I recently co-hosted a two-day event filled with entrepreneurial lessons: 2x4Live: Nashville, with three business colleagues: Lela Barker, Anne-Marie Faila and Kayla Fioravanti. If you were there, you already know what a treat it was. If you were not there, then strap yourself in for an overview of the presentations you missed.
Entrepreneurial Lessons from #2x4Live: Nashville
After an informative panel discussion, moderated by yours truly, my co-hosts and I took a deep dive into topics of interest to entrepreneurs from across all industries and all walks of life. This is a high level overview of what was covered in our presentations.
- How to host events to build your brand. I delivered a meaty talk about the importance of branded events to the continued viability of your brand. Whether it's a live Blab, Periscope, or Facebook video, a pre-recorded podcast (like my Indie Business Podcast), or a physical event (like #IndieCruise or 2×4), if you are not hosting events that appeal to your target customers, you are missing out on organic opportunities to know your customers better so you can serve them better.
I shared examples of Makers who are hosting live and recorded events with great success, using them to grow their customer base and increase sales. As part of my accountability strategy, everyone is being held accountable (at our attendee Facebook event page) to host at least one branded event before summer. Several attendees have taken the bull by the horns and have already hosted several events. This is so exciting to see!
The Entrepreneurial Lesson: If you are not leveraging the power of branded events to connect with your customers, you are literally leaving money on the table … plus you're missing huge opportunities to make running your business even more fun and enjoyable.
- The power of the slog. Anne-Maria Faiola's of Bramble Berry's presentation empowered us to remember that success is not a function of one huge bomb, but of thousands of tiny fire crackers.
This is a supreme reminder for entrepreneurs because we have a tendency to be impatient when it comes to the results we want. We want them right away, and from time to time, we get them. But normally, not only do we have to wait — but we have to keep slogging while we are waiting.
This is hard work. For example, how many of you participated in my Blog Your Brand Challenge and blogged for thirty days, gained a little blog traction, and then stopped entirely because you couldn't trace any sales to your blog? I'm guilty too, not with regard to blogging but to other things.
Anne-Marie's talk was a super reminder to all entrepreneurs to set reasonable expectation, to keep slogging, and to be patient as the results appear.
The Entrepreneurial Lesson: Small and consistent actions lead to huge success over time.
- Lessons from the entrepreneurial journey. Kayla Fioravanti of Selah Press spoke about the many twists and turns of her entrepreneurial journey, and how she survives it all. She shared her success co-leading Essential Wholesale with her husband, and she talked some about the experience of selling it in order that they could pursue other ventures, among them Bison farming … who knew?
Kayla talked about her “hopelessly unemployable” status, and how being very clear about her “why” has been a key to her continued entrepreneurial success. Kayla also spoke about how she has come to embrace failure as a frequent and positive occurrence in her business life. Yes, we do have to get used to that if we are going to last in business.
The Entrepreneurial Lesson: If you are not failing on a fairly regular basis, you are not learning anything. If you are not learning anything, you are not growing. If you are not growing, neither is your business.
- Targeting your ideal customer. Lela Barker of Lucky Break Consulting delivered a super presentation on the topic of identifying and going after your target customer, which she defined as, “[t]he customer you prefer to work with, who you ultimately envision buying your products.” She gave great examples of customer avatars, from the lousy and ill-defined, to the ultra descriptive and clarified.
Lela advised that going after everyone who could use your product is a frequent but fatal strategy of many Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs. She offered hard-hitting advise to help you avoid sliding down this slope, including continually asking “WHY WHY WHY” as you articulate what type of person is most likely to buy your products and why.
Lela recommended the book: Decoding the New Consumer Mind: How and Why We Shop and Buy, a book that will empower you with a greater understanding of why your customers buy your products.
The Entrepreneurial Lesson: If you have no target customer, you have no customer.
Here is an #OMFF (Open Mouthed Face of Fun) group shot of me with my co-hosts Kayla Fioravanti (over my right shoulder), Anne-Marie Faiola (on my left shoulder), and Lela Barker (behind Anne-Marie).By not leveraging the power of technology with branded events, you're leaving money on the table.Click To Tweet
Donna Maria, Indie Business Network
If you were not there with me in Nashville, I'm sorry you missed it and I hope this overview gives you a flavor for what you missed. I also hope it encourages you to want to join us in the future. Yes, we are chatting it up about possibly doing it again in 2017. You never know …