There were many familiar faces during Thursday's third annual Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur Conference and Expo.
Among them was Evan Profeta, who has attended each one as a State Farm representative.
"Every year we meet new business owners and get a chance to interact with current customers as well, he said. "One of our biggest accounts came from this expo last year, and it was very important for us."
Profeta was among dozens of other company representatives looking to network with other businesses. Each business had a booth in the West Forsyth High School gymnasium.
This was Michael Carter's second year at the expo. As president of Creative Advertising Solutions, meeting and forming relationships with other local businesses is the key to success.
"My company basically caters business to business, as opposed to business to the public," he said. "So this event is a good opportunity for me to meet other business owners and businesses in the community.
"It's about relationships. You've got to meet people and get to know them before they ... place an order with you."
In addition the expo, which ran from 4 to 7 p.m., an entrepreneur conference featuring guest speaker Jenny Pruitt was held from 3 to 4 p.m.
As both the of Atlanta Fine Homes and Jenny Pruitt & Associates, Pruitt is known nationally as a real estate leader and has been recognized by the Atlanta Board of Realtors and the Atlanta Business Hall of Fame.
Pruitt talked about her experience in the real estate market, her successes, failures, personal struggles and the current state of the market.
The problems stem from a lack of consumer confidence, she said, adding that the best thing to do is instill confidence the best we can.
"We feed them all the positive information we can," she said.
A devout Christian, Pruitt touched on the need for faith during the slow times. Her message meant a great deal to Melissa Smith with Results Realty.
"I learned that even the people at the top are suffering in this market, and that she's also feeling the pains," she said. "To see her faith, and to see the good in this bad is what people need to do. To look at the good, that's the most important thing I've pulled from her."
Noreen Johnson, medical sales representative, said she was "fascinated by her quotes of women and how powerful women are in the financial world and the buying power women had."
"I really liked her stats of the importance of businesses focusing on the power that women have in the buying process."
According to Kris Carroll, chamber spokeswoman, turnout at both events was lower than last year. All in all, though, she said the event was a success.
"I think it was a more targeted audience," she said. "Most of the audience was specifically entrepreneurs and people who were small business owners who were there specifically for the intent of either hearing Jenny or finding more about the small business services offered by the chamber.
"It was an extremely successful event, because that was our target audience."
The expo was sponsored by Comcast and the Forsyth County News. North Georgia College & State University sponsored the chamber's Business After Hours, which was part of the event.