Friday, November 17, 2017

3 Proven Ways to Make Money From a Business Conference




After taking a travel hiatus for the last few months, I'm back at it again. Within the next few weeks, I have two conferences on the books. First up, I have my biggest annual conference of the year next week, The Financial Blogger Conference (also known as FinCon).

Given that I am spending a lot of money to attend business events, it's only natural that I create a plan for getting a return on my investment. Because you see, not having a plan is the single biggest mistake most business owners make. Then they complain about not having made any money.

With that being said, here are x proven ways to make money from a business conference. I use these tips every year and always end up making a return on my investment.


What product/service are you trying to sell?

I'm a big fan of starting with the end in mind. That usually looks like figuring out what product or service you're currently working on selling and then creating a course of action.

In the past, I've attended this particular conference primarily to get writing clients. That means I was focusing on getting as much time with editors as I could. I also had a killer follow-up plan that I'd devised with my business manager. Spoiler alert:  It worked.

This year, I'm focusing on growing the digital marketing consulting portion of my business. More specifically, I'm looking for students for my six-week group coaching program.

So what does that mean for this year? First, I'm on a panel about how to convert a blog into a coaching business. Second, I have a team member coming with me so she can help find prospects. Third, we will have a system for collecting information from prospects in order to set up meetings with them.

Just a quick note that all networking etiquette rules still apply. I'm not there to shove anything down anyone's throat. I'm simply positioning myself as the expert through a speaking engagement, having conversations and setting up meetings.


What would be a waste of your time?

Here's a newsflash about conferences: You can't do everything.

Furthermore, as much as I love this particular conference, I know some things are a total waste of time for me. In my case, that looks like taking meetings with companies that want to pitch me their app in hopes that I'll write about it.

It's nothing personal. I'm just there to make money, not necessarily do you a favor. That's why this year I've opted out of taking any meetings like this so I can instead focus on my primary goal: finding students.

Now, if I happen to have a conversation with someone in the hallway that's a totally different story. I'm just not taking formal meetings for this particular purpose.


Who do you want to meet?

Growing your network is a huge part of growing a business. At the end of the day, who you know still plays a major part in business success. After all, % of business still comes from word of mouth and referrals.

And so your next quest becomes determining who you want to meet. Is it editors to get media attention? Is it influences for a marketing campaign? Is it people you admire?

Come up with a list, take it with you and make some connections.


Final Thoughts


If you're clear about your desired goals, making money from attending conferences becomes easy. The key is to determine what your main priority is and then make all of your decisions based on that.




Image Credit:Getty Images
Source: http://www.inc.com


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

8 Things You Need to Survive a Long Day of Networking



So, you've signed up for a large scale summit, trade show, or networking event. Now what? If you're anything like me, packing for this trip starts the night before your flight. This ends up becoming a scramble to ensure you've packed all the necessities for your trip.

What are you going to wear? What shoes do you need? Will you be working out in the hotel gym? The list goes on. While you mainly just need to show up to the event, it's better to set yourself up for success. The less you have to worry about the day of, the better.

Here's my list of networking event must haves:


1. A portable phone charger


There's nothing worse than being cut off from the world simply because you didn't charge your phone. Need an Uber? Nope, can't do that with a dead phone. Want to check your email? No luck there either.

I was recently gifted a portable cell phone power bank and I love it. Honestly, I never knew how much I wanted one of these. It fully charges my phone multiple times, and it's actually a great icebreaker. So many people were looking to charge their phones in our group of acquaintances, and I got to know them a little better as we joked over who would hold the phone and charger, not wanting the other to disappear with their goods.

 

2. Business cards


You'll meet a ton of new people, and instead of trying to remember to connect online, handing out business cards is a quick and easy way to stay connected. It sounds obvious, but I stumble across numerous people who forgot theirs or have out-of-date information. If the event has ID scanners, those are a bonus.

 

3. Granola bars


A lot of these events have finger foods or snacks throughout the day, but when you're powering through eight hours of networking and learning, your stomach is probably going to start grumbling. I keep a granola bar or piece of fruit in my purse in case of an emergency.

 

4. Note taking supplies


I write down notes in my phone, but my assistant prefers to jot things down on a notepad. We all stay organized differently, so keep in mind your favorite way to remember important details and pack those items accordingly.

 

5. A lightweight tote bag


When I attend trade shows or speaking events, I almost always end up with an armful of goodies or promotional materials. These simply don't fit into my purse, and if you're a guy who isn't a fan of man bags, you might find yourself in the same situation.

I started packing an easy-to-fold canvas tote bag in my purse to whip out in the event that I have a lot to carry. It's a life safer, seriously. Even if you've only got a bottle of water, a few pamphlets, a map of the grounds, etc. it adds up, and we all need our hands free to snap a few pictures or check social media.

 

6. A name badge


My biggest pet peeve when it comes to networking events is not being able to easily distinguish who the attendees are. If you're given a name badge, please wear it.

You don't look any more cool than anyone else by not wearing it, and you're probably hurting your chances at networking with like-minded individuals because they have no idea who you are. I dislike hunting and pecking through a crowd of people to find the types with whom I'm most interested in connecting.

 

7. A refillable water bottle


You know what's worse than listening to a bad talk? Being the person in the crowd with an uncontrollable cough who has no water on hand and is disrupting the entire event.

Surprise, all eyes are on you! If only you had a water bottle, or -- even better-- a refillable water bottle so you can save yourself $3 every time you need to quench your thirst. Most large scale events are held at locations that have water fountains, and refills are free.

 

8. A casual outfit


If you're in a new area, take advantage of any free time you have on hand and explore the town. You may never be back, stop and have a bite to eat, soak up the scenery.

Once you've packed these items in your bag, and you're prepared for an exciting day remember to eat a healthy breakfast, stay hydrated, and set goals on who you'd like to meet and what you'd like to accomplish at the event. If you do all of these things, you'll be steps ahead of the other attendees and well on your way to a successful event.





 Image Credit:Getty Images
 Source:https://www.inc.com


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

How Startups Can Start Advertising



How should my start-up approach advertising? It’s a difficult and important question for start-ups. It’s difficult because, relative to established brands, start-ups do not have the luxuries of a dedicated strategist to plan the advertising or an agency to produce the advertising. It’s important because start-ups tend to operate with a narrower margin for error compared to established brands. If the advertising fails, they are more likely to not have the resources for a second effort. Indeed, the success of advertising for a startup might be the difference between gaining or losing momentum for their business.

The good news is that several strategic considerations can start to help start-ups get more from their advertising.

First, start-ups should ask themselves what the advertising must accomplish. It’s a common misperception, one I have heard even among people with established brands, to view advertising through the sole directive to increase sales. While the increase in sales in one objective of advertising—and one I value tremendously—advertising can support other important functions. For example, advertising can be used to grow awareness, create buzz, foster positive evaluations, or push consumers towards trial. Each of these outcomes can ultimately contribute to sales, but they represent a different focus that can impact how the advertising is developed and evaluated.

For example, some new product innovations have such a strong point of difference that, once people aware the product, consumers’ have an immediate desire for it. I have invested in several ideas on kick starter.com as soon as I became aware of the product; I did not need advertising to convince me of, or help me understand, the benefits. In such circumstances, the primary goal of advertising might simply be to make consumers aware the product exists and/or how to obtain it. In other situations, however, consumers might not understand what the product is or why it is desirable. For example, when Tivo first launched, some people had trouble relating to what it was and what it did. Here, attention did not appear sufficient, advertising needed to further educate, inform, and persuade the individual. One’s goals shifts what the creative execution has to accomplish.

Second, start-ups lack the same insights about consumers as established brands. Put simply, start-ups do not have a massive amount of data on the psycho graphics of their consumers. This can be a serious issue because it makes it difficult to know what to communicate in one’s advertising. However, savvy start-ups can address this concern in two ways.

First, even in the digital age, it is amazing how far a focus group can go in the service of insight. I have had former students of mine report that they learned the most from simply sitting down and chatting with a target; it’s a tool I’ve seen effectively used for small and large brands alike. Of course, the value of focus groups does not mean start-ups should not take full advantage of the digital age. In fact, this is where a second opportunity exists to obtain insights. Brands can use their advertising to test different strategies in a manner to help them learn about the consumer. Specifically, brands can vary their copy to understand the type of messages and appeals that are more effective. For example, if one has two competing ideas about what will be most effective, a clear means to answer this is to provide an empirical test of the executions. Indeed, small scale digital efforts focused on learning about the consumer can provide another benefit to advertising.


 Finally, while start-ups find themselves in a different place than established brands, some of the basics of sound brand building still apply. For example, when I work with entrepreneurs, I continue to stress the importance of a sound creative brief. This planning document, when drafted with care and competence, forces strategic thinking for a brand. It’s a situation, in my opinion, where size of the brand doesn’t matter. For example, my own creative brief forces me to think about issues related to insight and positioning. For start-ups, a creative brief can introduce struggle because they don’t always know how to compete. However, with this struggle comes an opportunity to address those deficits, such as insight. Moreover, for start-ups doing the creative strategy in house, the creative brief can help them acclimate to the dual roles of strategy and creative.

The decision to advertise by a start-up can be a big deal. And, whether that first step is a small social media effort or simple display advertising, the utility of that effort will be aided by the addition of strategic structure.






 Source-https://www.forbes.com
 Image Credit- Shutterstock

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

7 Tips to Avoid Getting the Email Cold Shoulder


This is an excerpt of a recent email I received--and a good example of one that will get deleted in record time. As a venture investor in early stage startup companies, I receive a steady stream of email pitches like this every day.

Unfortunately, all of them get the deleted without a reply. There might be a nugget among the daily onslaught, but I have never seen a company come over the transom ("cold") that resulted in a great exit.

The only investment opportunities I'll consider reviewing come through referrals from founders, VCs, or trusted industry veterans. "Ok, great Chris," you're thinking. "I live in Boca Raton, Florida, and I don't know anyone in the venture business, or anyone in Silicon Valley. What am I supposed to do? How can I connect with you and avoid the delete key?"

I'm glad you asked. Here are suggested steps to help you rise above the noise, and make the right connections to get a proper referral:

 1. Connect to a connector.


It's easy to go to LinkedIn to see my connections and discover our common connections. If there are none, find someone who you can approach, send a request, and begin to build a relevant network.

You can also search outside LinkedIn. For example, you can follow me on Twitter and Angel List (and, of course, Inc.com).

 

2. Join an incubator or accelerator.


There are hundreds of accelerators across the country, in almost every town and major city. Most accelerators have a network of local investors and entrepreneurs, and some of those people will allow you to leverage their extended networks. Undoubtedly there will be a Silicon Valley connection within that network.

 

3. Research your target's interests.


Like everyone else, I have personal interests and social causes that I am actively involved in. I love to cycle, and I am drawn to people who are fitness focused. I also co-founded a non-profit called The Last Mile that has very strong touch points in the technology, philanthropy, and investment communities.

 

4. Send me something of value, article, introduction, etc.


When I invest in a company, there is a value exchange. I provide money and expertise for equity in your company.

You can start that value exchange long before I take a meeting with you. Find some information or article that might interest me, or some book recommendations. I'm always looking for interesting (and unusual) books.

 

5. Become a published domain expert.


There are many platforms upon which you can express your opinions or provide information that is relevant to your domain focus. Anyone can create a Medium account and share their writing on social media. You can answer (and ask) questions on Quora, and you can do the same on Whale (one of my portfolio companies).

Find an outlet and be consistent.

 

6. Show up at meet-ups and conferences.


Network, network, network. Find local meet-ups that cater to entrepreneurs, your domain, or your hobby. You need to dedicate time to meet people and share your ideas.

Networking is easy for some, and difficult for others. If it's difficult for you, find a "wing person" who can help generate conversations, and make you more comfortable in these situations.

 

7. Take a trip to Silicon Valley.


Silicon Valley is still the center of the innovation universe, and visiting here will expose you to driven entrepreneurs, in the most competitive market in the world. You never know who you'll bump into in a coffee shop, restaurant, or at a local event. If you can't get to Silicon Valley, go to New York City, Los Angeles, Austin, Boulder, or any other innovation hub and start networking.

So, please don't make me hit delete. Try a few of these tips, and see if they lead to green.

Seriously, I look forward to hearing from you through someone in my network--and if I do, I'll gladly take a meeting. Good luck and happy networking.





Source- https://www.inc.com
Image Credit: Getty Images


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!