2018 Expo 8.5 x 11 w Super Heroes w sponsorsNever been to a business expo before? Think they’re only valuable to other industries? Think again.

Superheroes from businesses around SLO County and beyond are mustering their superpowers for the Central Coast’s largest and most anticipated business show May 16.

What’s in it for me, you ask? If rubbing elbows, checking out heroic displays of creativity and snagging a few free samples doesn’t do it for you, consider these five reasons you don’t want to miss EXPO at the Expo.

(Plus, it’s free. All you have to do is show up with a business card, or $5 for the non-business folks.)

1. Discover the latest innovations and trends. Learn what’s hot, what’s not and what your business should be doing now with just a simple stroll around the Expo Center. Are there innovations you should be exploring? Trends you can adopt? New resources to tap into? Stay up to date with the latest products and strategies, and even check in on the competition.

2. Engage in low-pressure networking. This is networking at its easiest — the stakes are low and the atmosphere is casual and fun. Businesses are there to meet YOU, so just walk over to a table to start up a friendly conversation, then fade back into the crowd for a break. Who knows, you may even pick up a lead or two of your own.

3. Get personalized advice. Businesses bring their expertise to the table, so take advantage. Catch some face-time to hear their take on your challenges, explore possible solutions or just pick their brain. Think of it as one big room offering across-the-board guidance on how to start, grow or expand your business.

4. Find new ways to shop local. We all know that supporting local business is critical for the health of our local economy, and we’re betting you discover at least one locally owned vendor, supplier or retailer you never knew about before. Wouldn’t it be great to send your business down the street rather than across the country?

5. Get inspired. Been heads-down for a while? Take a couple hours to break out of your bubble and see what others are up to. Get energized talking with new folks and reconnecting with those you haven’t seen in a while. Just getting out of your everyday can help you refresh your thinking and be more open to new ideas . You’ll leave with fresh new perspectives to take back to work.

And did we mention it’s fun? We’re serious about business, but we like to have fun doing it. Just check out photos of last year’s EXPO. Between the lively attire, colorful displays, high-energy crowd, and food and drink samples, it won’t seem like work at all.

Really want to go above and beyond? Register now for a booth to put your business front and center for thousands of potential partners, clients and team members.

EXPO at the Expo takes off at 4 p.m. May 16 at the Madonna Expo Center. We’ll see you there.