RAPAPORT... The "BIG Show," organized annually by the National Retail Federation (NRF) in New York, expects tens of thousands of attendees, hundreds of speakers, and a keynote address from President Bill Clinton. The exposition runs January 15 through 18, 2012 at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. Dell is sponsoring an "Independents’ Day," on January 16, which is a full-day of special programs specifically for independent retailers.
''A mistake many small businesspeople make is that we think the NRF show is just for the big boys, but the NRF does a really good job of having stuff for us,'' said small-business owner Dave Ratner, of Dave's Soda & Pet City. ''Last year, I went to different sessions and learned how to fine-tune some ideas and I got a couple of new ideas for how to market my business. And, not only that, but walking the show floor is great. For a little guy, you would think it would be intimidating because you have all the big vendors, but we found some management tools that work with small businesses as well.''
BIG Show gives retailers free access to more than 400 solution providers, many of which support SMBs, or small- to medium-sized businesses.
''As a company rooted in the spirit of the entrepreneur, at Dell, we understand the power small business retailers hold in fueling the economy and reinvigorating their communities,'' said John Yelland, the director of global SMB retail solutions at Dell. ''Dell is proud to be the exclusive sponsor of NRF Independents’ Day as technology is a key enabler of helping these incredible businesses grow and thrive.''
Independents’ Day programs include sessions presented by retailers such as Ratner, Linda Hundt of Sweetie-licious Bakery Café, Sarah Endline of Sweetriot, and Allan Reagan of Flix Brewhouse. Other speakers include professionals from KAB Marketing and the Montana, Louisiana and Massachusetts retail associations.
Ratner says he goes to the show each year and never fails to come home with ideas about how to run his business better.
''My advice to the independent businessperson is don’t be intimidated,'' Ratner said. ''Don’t think the show is just for the Macy’s and the Walmarts of the world because there’s tons of stuff there for us.''