifer shared a story with the audience — describing a chat with one of her accounting business clients. She had asked him to share something that kept him up at night and he told her that cyber security was top-of-mind.

According to her client, everyone was afraid of getting hacked post-COVID. Her client’s solution was to transition that customer pain point into an educational podcast (that also was entertaining). 

Jennifer says anyone can do that too, but she admits it will take a lot of work and time. That's why she recommends working with a podcast production company like hers. But, if you don't have the money to invest in a production company, you should at least still consider some kind of podcasting venture for brand promotion purposes.

Related: Check out our post on how to start a podcast

Day 2: Meta & Ex-Google Strategies For Global Business Growth Using AI, Data & Tech

Keynote speaker: Anitha Mercy, Former Director and Lead at Meta and Google

Anitha Mercy from Meta and Google giving a speech at her session at the L.A. Business Show

Anitha Mercy, formerly of Meta and Google, gave a speech on Strategies for Global Business Growth Using AI, Data & Tech. She believes that heart plus brain divided by profit equals ROI. But, she doesn't define ROI as return on investment. She says she wants to redefine it as: return on innovation.

In her talk, she shared suggestions for building a modern business from the inside out. She noted that it's critical to understand and define your objective key results (OKRs) and core values first. 

You have to know where you're going before you can figure out how you will get there.

Her advice is to use AI tools and data to figure out where your target market is before just jumping in and investing in going global. For example, she discussed juice and health drinks — noting that what is popular in one country might not have much interest in other countries. 

“You must investigate whether or not a market will have any interest in your product before diving in and investing in the area. Just because you want to sell something somewhere does not mean you will make sales there!” 

Other big names in attendance

Additionally, attendees heard other keynotes from representatives like: 

  • Microsoft
  • Netflix
  • Spotify
  • Globalization & Localization Association (GALA)
  • Adobe
  • Tinder
  • Facebook 
  • Uber

With 150 speakers and masterclasses spread throughout the two-day event, there were plenty of topics to explore for every business owner, or aspiring entrepreneur, in attendance! 

Masterclasses

There were two sets of masterclasses at the event this year. Let’s review what they were about down below. 

Dr. Frumi Rachel Barr, CEO of Barr Business School

Masterclass #1: The Ultimate Entrepreneurial Success Blueprint presented by Dr. Frumi Rachel Barr, CEO of Barr Business School.

These classes were intended to help attendees discover how to make their business dreams a reality. The sessions that were offered, included:

  • The Entrepreneurial Edge
  • Building Your Dream Business
  • Tackling the Tough Stuff
  • Productivity Unleashed
  • The Numbers Game

Here’s a brief look at some of the lessons learned in a few of these masterclasses:

The entrepreneurial edge

Dr. Barr noted that if you hope to run a business, you need to develop an entrepreneurial mindset.

It’s about more than being the boss. It’s about thinking creatively, and with innovation.

You also need to test the viability of your idea before jumping in full force.

Building your dream business

To build a dream business, you need a strong support team. This can be the people working with you, for you, or even the people behind the scenes — like your friends and family. You also must know WHY you’re in business. As Dr. Barr says in her book A CEO's Secret Weapon: How to Accelerate Success:

Why is simply your purpose, your cause and your belief.

It’s why you’re in business to begin with.

Tackling the tough stuff

Business can be tough. There will be times you will have to fire people, mediate conflicts and find ways to boost the productivity of yourself and your team. It’s not always easy, but it’s something you will need to learn if you hope to be an effective business owner.

Masterclass #2: Mastering Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurship by Ideapros

This set of masterclasses was led by acclaimed entrepreneur Fred Cary, founder of Ideapros — a globally recognized billion-dollar enterprise. There were three sessions to choose from:

  • How ideas become unicorns
  • Master capital raising
  • Finding your purpose, life changing experience

There were also Q&A sessions, as well as a two-minute pitch competition — where attendees received feedback and won prizes for their business ideas.

Expo hall 

This event featured 300 exhibitors within the expo hall.

In addition to GoDaddy, here were some of the other exhibitors in attendance:

  • Better Business Bureau
  • SCORE Los Angeles
  • ShoutOut
  • Los Angeles Professionals (a business connections and networking group)

We also saw several marketing, financial, consulting and analytics companies showcasing their products and services. 

Speed networking

The speed networking event was a fast-paced intro session for folks to communicate with one another. Participants had a short amount of time to introduce themselves and exchange contact information with each other, before moving on to the next person. 

Here's a play-by-play of what I encountered on the ground:

The starting line

Like an interesting game of musical chairs, everyone took their seats and the moderator set a timer. Then, with the buzz of an alarm it was time for the participants to start their chat. Quickly, they gave a two or three sentence blurb about what their business was all about. 

Some people had business cards, but most of the people I watched swapped information with their smartphones and scanned QR codes to connect on Linkedin or Facebook or some other method.

The prime time buzz

Then, just as quickly as the timer started, the buzzer went off and participants swapped seats to begin again. And it continued again and again until the networking session for that hour was over.

Photo of people at attending speed networking event as The Business Show 2023(1)

At some points throughout the day there were just a few people in the speed networking area. This meant longer conversations and less concern about the timer going off. Other times, it was so packed you might meet 20-30 people in the span of an hour. It was a little overwhelming to watch even for an extrovert like me.

The end point

The buzzer could be heard throughout the entire expo both days, and I’d like to think that a lot of folks made some awesome connections. I did notice several people that wanted to keep chatting met up with each other right after the networking session and continued their talks. Who knows what amazing opportunities will unfold from this rapid paced networking event?!

Speed networking benefits we noticed

As a spectator of the speed networking event, we noted some key benefits that came from these quick interactions — here’s what we learned: 

#1: It allows you to expand your professional network

For starters, it's an efficient way to make many new connections and expand your professional network quickly. In just one event, you could meet dozens of new people.

#2: It allows you to step out of your comfort zone

It also forces you to practice and refine your self-introduction or "elevator pitch." You have to be succinct in highlighting your skills, experience and interests. 

Speed networking gets you out of your comfort zone and improves communication. It forces you to activate your listening skills through brief, focused interactions.

#3: It helps you build meaningful connections

Additionally, this exercise is a low-pressure way to practice networking if you find standard open-ended networking overwhelming. 

The format encourages follow-up after the event, allowing you to build on those brief connections. As a result, it's easier to remember each person you meet along the way. 

Depending on the networking event’s focus, you can meet: 

  • Potential mentors
  • Collaborators
  • Clients
  • Partners and more

There’s no telling where speed networking can take you in your business.

Key takeaway: The point  is to come prepared with a short impactful introduction, follow up after with your new connections and participate fully in the rapid networking rounds. With focus and preparation, speed networking can expand your connections and opportunities.

How to prepare for a conference like The Business Show

Casual business person standing against a wall with laptop bag and binder

Here are some tips for attendees and exhibitors on preparing for a conference like The Business Show in the future:

Attendees:

  • Research the schedule and speakers ahead of time to plan what sessions to attend. Prioritize ones most relevant to your goals. 
  • Bring plenty of business cards to network with other attendees.
  • Dress professionally — business casual is typical conference attire. 
  • Download the event app, if available, to stay organized and connect with other participants.
  • Bring a notebook or device to take notes during sessions.
  • Prepare an "elevator pitch" to concisely explain who you are, what you do and what you're interested in. 
  • Arrive early to sessions, get a good seat and chat with others before it starts. 
  • Attend mixers and networking events to make connections. Come with some icebreaker questions ready.
  • Follow up with your new connections right after the event (while it's still fresh).

Exhibitors

  • Carefully review conference guidelines for setting up your booth, shipping materials, getting badges, etc. 
  • Design an eye-catching booth with banners, signs and product displays. Have giveaways or contests to attract visitors.
  • Train your team on how to best engage with attendees who visit your booth.
  • Have your elevator pitch, brochures, product samples and demos ready to showcase your business.
  • Collect attendee contact info and follow-up after the show to convert leads. 
  • Stand out by sponsoring talks, meals, wifi access and having your brand visible. 
  • Participate in the conference app to connect with attendees digitally too.

Following these tips will help you make the most out of your experience at the next Business Show — whether you are attending or exhibiting. Either way, we hope it helps you effectively network, learn and grow your business in the future.

Products Used

;