Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The North West Business Show, Day 1

I'm reporting back from Day One of the North West Business Show at Manchester Central (formerly G-Mex), where a host of business owners, support services and speakers got together to network, educate and inspire. Although there were scheduled events such as speed networking and lectures from leading lights, I went with one thing on my mind: to find out what an event like that could do for a sole trader HTML web designer and developer.

Business North West
North West Business Show

The first thing I did when I got there was to take a good look around. Like most conventions, you have a badge and you're expected to mingle, which I did.

Big corporations were represented, including News International, which has Britain's most popular tabloid The Sun among its titles. Not unexpectedly, I saw a few recruitment agencies and corporate trainers. Web design, marketing and internet companies were also there, and I spent some time talking to them in the hope of being able to make deals to market their companies via my website and blogs or maybe get some overflow HTML or graphic design work.

EKM Powershop

EKM Powershop logo

Right off the bat I got an affiliate deal with after I'd explained about my business card links. I showed them my website and they explained how it's possible to either integrate their online shop into an existing website or set it up as a stand-alone site. I've been considering the benefits of such a course, and since it's been quiet for me lately business-wise, it makes sense to have a secondary income stream. The upshot is, it's possible to either offer EKM as an option for e-commerce and offer to design it with a company logo and some content, or let someone click on the link and just do everything themselves. It's easy to design and customize and there's support and hosting included in the deal. Special offer: three months of service for £1 and a month's free PayPal processing.

Internet Services

I met with the representatives of three internet services and companies, each of which focuses on different areas of business services, though some overlap. The most interesting was Core Business Solutions. Based in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, they offer business support services, marketing & creative services and wealth management, the idea being that they're a one-stop shop for businesses that are either starting out or are in a rut. They're very busy -- a good thing to be -- and there may be a chance of my doing some overflow design or content writing, and possibly getting an affiliate deal. They do web design as well as advertising and media relations for the kind of high-end clients I can only dream of.

Melbourne Server Hosting supplies servers and server support for website hosting and other companies. They don't offer IT or web design, they just do servers and datacentres and they do it well. In fact, UK companies that offer web hosting are probably using them.

Ackura is a content creation and management company that offer tools that enable business owners to update their sites themselves. They offer high-end web design services and a suite of online marketing solutions.


Steel City Marketing and Busibuild offer fabulous corporate gifts. I was very taken with the metallic USB robot-thingy which, Transformer-like, can be taken apart to reveal the built-in memory stick. The sci-fi nerd in me absolutely loves it. I'd be delighted to promote them and their services if they're interested.

Other businesses

I also had a chat with Janice Crosbie from The Mere, a golf club and spa which hosts conferences, trade fairs, weddings and other events. Their website has a lovely javascript carousel not unlike the one I use on my home page.

Oviso is an insurance company offering cover for individuals and businesses.

Well, that was day 1. I'm looking forward to see what's on tomorrow.

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