The SFA Business Connect 2024 was a fantastic marketplace event for PD Ceramics Ltd as an Irish dental laboratory to showcase our business on Thursday, February 8th at the Killashee Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare. The Small Firms Association brought this 5th year of the event to their members from medium to large companies across numerous Irish industries and gave, SFA Awards 2024 Finalists like us the opportunity to network on the day. We got to hear from leading companies who shared their experiences, stories of success and the experts and peer groups gave us wonderful insights around transformation.
The keynote speaker David McWilliams brought great discussion to the morning and reminded us of all about the power small businesses are playing in the Irish economy today. The panel discussions were great for the audience also and brought lots of food for thought around strategy and planning for the dental laboratory as we move through 2024.
The speaker sessions focused on:
- “Supply Chain Responsibility: Why small firms can’t ignore Cyber Security as a supplier” – David McNamara, MD CommSec. This was something we had already started to address in late 2022 and continue to evaluate yearly.
- “Modern Money/On being financial flow savvy” – Neil Hughes, CEO Azets Ireland.
- “Getting in the door of Big Business – The how to’s for small business” – Neil Dover, Ireland Country Manager HP
The Value of Business Events
Attending business events is always something we need to find time for, as it is essential in the promotion of our products and services. One of the key insights from the event for PD Ceramics Ltd as an SME dental laboratory promoting awareness of our contribution to Irish dentistry, was that we are doing a lot right! There is still so much more to do.
As a Guaranteed Irish member, we are also striving to bring more local employment, protect the skillsets of our dental technicians and team through further education and give back to our communities. We want dental patients to value our products as clients of their dental practices if they are using PD Ceramics Ltd. As Zirkonzahn® is our main partner supplier in Ireland, we received great feedback from visitors to the stand who could really see the importance we put on providing continuous education to our dental technicians over the years. It was fantastic to connect onsite with Skillnet Ireland, who have been supporting our team with education over the last few months and LEO – Local Enterprise Office, who updated us with insights for further resources available at our own local LEO Galway branch.
The focus of the event for us was to present PD Ceramics Ltd as an SME, network with fellow industry finalists, the broader SFA network, meet the judging panel for the SFA Awards 2024 and our category sponsors SAGE. We discussed our business service offerings and raise awareness of being a dental laboratory in the changing landscape of AI and a shortage of dental technicians globally. There was great interest around how we are combatting this now and in the future.
Going outside of our own sector also helps us to understand how other business sectors value investing time in the short-term, medium-term, and long-term of attending events. Finding solutions in areas of your business through the experience of speakers like those at Business Connect 2024 definitely was worth the time, and something to plan for regularly. So, why is that important?
Small, Medium & Long-Term Value
- Immediate Exposure: Business events offer immediate exposure to a targeted audience. Attendees have the opportunity to interact with your products or services firsthand, potentially leading to immediate interest and sales.
- Networking Opportunities: Short-term networking benefits can lead to immediate partnerships, collaborations, or sales. Building relationships at events can result in quick wins and early business opportunities.
- Brand Awareness: Participating in events helps in quickly building brand awareness. Exposure to a concentrated audience can lead to increased recognition and visibility in a short period.
- Lead Generation: Business events are excellent for generating leads. Engaging with attendees allows you to collect contact information, qualify leads, and initiate follow-ups shortly after the event.
- Relationship Building: The relationships established at events can evolve into more meaningful and mutually beneficial partnerships over the medium term. This can lead to sustained business growth and collaboration.
- Market Insights: Insights gained from interactions at events contribute to a better understanding of market trends, customer needs, and competitors. These insights can inform medium-term business strategies.
- Content and Marketing Materials: Content generated during events, such as photos, videos, and customer testimonials, can be repurposed for marketing materials. This content enhances your marketing efforts over the medium term.
- Increased Credibility: Consistent participation in relevant events enhances your business’s credibility within the industry. Recognition from being present at reputable events contributes to a positive medium-term perception.
- Brand Loyalty: Establishing a presence at events over the long term can contribute to brand loyalty. Consistent engagement builds trust and fosters lasting relationships with customers and partners.
- Market Positioning: Long-term participation in events helps position your brand as an industry leader. Your business becomes associated with expertise and innovation, reinforcing its position in the market.
- Global Reach: Over time, participation in larger events can expand your business’s reach beyond local markets. This global exposure can open up new opportunities for expansion and partnerships.
- Industry Influence: Consistent involvement in events allows your business to contribute to industry discussions and trends. This establishes your company as an influential player, impacting the industry over the long term.
- Strategic Partnerships: Building relationships at events can lead to long-term strategic partnerships, joint ventures, or collaborations that significantly impact the growth and sustainability of your business.
Attending events brings numerous benefits for a dental laboratory. From immediate exposure and brand awareness to increased credibility, global reach, and strategic partnerships. No matter where you go you will always find some nugget of information that could change the trajectory of your business. Without exposure to the great people and insights at events, you may end up standing still or missing the opportunity to be even more in your sector!
Business Development Leader