Mayra and I had the best time speaking at Be Sage Conference last week in Chicago. It was our first time doing a speaking gig as a Duo and I must tell you it was a lot of fun. A recap of some of our talk can be found here, but I thought I’d take a moment to share a few “A Ha!” moments that I had during the portions of the conference where we were able to listen to the other speakers and chat with the attendees.
Be Sage is organized by the women behind Sage Wedding Pros– Michelle Loretta and Kelly Simants– and their take on this conference was two days jam packed with learning opportunities for wedding business owners. Their goal was totally reached, as we heard from Video Marketing expert and wedding planner Allison Howard, IP attorney Betsy Butwin, M & A Broker Barbara Taylor and PR Specialist Amy Flurry. Some of our top takeaways:
1. Video Marketing is the new MUST. It was amazing to listen to Allison Howard explain how adding video to her website and marketing strategy has not only bolstered her business, it has tranformed her percentage of consultations to bookings from 60% to 100% because the video does the initial weeding of “good matches” and “bad matches” for her. With over 90% of web traffic being driven by video by 2015, can you afford to not be there? If you’ve been in business long enough for this to sound like what people said about blogging and social media, you are right. Video is simply the next frontier.
2. You probably already have valuable intellectual property built into your business. Are you protecting it? Be it a process or a valuable brand name as an expert in an area; your business may hold unique value. IP attourney Betsy Butwin enlightened us not only on how we need to better protect our intellectual property through trademark, but also how we can potentially capitalize on it via licensing some or parts of our already existing businesses.
3. You should run your business as though you were going to sell it. M & A Broker and Small Business Expert Barbara Taylor gave an ENLIGHTENING discussion about what it takes to sell a business and why you should be running your business as though preparing for sale in the long term: 85% of small business owners wealth is actually trapped in their business… and sometimes trapped in discretionary expenses that reduce your bottom line, but also eat into your potential liquidity/company valuation. For that reason alone, even if you were never to sell, run your business as your asset versus your life… and know it’s worth. Wondering how valuable or salable your business might be? How easily can you take vacation? That’s the ultimate litmus test to how viable your business is for a sale.
4. Press is not about driving direct sales, it’s about attracting opportunities and collaborators. Of course, this often leads to broader sales, according to DIY PR expert and author of Recipe for Press, Amy Flurry. Flurry warns of not getting discouraged by press outreach simply because a magazine mention didn’t lead to a direct flood of business, but to recognize the business growth is in the opportunity the press will lead to.
5. Don’t just have goals, create actionable timetables for achieving them. One of the best framing exercises of the conference began with Michelle asking us to write down all of our life and work goals and dreams. By the end of the conference Kelly asked us each to select at least one and create a 7, 30 and 60 day plan for action. I know that I made mine… up to 90 days, so keep your ears open as we look to share our next project!
Thank you to all the ladies who spoke and attended for such an energizing two days! And thanks to Michelle and Kelly at Be Sage! A fabulous experience.