2023 FL Small Business Leadership Conference

The spectacular Jim Moran Institute based at Florida State University is holding their annual conference now, June 19-22, 2023 at the beautiful Lowe’s Sapphire Hotel based in Universal Park Orlando Florida.  Your editor attends each year for the speakers are carefully invited and are the best to be heard by this entrepreneurship educator.

The mission of the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship is to cultivate, train and inspire entrepreneurial leaders through world-class executive education, applied training, public recognition and leading-edge research.  The Institute based at Florida State University comprises a dedicated team of entrepreneurship professionals, academic scholars and staff who foster the entrepreneurial spirit by helping to organize, expand and promote the knowledge and practice of entrepreneurship in such a way as to facilitate new business and further the goals of established businesses.  It was founded in 1995 thanks to the generous contribution of the late Jim Moran and his wife Jan who continues to support his legacy.

Held annually in Orlando, the Small Business Leadership Conference provides an opportunity for attendees to share innovative ideas and learn vital information to ignite strategic growth.  This year the event was held at the beautiful Loew’s Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando.  It kicked-off with a keynote by Esu Ma’at, Diversity Chief for the Orlando Magic pictured below, which has become the face of the NBA Magic franchise.  After his changes over a few years, the Magic have become known for community and entertainment.  Surveys have shown fans come to the Amway arena as much for the experience as the game itself.  His was a timely look a company successful at  DEI, diversity, equity and inclusion.

       A highlight for most was the next day motivational talks by two of the best in the field.  Tania Bartolini told the story of her break-away from corporate law to start her own firm shortly after giving birth to a son, and the overcoming of many obstacles to making self-employment successful.  Some of her lessons including the need for setting proper, smart goals, cutting them into bite-sized pieces, and then tracking the progress of the actions under those goals.  Jay Owen, author of Building a Business That Lasts, followed Tania, and his story of success includes some of the same obstacles.  From humble beginnings over five years, Jay eventually built a self-improvement company that today earns $5 million in revenues and help many startup business grow effectively.

His cites three reasons that motivate entrepreneurs -freedom, money and purpose.  Each one has to know their “why”, and the key is building a business without sacrificing family. His twelve keys to small business success are 1. clarify your story so that you invite customers through empathy and authority, 2. embrace an others-centered mindset, 3. get excited about selling a ministry of products that have value, 4. navigated the seasons of life and set expectations, 5. track success in all areas of life (work and personal like a scoreboard in a football game), 6. be patient  with growth (cites John Mark Comer”s “hurry is violence to the soul”), 7. learn to “jiggle” money in three areas -pipeline, receivables and cash (flow), 8. be willing to change (think of the recent inventions of the internet, iPhone and A. I.), 9. block personal time by guarding your personal time ahead, 10. get the right people around you (someone to look up to, someone to stand by you, and someone who looks up to you), 11. know the “now” priority by recognizing when it is not your priority and 12.  have a vision for the future (take time to visualize the end-points).

A major topic for the conference was artificial intelligence, A. I.  A luncheon keynote was given by  Alex Oliveira, founder and CEO of Prediq (based in Boca Raton, FL specializing in digital marketing using data-driven approaches and cutting edge tactics now including  A. I. for SEO, online advertising, and sales generation.  His applications will be covered in a future blog post in more detail.

The conference had some interesting breakout sessions.  Among the most interesting were creating a business using human intelligence, leading the team to effectively execute growth, small business continuation plan during a hurricane, making an exit plan, a ChatGPT experiential clinic, how to become a social media superstar, preparing your business for financing, navigating the future and creating lasting impact, and how to build legal infrastructure to make your business stronger.

I would encourage any small business to make a vacation to Orlando some June in the future to take advantage of these valuable speakers and workshops.  They are truly among the best anywhere and the setting cannot be beat.  One sampling of this year’s venue are the grounds of the Low’s Sapphire which is on the Universal Park grounds.

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