Small Business Expo

I am committed to a lifetime of learning; especially in areas of great personal interest…personal finance and entrepreneurship. As such, I love opportunities to bump up against like-minded individuals and learn from others who are succeeding in conference form. Every year, Chicago’s city treasurer’s office sponsors the Small Business Expo. Every year, I leave with motivation to push my efforts that much further. Since you may have missed the festivities, I’ll share a few take-aways.

 

How to get Publicity

 

  • A required skill for those who do not have a marketing budget
  • Presented by http://thecouragegroup.com
  • Publicity builds brands not advertising – so publicity first, then advertising

Download the full presentation.

 

Marketing 101

This upbeat workshop was a reminder that, in business, we are our own best cheerleaders. We were also advised that if you are not receiving daily rejections, you aren’t trying hard enough. I also learned a new term – Cause Marketing. Genuinely support a charity and leverage that support as a means to spread the word about your business. For example, donate gift certificates to an organization’s raffle. Again, the idea is to spread the word so that you can connect with potential customers.

  • Listen to your customers – Learn from the feedback you receive.
  • Know how they make decisions – Determine who are the clients that make spending decisions and reach out.
  • Work really, really hard
  • Organize – Organize your To-Do novel.
  • Prioritize – Think about where you want to be in 2-3 years and market to that type of customer.
  • BE FEARLESS!!!

 

Writing a Good Business Plan

Where things are tough, opportunities abound. This is a message that was clear from the business plan workshop. However, a business plan should be first on your to-do list; regardless of the funding options you seek.

Business plans come in a variety of flavors. Some suggested segments to include are:

  • Executive Summary – Written last; 1-2 pages in length
  • Business Description
  • Product or Service Description
  • Marketing Plan
  • Financial Plan – Most important if seeking loans
  • Operations and Management Plan – Who’s responsible for doing what

While not the most excited topic, a business plan is an essential tool for success. Once you have it, you can enter any number of business plan competitions!

Download the full presentation.

You can peruse the remaining presentations available on the city treasurer’s site by starting here.

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