Today I had the pleasure of attending the Small Business Forum and annual conference hosted by Heart of Networking Events and the Business Advisory Centre of Durham. This was my second year attending the event and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

As business owners, I don’t think learning of any kind can be a bad thing. As Marlon Shaw, Certified Speaking Coach and founder of Speak and Grow Your Business, expressed today, “If you want to earn more, you have to learn more, but knowledge only becomes power when it’s used!”

It seems only right that I share some of that knowledge in a post. Here were my key takeaways from each of the amazing speakers and the digital panel of experts.

Photo credit – Sheri Bambrough, Suit Your Target


Uchechi is a speaker, author, entrepreneur, wholesale expert and more. The founder of My Empowered Living, she is truly an inspiring women and I appreciated her perspective on sharing not selling, content is easy when you listen to what your target audience is saying, and you create the solution to that problem. She gave many more helpful nuggets that resonated with me, such as I deserve and I serve when talking about client payments and how raising your level of thinking can change everything.


Marlon Shaw

You already know a bit about Marlon from the beginning of this post but I have to say I was wonderfully inspired by his talk. He really does, “Walk the talk,” as he said in his speech. Marlon spoke today of getting cash but not cash like you or I are thinking. He spoke about K.A.S.H. Knowledge, Action, Sacrifice and Habits. All parts of successful entrepreneurship. You have to increase your knowledge, you have to take action, you have to make sacrifices to get there and you have to maintain certain habits on your road to success.


Teresa Shaver

Teresa is a Firestarter and currently helps manage the Business Advisory Centre of Durham, helping to run over 120 events each year. Today, Teresa talked about content marketing and standing out in a sea of marketing messages. Every 60 seconds there are thousands of messages on different channels across the internet. She suggested there are some things to keep in mind when creating successful content. Your value proposition, the relevance, the clarity of the message and the urgency of the message. She also touched on putting empathy into your content, sticking to one point, telling a story, showing yourself and staying on trend.


Shaelene McInnis

I have known Shaelene for the last six years and a more saavy business owner I have yet to come across. During lunch she recounted some money wisdom for the group. The one rule she has is money in and money out. If you are consistently following this rule in your business you can make smart financial decisions that lead to long-term success. Her company, Books In Line has grown exponentially over the last few years and it’s exciting to see what the future holds in store for this wonderful business owner.

The digital panel 

I thoroughly enjoyed this portion of the event as my business is online based. There were some wonderful nuggets from everyone on the panel. Since I already operate in this area of business I did know a lot of the things they were talking about but something I thought that was a good takeaway and I tell my clients as well is that you don’t need to be on every platform. Pick what works for you, be consistent and do it well.

Here is a little bit more information about the ladies on the digital panel:

Orzala Quddusi is the owner of Make It Happen Services, a boutique marketing agency in the Durham Region that specializes in social media.

Shelly Patrick is the owner of Think Flame, an internet marketing, publishing, and coaching company based in the Markham area.

Denise Boswell-Buck is the owner of Dee Boswell-Buck Creative and also specializes in social media marketing.

From left to right, Claudine Pereira, Shelly Patrick, Dee Boswell-Buck and Orzala Quddusi

Tammy Hart – Unfortunately I had to leave before Tammy’s talk but having met her before and seeing her great ideas in action, I can be sure she provided excellent information to everyone who attended. Tammy is an Interior Designer and the owner of Designer Chick Co.

I also want to give a shout out to the amazing Claudine Pereira, The Pink Coach who was the MC for the panel, Karen Porter, holistic health and return to food coach for her delicious brownies and carrot cake balls and of course the wonderful Marlene Marco for everything that she does for business owners in the Durham Region on a regular basis.


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