Last year, Kellye Dash sat in the audience of BizGrow and soaked in all the advice from small business owners like herself making their way in this technology-based economy. Now, the president and chief executive of The Busy Buddy is ready to share some of her own experiences as the Pasco Economic Development Council’s annual conference gets under way.
“I started my business in 2009 while working for an IT company,” Dash said. “I wasn’t sure when I was going to pull the trigger and head out on my own, but I knew I would have to do it at some point.”
Dash designed her Wesley Chapel-based Busy Buddy to add an extra hand or two to businesses when they needed it most, providing everything from administrative work to data research and beyond.
She comes to BizGrow 2.0 at Pasco-Hernando Community College on Friday no longer attached to her old job, and now Dash hopes to share that confidence with others.
“I was working full-time, and I didn’t want to let that paycheck go,” she said. “But if you step out on your own, you really can do it, as long as you put people around you who are supportive. You may just surprise yourself.”
These are the kinds of stories BizGrow is expected to inspire once again, said organizer John Walsh, vice president of the Pasco EDC.
“The idea is to bring inspirational stories to the group so that people who are going through challenges right now of starting their own business and growing it know that other people are out there that went through it as well,” Walsh said. “But we also want to get people to network. This is a chance for like-minded people to get together, to create some strong relationships in the county, and make that happen.”
Networking can be just as important as anything else, especially when it comes to drumming up business, or even collaboration, said Amy Gleason.
As the chief operating officer of CareSync, Gleason is working to get the word out about her company’s new online application that brings a patient’s medical records together into one spot.
“It was inspired in part by my daughter who was diagnosed with a rare disease,” Gleason said. “We had a hard time managing all her health information, because it wasn’t all in one spot. There’s just no one that teaches you to be a patient, and no guidebook on how to navigate the health care system — and that’s something we really need out there.”
Many of the best product ideas come from a personal need to have them, Gleason said. But what a large number of would-be entrepreneurs suffer from are missteps in execution.
And that means paying attention to the ever-changing business world that’s out there.
“I hear a lot of people who are afraid of Twitter and don’t really understand it,” Gleason said, citing an example of tools not being properly used. “But it can be one of the most amazing sources of information. You can put one thing out there, and someone from a completely different walk of life can respond and offer you something to think about.”
It’s the ups and downs, and finding the right tools for the right job that makes BizGrow a popular destination for budding entrepreneurs, Walsh said. Especially the trials and tribulations involved in owning a business, because it’s not always easy.
“It’s not easy,” Walsh said. “It’s a commitment that will cost you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it might not be for everybody. If it’s not, this is the time to figure it out, before you spend a lot of time and money on the effort. Otherwise, there are opportunities here for those who are ready to embark on this path.”
If you go
BizGrow 2.0 is a conference designed to help businesses navigate in the new economy.
It takes place Nov. 8, beginning at 8:30 a.m., at the New Port Richey campus of Pasco-Hernando Community College, Building R.
Admission is $30 in advance, or $35 the day of the event.