Ready, Set, Go!


“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” – Booker T. Washington

Collaboration can come in all shapes and sizes-or ways and means. I recently attended a women’s leadership event in my area that was well planned and executed. The event drew an extremely large number of local women. I can hear your questions already: “what’s the problem? Isn’t that a great opportunity to network?” Like most attendees, I formulated a deliberate plan prior to the event. I wanted to meet a specific number of women in certain businesses that I felt I could help. When I arrived, it became clear that the size of the event might prevent real collaboration and connections. When the event is too big or there is too much going on, it becomes a bit of sensory overload. Too many nearby conversations, bright lights, a large event space with lots of vendor booths all combined can be detrimental to a networking plan. I witnessed other attendees leaving the event for those very reasons. Don’t get me wrong, large events can yield great connections. Just don’t put all your eggs in that basket. We all learned about diversification in 2008.

Casual venues can yield actionable connections just as well as an 800-person event. Every time you leave the house or office, it’s a potential networking opportunity. I’m reminded of a bio that I read for a local area business woman. She says her career in this industry began when she ran into “so and so” in the bread aisle of the local grocery store 30 years ago. So… before you go running down to the corner market to do some casual networking, let me say this: not all conversations will bring about a mutually beneficial collaboration. Be choosy. Make sure that you both have a similar approach to business or even the same sense of urgency. If partners are not well matched, working together can leave one or the other feeling some anxiety. ‘What’s in It for Me’ works both ways.

Goals don’t have to be in lockstep to make a fruitful collaboration. It’s probably better that you’re not stepping on each other’s toes. A connection doesn’t even have to be financial. I recently met another businesswoman at a networking event. We have similar personalities and have become each other’s biggest cheerleader as we bring our ideas to market. Our common denominator is communication and a willingness to dialogue about those ideas.

I’m just saying, you can fish in a small pond and still bring home a whale.

I welcome you to connect and reach out on BVisible Blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram or for virtual coffee or tea. Have an amazing and profitable day.

Cheesecake with Ghee and Glee

We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort. Jesse Owens

When I first started in this business, there was no grade school primer to guide me. I made a lot of rookie mistakes. Some more costly than others. Now, looking back I can laugh but at the time, small mix ups seemed catastrophic. My family can attest to the determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort that we’ve put forth to bring us to this successful place-living the dream.

Most of us are pretty narrow minded, we don’t dream big enough. If you don’t dream big, you can’t step into the possibilities. You’ll never have the chance to discover the opportunities. Regina Belle sang it:

 

If I was unaware, if I didn’t care

About people and places and things

How could I live a life full and satisfied

Now knowing how to dream

When I dream, oh, yeah

When I dream, I dream in color

 

That big technicolor dream needs to be pretty specific as well. Who are you trying to reach? What message do you want to share with them? What rock are they living under? How will you reach them? As you are dreaming and exploring your ideas, be sure to communicate with everyone around you. Be specific about what you’re looking for but accept feedback and suggestions that might help flesh out your ideas. No idea is too big or too small. Don’t dismiss suggestions or advice.

Identify a need and figure out how to meet that need. Widen your focus, go outside your comfort zone. Use a spray gun approach here rather than a paintball. Remember that your solutions don’t have to be perfect. You just have to solve the problem enough to give the client the idea. You’re telling the stories that you’ve written. Your goal is Speed to Market. You can’t do everything yourself. Know your strengths, you can hire out the rest. Look for a partner with their own strengths that can complement yours.

Use trends to guide your business plan. You need to be one step ahead. Set goals for yourself-one year, five year and long term strategic but don’t be afraid to tweak those plans. If something isn’t working, don’t follow the plan blindly. It’s like your life-always changing.

As you move forward, you’ll want to measure your positive results in connections not revenue. Remember you’re building relationships not transactions. Those connections and your communication will keep you moving forward.

I welcome you to connect and reach out on BVisible Blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram or for virtual coffee or tea. Have an amazing and profitable day.

Duck, Duck, Goose

Your event date is quickly approaching and it’s time to spread the word. Take advantage of all the resources that you have available to you. Social media groups and email lists are a great place to start but don’t limit yourself to those avenues. Tell your neighbors and clients that you have an upcoming event that they might be interested in. Mention it to sales prospects and strategic alliances. What better way to get to know you or your service before buying or signing a contract? If they can’t attend, they might mention it to a colleague or acquaintance. Use global membership associations such as BNI® to increase your sphere of influence nationally or worldwide. Reach out to local chapters to let them know you’ll be in the area.

Remember to clear your calendar for the day before and after a show. Ahead of the show you may want to work on fine tuning your visuals or presentation details. Once its over, allow yourself a day of recovery for a job well done before you start your follow up. Be sure to enlist enough help in advance to support your planning, event strategies, calls to actions and follow up.

A journal is a useful resource when you’re making a decision to repeat an event or sponsorship. A few notes made during a show can be a good reminder of what not to do.

Ready, Set, Go!

I welcome you to connect and reach out on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, BVisible Blog or for virtual coffee or tea at https://bvisiblewithmel.as.me/schedule.php. Have an amazing and profitable day!

Paint Your Own Reality

Setup day for your big event is quickly approaching. Do you have one or more stories to tell your potential clients? With proper planning, your space can reflect your branding message while functioning as home base during your event activities. How are you going to decorate your new pad?

You’ll want to perform a dry run before the actual setup. If you’re expecting large numbers of show visitors, perhaps you’ll want to arrange your displays to direct traffic. Will you demonstrate your product or service? Display space for inventory and sales material is an obvious requirement but what about creature comforts? Do you have tables and chairs for staff or waiting visitors? Will you keep water and snacks on hand? You’ll appreciate an extra pair of shoes for yourself.

Don’t underestimate the value of décor. Walls can provide separation from the neighboring booths and help minimize visual distractions. Table cloths add a polished finish and provide storage for boxes and supplies.

How will you capture client details? A business card scanner is efficient but a raffle or giveaways could help acquire contact info more easily while enhancing the client experience. Revenue collection might be better off in a more private area. None of us appreciates someone looking over our shoulder when we pull out our wallet.

Before you finalize your space, step back and scrutinize the area from all angles. Use a critical eye and keep an open mind.

Ask for opinions!

I welcome you to connect and reach out on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, BNIConnect or for virtual coffee or tea at https://bvisiblewithmel.as.me/schedule.php. Have an amazing and profitable day!

Rock Paper Scissors

Event real estate can be priced like Monopoly® properties. How can you land on the right location? Is there a perfect spot? Do you want to be on the end of the row near the entrance? Does the corner booth see more traffic? You’ll need to weigh the investment against the opportunity.

Volunteering for my local chamber helped me get a great location. Unassigned, contiguous space gave extra storage for supplies and a kind of backroom area for private conversations and breaks.

Try setting up next to a friend or complementary business partner and use the combined space to maximize visual impact for both businesses. I witnessed two exhibitors build walls using their product that funneled show traffic from one booth to the other.

No show can promise that your ICA will make an appearance although a larger show with high traffic might increase your odds. You could market to that segment prior to the show and pre-book appointments for interested parties. Perhaps you might provide an incentive for passers-by such as free snacks or cold water on a hot day.

Festival type events might offer indoor exhibit space as well as outdoor spots. Outside can present sensory overload for an attendee. The aisles become a sea of blue and white tents with lots of distractions. Perhaps you have unique signage with larger fonts or a branded tent? Indoor events like bridal shows can be challenging for conversations. Check the Farmer’s Almanac for weather forecasts and Community Calendars for multiple events on the same days.

How large should your booth be? Remember your smile and positive attitude take up no space at all.

Get to work!

Only Cinderella Found The Perfect Fit on the First Try

How will you know if an event will be the right place at the right time with the right opportunities and the right attendees? Can those attendees be converted to clients and future testimonials?

For B2B or H2H (human 2 human), conferences offer opportunities for connection, engagement, referrals and revenue. Good connections can result in year over year residual revenue.

Larger festivals or musical events (20K+ attendees) such as The Big E, Oktoberfests and Renaissance Fairs attract guests who are ready to engage (B2C or H2H). Experiential marketing generates on the spot revenue with post show potential.

Before you invest, note all deadlines for ordering exhibit extras or hidden costs and ask questions! An event organizer should be able to provide a schedule, exhibitor rules, insurance requirements, stats for previous shows. How many prior sponsors and exhibitors are returning? Planned media partners? Will Wi-Fi be provided? Any special requirements? Read all written or online information before signing up, volunteering or considering attendance.

If you are simply exploring future options, attend with a colleague or a strategic alliance. You can share observations and compare impressions.

Are You An Adult Trick or Treater?

Are You An Adult Trick or Treater?

My first show was FREE, but the price was far from right. An invitation to display was extended by a new client as a thank you for a job well done.

I quickly learned why this girl from da Bronx who loves to learn and explore must always ask lots of questions and do lots of research before selecting events. I made a lot of mistakes before, during and after my first two display opportunities. Oy vey – the lessons I learned. My best decisions were table location and footwear.

Clarity of goal and purpose is essential. Whether you’re seeking out a new office location, food shopping for a dinner party, or contracting for a table at a show, clarify your objectives.

Discover ten lessons I’ve learned the hard way. With the right tools, techniques and recipes, you’ll be ready to delight your guests at your next conference, expo or trade show. We’ll start with our ingredients list first…