How Attending Live Events Can Boost Your Business

Are you the kind of business owner who tends to hide behind your computer screen? You network online through discussion lists and other virtual forums, but you’re hesitant to leave the comfort of your home office to actually meet others in person?

Whether you’re a natural introvert or extrovert, attending live events and meeting peers and colleagues in person can make a dramatic difference in the success of your business. If you’ve been the lone wolf type, it’s time to get out and start gathering with your pack.

When I was in the public relations/higher education field, I attended dozens of conferences, but when I started my consulting practice, money was tight and it took me a few years to get back out on the circuit.

The first event I attended in my capacity as a consultant/coach changed my business and my life. I hesitated about attending because it was a lot of money to invest back then and I was going to be starting over in a way in a new industry, which were both risks for me at the time.

Was it worth it? Let’s just say that I still have the card from the Irish pub my husband and I went to the final evening of the event where we figured out how I was going to make this work. It really is when everything changed.

Not only did I learn a ton of great stuff, I met some amazing people who have become colleagues, joint venture partners and even friends. And I truly believe that what you put out is what you get back, and by attending this event, I was sending the message that I was ready to start playing big.

One of the best investments you can make in your business is in your continuous learning, by attending events, as well as investing in high-quality education products and programs. Part of my own marketing budget is dedicated solely to my learning (and believe me, it’s hard to keep the lid on it!).

So, are you thinking maybe you’ll take the risk and attend a live event in your industry?

Here are some specific reasons why you should:

1. Dedicated time and focus on the event topic

I bet you have at least a few books, CDs, home study courses, etc. that you’ve probably listened to or read, but that you haven’t actually applied. I know I do. And I also know that when I get out of my office and dedicate time and focus to one thing, I make some big breakthroughs.

2. Sharing space with like-minded individuals

Nothing inspires me more than being around others who are as passionate about what we do as I am. Collaborations come naturally and we easily share ideas and resources. Taking the time to share space with these folks helps keep me motivated and excited about moving forward.

3. More high-quality connections

Not only do I end up with a ton of business cards, but there’s also a handful of strategic partnership opportunities, as well as new ezine subscribers and new customers of my products. And by attending an event comprised of others in my industry, the quality of the connections I’m making is much higher for my business building than attending something like a local chamber event.

4. Discounts on materials to increase your learning

Typically the speakers of these events will offer special discounts to attendees on their products and programs. And if the event has vendor booths, the same usually applies. Events are a great place to “shop” for the next tool that will help boost your business.

5. It’s guaranteed and tax-deductible

I think this is something most small business owners forget. They just look at the price tag of the event, and then shy away. But remember, whatever you put out as an investment in your business is tax-deductible. Be sure to check with your accountant for details, but stop to think about how much you could increase your bottom line by attending the event, instead of how much it costs.

Besides, most reputable events offer a money-back guarantee, so if you really felt it wasn’t worthwhile, you can always ask for a refund.

6. Meet the experts

Most of the time, the speakers at the events are accessible, so don’t be shy and go on up and introduce yourself. You may not have another chance and you never know where that connection may lead!

7. Enjoy yourself outside of the event

Don’t forget that you can take in the place where the event is being held. Do a little research ahead of time and plan at least some time away from the event to enjoy wherever it is you’re visiting, even if it’s in your home state!

Once you’re home and recovered from being out and about at the event, you’ll be both excited and recharged to jump in with all your new knowledge and connections!

Do You Need to Invest Big to Start a Profitable Business?

Have you ever dreamed of starting a profitable business of your own, but believed it was impossible because you don’t have a lot of money to invest? Maybe you don’t realize it, but there are literally hundreds of ways that people realize this kind of dream–not with money, but by capitalizing on their existing experience and knowledge.

We’re going to offer you some examples in this series of ways to start your own profit-making enterprise without joining some club or group or putting down a lot of up-front money.

Our first case study going to start with an individual who owns some basic home workshop tools and has experience fixing things around the house. But it’s going to be applicable to other instances of small businesses that profit by doing things for other people.

Identify a Niche

Do you know anyone who doesn’t have complaints about the little nagging repairs they need done around their house? Maybe they could fix it themselves but don’t have the time or the confidence. The valve on the toilet needs to be replaced. An overhead fan or light needs repair. The porch steps have a broken board. The deck needs cleaning.

A lot of people would willingly pay a reasonable fee to get these “nuisance” jobs taken care of–and a lot of contractors just can’t be bothered with jobs this small. This is a real opportunity niche for the enterprising home handy person.

What do you Charge?

There is a standard formula financial advisers suggest for pricing services in this kind of small business. Figure what you think you would have to pay a “lone wolf” handyman–say $15 per hour, depending on your local market–and triple that. Your business will offer home repair services for something like $45 or $50 per hour.

Get a Gimmick

You will need to attract some initial attention to start your profitable business. Think of an introductory promotion that will make your services too good to pass up. For instance, you might offer a special “All-You-Can-Eat Home Repair Day,” where someone with an accumulation of little projects can hire you for a whole day at a reduced rate to do “whatever they need done” from your roster of offered services. If you would ordinarily charge $360 for a day’s work, you advertise your special deal of a whole day’s work for $225.

How do you find clients?

This doesn’t have to cost a lot. Post your services at local on-line sites like craigslist and put eye-catching signs on the bulletin board in local stores. For a relatively small fee you might place an ad in the local penny saver. Spread the word through your friends and family. If you’re comfortable in the sales role, you could even knock on doors.

What should you expect?

Some of these techniques should get you business pretty quickly. Maybe you’ll line up 4 or 5 jobs in a week. At your “introductory” rate of $225, that could come to $1,000 for one week of labor. If you’re using a telephone promotion, new jobs may be lining up while you’re at work. And when you’ve got a few free hours, you can put them to use further promoting your services.

As long as you can provide the quality of service people are looking for, your business will soon start to grow on its own. Once you’ve proven yourself and your customers know they can rely on you, they are likely to return and be willing to pay your full rates. They’ll tell their friends about you. Next thing you know, you may be hiring people to work for you and expanding the range and profitability of your services.
So yes, you can start a profitable business and build financial success and independence without needing a big starting investment–other than your own skills and energy.

Reasons Why You Want to Start a Business – Financial Security?

Most new entrepreneurs come into their new found venture very optimistic, full of hope and reams. The way it should be. There are dreams of money and freedom, I had those by the way. So what happens afterward? For most entrepreneurs comes a high learning curve, it is the realities of risk taking versus reward reaping. Eventually the rewards will be reaped but in the beginning there is a lot more giving than taking. First you should set realistic financial goals ones that you can achieve, you should also set time frames for those goals.

Financial planning is a broad topic so here lets just focus on the aspect of financial goal planning as a budding entrepreneur. You should set your sights on earning more than what you think you need because it is better to have more cash than less.

Second you should borrow as little as possible to get started, in most cases that is nearly impossible, but you will be surprised at all of the alternative options available after you put some research and thought into it. Each case will be different and only you as the expert in your business knows how to get it off the ground. Your goals should be realistic such as increasing your revenues 10% or earning an extra $300/week for example. Do not set goals that will be nearly impossible to achieve, I know if you are an entrepreneur you confidence exudes out of you but please do not set yourself up to fail, its not a good feeling.

You should also set financial goals that have a time frame, for example, how much you want to earn in five years. The same rules apply as already stated. Having a time frame for your finances will help you know how much you have progressed in your new career. Both short term and long term financial planning will aid you in avoiding a lot of wasted money as time passes.

On last thing to mention is that plans are just that. Flexibility is the key and it is your job as an entrepreneur to adjust you sails of the winds of change of the business world and direct your venture to where you want it to go. One basic rule to remember is that plans are good for charting a course, but your ability to adapt to the certain changes that will always happen is what will get you to your destination.

After your financial goals are clear you can then plan on other aspects of your business. Always remember to set aside in your budget money to put away in reserves. No other method is so financially sound as that one. Savings will always give you security and greater command of your business. Next to savings are investments which again should be conservative until you have enough to be more aggressive.

You financial security will largely depend on how well you set goals, budget wisely with savings included, and invest conservatively. There will be time to be more aggressive with your business financial affairs, but at the beginning you should take it easy until you have a steady flow of income.