TAMPA — Twanda Bradley kicked things off with sales tips for small-business owners:
"Just remember that every time you present yourself, every time you walk out the door, realize that you represent your brand. And always have that business card ready."
She wasn't addressing a Junior Achievement class. The event planner was teaching a workshop Thursday in business fundamentals staged by the National Football League for small businesses trying to cash in on Super Bowl XLIII.
Such Business 101 was old hat to most of the 150 business owners. But most lapped up the advice as a helpful refresher course and prelude to some serious bowl biz networking.
"We're coming into this late," said Dusty Besecker, co-owner of Precision Digital Signs. "But I already got four or five leads."
This marks the sixth time the NFL has staged its Playbook for Small Business series aimed at spreading the wealth to minority- and women-owned small businesses.
"All I know is we're catering the league Celebrity Auction breakfast at the USF Sun Dome because we got in through this program," said Linda Calvano, owner of Events by Amore. At the Super Bowl, her crew will feed 6,886.
Businesses include movers, production companies, caterers and companies like Entertainment Factory Inc., which has stilt walkers, magicians, balloon artists, mimes, face painters, costumed characters and jugglers.
"We don't have an event to produce yet, but our entertainers have Super Bowl work," president Barbara Natale said.
The workshops started in April for local businesses trying to create licensed merchandise and ends just before the big game on Feb. 1. Registration is closed. Demand was so big in Tampa that the league doubled the capacity to 300.
Mark Albright can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8252.