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Diversity, Similarities, and the Power of Partnerships: SMB Leaders Share Takeaways

We caught up with five small business leaders who attended Dreamforce ’19 to hear their takeaways from the event. Here's what they shared.

Dreamforce ’19 is a wrap, but the tips and tricks, advice, and experiences shared over those four days in November will inspire us for months to come. It was an amazing week both in-person and online, and that’s all thanks to people like you.

We caught up with five small business leaders who attended Dreamforce ’19 to hear their takeaways from the event. Here’s what they shared:

1. Diversity is a business imperative

We couldn’t have put it better than founding partner of Have Her Back Consulting Erin Gallagher. Diversity is not a charity. It’s a business imperative. “Women are not a niche market. Women are the market. I heard from so many incredible women (and men) — on- and off stage — about the power and impact of female leaders in their organization. (President) Obama made a point of saying it, too. Diversity is not a charity. It’s a business imperative. We all need to be more intentional in our efforts to be diverse and inclusive. And if we want to get different results and actually move (the) culture forward, we need to do things differently.”

2. Small businesses face similar challenges

Austin, Texas’ ICS+ is a high-end audio/visual solutions provider. ZeroCater brings in-office meals to more than 500,000 people each month across five major US markets. Different types of small businesses in vastly different industries, and yet two of their leaders left Dreamforce singing the same tune: SMBs everywhere face the same types of challenges.

“I learned that though we may be in vastly different industries, many small businesses face similar challenges,” President and Lead Developer at ICS+ Bernard Morgan said. “The ways that each business attempts to meet those challenges are as varied as the businesses themselves, and we can all learn from each other in the most unexpected ways.”

ZeroCater’s Director of Sales Thomas Watanapun echoed Morgan’s sentiment. “As an SMB leader at DF 2019, I had the opportunity to meet with other SMB leaders, and what stood out the most was that the solutions to problems they had are incredibly scalable and can be applied to all different industries with only slight tweaks,” he said. Watanapun added, “It was truly an eye-opening experience to be able to engage with leaders from all around the world and see that we all encounter similar issues. Even better, we were able to troubleshoot those issues and talk through solutions on the spot.”

3. The power and importance of partnerships

Another common theme was the power of partnering up — no surprise considering the incredible conflux of SMB entrepreneurs, business leaders, and developers who got together at Dreamforce.

This year was Stimulus Founder Tiffanie Standard’s first Dreamforce. The small business CEO finds community invaluable in business. “As an SMB leader, this year was my first time attending and speaking at Dreamforce, and I learned the power and importance of partnerships,” Standard said. “The opportunity to grow your business within the Salesforce ecosystem is tremendous.”

Founder and CEO of PepTalkHer Meggie Palmer spoke to the chance to meet potential partners in person. “Dreamforce was an amazing mix of creativity, connection, and collaboration! It reinforced how powerful it is to build strong relationships with values-aligned people and businesses,” she said. Palmer added that in an increasingly digital world, it was “refreshing to meet colleagues and clients in real life” and cement partnerships old and new.

And as a bonus, Palmer from PepTalkHer had an extra bit of extra practical advice you can carry directly to your next industry event, whatever it may be: “I also learned that wearing new heels to Dreamforce was a terrible idea — flats all the way next year!”

Did you make it to Dreamforce ’19, either in-person or online? What were your takeaways from the event? Share with us on Twitter. Plus, watch the recording of our SMB Keynote at Dreamforce ’19 to learn more about how your small business can get on the path to its best business throughout the year.

Salesforce can help you find customers, win their business, and keep them happy so you can grow faster than ever. Learn more about our small business CRM solutions, follow us on Twitter at @Essentials, or keep up with us on LinkedIn at Salesforce for Small Business. Join the conversation using #SMBTrailblazer.


Noah Kravitz Writer, SMB Marketing

Noah Kravitz is a writer and technologist working with the SMB Marketing team at Salesforce. A former journalist, he also hosts a podcast on Artificial Intelligence and is researching virtual reality-based wellness therapies.

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