The Best Tips for KC Entrepreneurs, Small-Business Owners We Heard at GEWKC
Global Entrepreneurship Week - Kansas City is the metro’s largest celebration of doers, dreamers and makers … and this year features 200+ events. With that much entrepreneurial brainpower in one neighborhood, you can bet the hosts have plenty of great advice to help your business.
Sorry if we’re creating a bit of #FOMO here, but just in case you couldn't make it to GEWKC or you missed a session, we compiled some of the best tips and guidance from GEWKC that your business can put into use right now.
Innovate as a small business owner
No matter how big or small your business is, you can innovate. Marketing and advertising giants VML offer up some words of wisdom to help you create and conquer:
1. Write down all ideas and build on them. Nothing is a bad idea.
2. Innovation without structure looks like a giant scribble that leads to one idea. Use a process to get more out of your innovation.
Generate (better) referrals
Do you want to generate more referrals and introductions? (Of course you do.) The experts for Sandler Training Kansas City have some tips to help you get started
1. Referrals are all about establishing outcomes for both parties. It’s not just about what the other party can do for you but what you can do for them.
2. Network with purpose and be clear up front what you and the other party both want to get out of the relationship.
3. Tell people who your ideal clients are and ask if they know them. Simply asking can be an easy gateway to a key introduction.
Leverage collaborations to create high-performance teams
Most collaborations, though they start with great intentions, fail. ResolutionWorks outlines some key tips to maximize working with another party.
1. Too often we follow a path of “ready, fire, aim” instead of “ready, aim, fire”: Have clarity about where you’re going.
2. Learn to deal with conflict; think of it as a skill. Conflict can be a motivator for change.
3. Knowing, feeling, doing: There’s a difference. Think about what you want them to do? Feeling motivates action, so think about how you want them to feel. What do I need them to know to motivate them to take the action?
4. Nonverbal things, like posture and facial expression, can speak louder than words. Make sure to smile, open your posture and lean forward to show you’re engaged. Be mindful of their personal space. Maintain eye contact for five seconds and nod to show you’re listening.
5. The most essential step for successful new agreements: How will you measure satisfaction and success? Measuring will let you know if you’ve reached your goals.
Dominate your local market online
Digital platforms are a great way for your business to reach new and existing customers, but all those options can be overwhelming. Voltage has some advice about how to move the needle to drive engagement.
1. The world of digital marketing offers a lot of options, but you can’t do everything. So start with the “who”: Whom do you want your messaging to reach? Then pick the platform where your audience lives.
2. The buyer’s journey involves multiple stages: Have content for each stage to help customers on their journey, and think about which channels serve each stage from awareness, to interest, to desire, to action.
3. Think about what makes you sustainable, and then work backward to connect the right marketing channels and develop key performance indicators, or KPIs.
4. Use social media as a way to research your competition: How do they rank? What content are they publishing?
Start your business with learned lessons
Starting a business isn’t easy. Determination, Incorporated and several entrepreneurs offered tons of tips to help aspiring small business owners to get off the ground.
1. Credit matters: That includes your personal credit. Good personal credit will open up more opportunities to you.
2. Never be afraid to ask for help; it’s about who you know. KC has an amazing entrepreneur network of 240+ resources, so reach out for your (free) personal action plan and get connected and move forward.
3. The reality is that most people who start a business do not have rich family or friends who can help. Be okay with holding down a job to pay the bills while you work on your side hustle.
4. Starting a business isn’t easy. Explore your options before you take the plunge. A new business is a risk, but make it a calculated one.
The value of finding a business coach
You can’t put a price on what a business mentor or coach can do for your business. We hear (and see) the value entrepreneurs and small business owners get from connecting with someone who can illuminate their blind spots and help put them on the path toward success.
1. Mentors can help you determine if your idea or business is viable, help find financing or show you how to be scrappy.
2. Mentors can help you to find ways to be profitable and scalable, and not just focusing on their first product or great idea.
3. To find a mentor, think of someone you respect and ask them. Seek out their advice and ask questions.
How do you start freelancing?
Freelancing is a great entry point for those who have a particular skill (or set of skills) and want to test them out the waters of entrepreneurship and develop and grow a brand doing what YOU love.
1. Think about how are you different from your competition and fill that niche.
2. Develop your elevator pitch. Start with, “I help (who) do (what) to accomplish (the result).”
3. Freelancing has pros and cons: It is unpredictable in terms of pay and work and can be lonely. However, it offers freedom, flexibility, opportunity to work from home and earn the income you want.
Create live video with just your phone
Sometimes, to get started on something new, like creating video for your brand, you have to get outside your comfort zone and just do it. And you can start super cheap with just your cellphone … no expensive camera required! Host 180 Insurance has some great tips to get started:
1. Use Facebook Live. It’s free, and Facebook loves native content.
2. Be mindful of lighting. You can use a lamp you have lying around the house or face a window and use that natural light.
3. Start with an attention-grabbing shot: Craft a compelling statement, start with movement, etc.
Use your creativity to earn more and spend less time selling
This session explored how to focus your energy on your creations instead of selling and marketing. You have to find and build your tribe (aka customers who become promoters of your business); then, they do the selling for you. Host Sword of Joy had some great tips:
1. Find your niche! Period. Or your biz will flop.
2. You can’t say yes to everything—that’s the definition of BUSY and isn’t productive. Be mindful of your commitments.
Ask for help. Get connected.
Need help starting or growing your business or nonprofit? Just call us at 816-235-6500 or tell us a bit about what you need here, and we’ll craft your free personal action plan that’ll outline the steps you can take to move forward.
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