Best Bits of Our Business Bootcamp
Each spring, we host a conference that we call Business Bootcamp. It's a chance for mama entrepreneurs to come together and spend a day focusing on their business instead of in it.
This year, content was centered on the latest business trends and strategies, practical advice and tips, and creating space for attendees to connect with each other.
The highlight that everyone is still talking about was the keynote talk by Julie Cole, co-founder of Mabel's Labels. Her honest - sometimes sassy - rundown of growing a business with four partners from her basement to selling it to Avery Labels (all while raising SIX kids!) left us feeling empowered and inspired.
"Your network is your net worth" ~ Julie Cole
Here are a few of the key takeaways from the day. If you missed it, we hope you can join us next year!
Control How You Spend Your Time
A recurring theme in Julie's talk was how to spend your time when there is so much competing for it. One of her strategies is to ban "fly-by" conversations. If someone on her team wishes to speak with her, they can book into a pre-determined time slot for quick chats. This allows her to focus on the task at hand and not lose efficiencies from context switching. As she put it, "your lack of planning doesn't constitute my emergency."
She also emphasized the importance of saying no, and giving ourselves the permission to do so unapologetically - this particularly resonated with the audience!
Protect Your Brand, Sooner Rather Than Later
Many small business owners shy away from getting too deep into legal issues. Cynthia Mason showed us that it doesn't have to complicated, or cumbersome! She walked us through the importance of trademarks for your brand - from your business name to your logo. By taking steps early to protect yourself, you can save a lot of time and money should an issue arise down the road.
Digital Marketing is All About User Experience
Whether you're setting up an online shop, Facebook ads, a pop-up on your blog, or an email campaign, our Digital Marketing Panel all agree that your online presence should be focused on user experience.
Holly La Rochelle put the importance of good e-commerce design into perspective by pointing out that even a big brand like Toys R Us can go under due to a poor user experience. She recommended that people be able to purchase in 2 clicks - any more, and you're less likely to make the sale.
Rachel DiMartino of Geek Unicorn emphasized the importance of SEO (search engine optimization) as it is a free form of advertising. Search engines prioritize websites that create a great user experience - so looking at site load times, pop-up designs, and sites that encourage user engagement are all key components of a successful strategy.
Sara Vartanian believes that being generous - giving away more than you think you should - is a great way to build a solid following on social media and your email list. I asked how businesses can stand out in a crowded online space and her response definitely left some food for thought:
"Don't generate noise; contribute to the conversation." ~Sara Vartanian
Elaine Chan-Dow spoke about the importance of your images and social media design as it relates to your ability to reach your ideal customer. Having clear and consistent branding can make or break a first impression - but first you must be clear on who you are speaking to and what problem you are solving. And while many businesses wait until their more established, Elaine believes your brand image should be a critical investment to help you grow your community with your ideal customer right from the beginning.
The Easiest Way to Grow Your Revenue
Lianne Kim, co-leader of Mamas & Co. and founder of Think Big Sales Consulting shared 4 strategies to grow your revenue: increasing clients, increasing number of sales, the upsell, and raising your prices. And while many people in the crowd felt that raising prices was the most difficult, Lianne believes it is actually the easiest. All we have to do it believe in ourselves and our offer - and effectively get that message across. She showed us that "sales" doesn't have to be a four letter word and left us with practical ideas to help take steps to boost our revenue this quarter.
Putting It All Into Action
It is no secret to those who know me that I am a planner. I was a project manager in my previous career, and live off of lists (and Excel spreadsheets). We wanted to wrap up the day with tangible strategies to help attendees take what they learned and put it into action. We want our events to have a lasting impact - even though we know life gets busy! It is my hope that participants took the final exercise to heart and have been able to effectively incorporate the lessons learned throughout the day into their strategy for Q2 and beyond.
"Create a plan, and write it down. Because the Universe needs to know how it can help you best." ~ Emma Rohmann
Emma Rohmann is co-leader of Mamas & Co. and co-creator of Business Bootcamp with Lianne Kim.