Archive for June, 2009

Are things finally on the up tick?

Friday I exhibited in a tradeshow organized by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, It was held at the Westin Kierland Hotel and I have to say that I was impressed.  I was impressed not only with the professionalism of the show (I’ve exhibited in this event for years) and the quality of the exhibiting companies (about 130 of them), but with the fact that we got so many good, interested, “A” quality leads from the show! Yes I actually was excited and impressed that people were finally getting serious about buying stuff again.  I was actually encouraged that after a miserable first and second quarter, there seems to be a renewed interest in exhibit marketing again.   Of course no company should have ever stopped using tradeshows to promote their business and sell their products because it is one of the most cost effective ways to meet hundreds of potential clients in one place, but they have.  And our new President can share the blame for telling companies across the county not to have meetings, not to travel for sales conferences and not to fly.  Yes that has caused my industry to experience a 35% decline in business.  The media picked up on that and caused a horrendous backlash that impacted small businesses like mine across the Nation.  Those irresponsible comments and the continuing perpetuation of the the issue by the media did not just impact hotels and airlines and meeting planners and restaurants.  It effected the thousands of taxi drivers, brochure printers, florists, electricians, delivery boys, food servers, bell hops, exhibit installer , tradeshow display sellers, truck drivers and other small business owners in every city in every state.  Anyway, I am encouraged by the results I got from the show, by the comments I heard from the attendees and by the excitement other business owners had that also felt the up tick of interest.  I am going to think positive about this next half year and I hope you will too.


NSBA supports Small Business in Washington

Well, I didn’t win the Advocate of the year award in Washington DC on June 9th, but I was the only woman in the country to be honored as a finalist.  Congratulations to Thomas C. Pitrone of the Integrity Group from Ohio who is the outstanding recipient.   I had a great time meeting with the leaders of the National Small Business Association and hearing from representatives from Congress regarding the White House plans for small business.  All I can say is we, the small business owners, had better unify, voice our concerns loudly and show our strength  in numbers if we want to preserve free enterprise and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit because we are not going to get much support from the current administration.   There are 26.5 million small businesses in this country and 19.5 million of them are solepreneurs.  4.7 million of those are micro-businesses employing  less than 10 people.  Unfortunately it’s the actions of big business that make the headlines, and big business that gets the attention and the money.   I always thought the economy would be stimulated the most if small business owners could keep more of their hard earned money so they could hire more employees, produce more goods and expand operations.   Oh well, we will persevere regardless,  because that’s what we do.  Let’s stay positive, keep working  the system and make lots of noise. 


It’s nice to be recognized

If you’re like me you enjoy sharing your knowledge and offering support to other entrepreneurs and business owners.  When I started my first business in 1988 after my son was born, I joined the Entrepreneurial Mothers Association.  The comraderie, peer networking and fun we had trying to juggle business and babies made the stress of motherhood and the challenges of business building a little less worrisome.  It was there that I discovered how much I loved being a small business advocate and too special interest in the causes of women business owners.  For 20 years I have  continued that mission and today I was recognized for my efforts.  I hope you don’t mind me bragging a little.  I am proud to share this announcement with you here and encourage you to become a small business advocate and cheerleader in your community too.

June 3, 2009

Molly Brogan

NSBA Announces Finalists for Advocate of the Year Award 

Washington, D.C. — NSBA today announced the finalists for the 2009 Lewis Shattuck Small Business Advocate of the Year Award. The award winner will be announced during NSBA’s Annual Advocate of the Year Award Luncheon on Tuesday, June 9 at 12:00 p.m., which is the kick-off of the event for the NSBA Washington Presentation on June 9 and 10.

“After evaluating a very impressive pool of candidates, I am honored to recognize these exceptional individuals for their tireless efforts on behalf of America’s small-business community,” stated NSBA President Todd McCracken. “We need them now more than ever.” 



Susan Ratliff, President of Phoenix based Exhibit Experts, has been named one of five national finalists for the 2009 Lewis Shattuck Small Business Advocate of the Year Award.  The award, presented by the National Small Business Association, recognizes the best and brightest small business owners from around the country who go above and beyond in advocating on behalf of America’s small businesses. The criteria used in determining award finalists was a commitment to small business advocacy, a proven history of volunteer activism on behalf of the small business community and success and growth as a small business owner.  Susan is the only women among the five finalists to be honored in Washington, D.C. on June 9th at a prestigious luncheon where the winner will be announced.  

The event will kick off the NSBA Washington Presentation June 9 & 10 followed by an evening reception attended by Presentation participants, a myriad of Washington insiders and influential Hill staff.  The following day starts with the Congressional Breakfast on Capital Hill including reports from policy experts and lawmakers at a White House Briefing.  The finalists will then meet with elected representatives for an opportunity to provide critical feedback and make suggestions to the Executive Branch regarding relevant issues impacting small business owners across the nation every day.  “I look forward to representing Arizona in Washington and hope to engage in some stimulating conversations regarding what this administration will be doing to assist small businesses in the future” says Ratliff.  

Susan Ratliff has been a small-business owner since 1988, during which time she’s taken an active role as small-business cheerleader, supporter, encourager, teacher and promoter. A true believer in the power of entrepreneurship, Ratliff created the first Women Entrepreneurs’ Small Business Boot Camp which just celebrated its fifth anniversary, and has taken her inspirational message to the women’s prison in Perryville, Arizona. Ratliff has been involved with NSBA, the Entrepreneurial Mothers Association, the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Chambers of Commerce, the National Speakers Association, NAWBO and the Arizona Small Business Association, to name a few. 

The four other finalists are Michael Bowlds, President of Mountaintop Marketing Group, LLC of Maryland, Michael Mitternight, President of Metairie, La based Factory Service Agency, Inc, Thomas Pietrone, The Intrity Group from Cleveland and Robert C Smith, President and CEO of Spero- Smith Investment Advisers, Inc, in Beachwood, Ohio. 

To learn more about the Washington Presentation and the NSBA go to,

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Expand your exhibiting knowledge at TS2

If you are an exhibit designer, event manager, meeting planner, business owner, sales manager or a supplier to the 100 billion dollar event and exhbition industry, then you must take a trip to Chicago July 20-23rd and attend one of the foremost tradeshows for education and supplier information in the country.   For more than 35 years, TS2 has served as the premiere event for exhibit and event professionals. Formerly the “Trade Show About Trade Shows” TS2 has evolved to provide timely and relevant resources and education to the ever-changing exhibit and event industry.  I am excited and privileged to be speaking at this event and welcome you to attend my session:  Exhibit Like an Expert.  at 8:30 on Wednesday the 22nd.  I will be teaching the five key elements you must master to turn your booth into a powerful profit center.  Whether you are a tradeshow  novice or a seasoned exhibitor you will leave my session with relevant and practical tips and tools to give you a competitive edge on the show floor.  There are countless sessions to choose from presented by the best experts in the business.   In addition there are hundreds of exhibiting companies with resources you need to be successful and boost profits.  Network, learn, receive certifications and have some fun in Chi town.  Check out all the details at  I hope you can join me there.