This conference is aimed at budding entrepreneurs from the private and social enterprise sectors and existing businesses. It is as beneficial to those of us who have been hacking away at running our businesses for ages as it is for the fresh new and excited, I think we all need a good injection of ideas and that business BUZZZZ in our veins every now and again and Gibson and I certainly felt the benefit of a bit of that drug.
So who spoke, what was it about and more importantly what did we learn that we can share with you?
Let's start with the keynote speaker The Badger aka Ruth Badger best known for her appearance in the television programme "The Apprentice".
- Know the Goal - set goals, know where you are going and in particular set sales goals (I know you artists out there are saying "I don't do selling" but this is vital)
- Keep Hold of your Costs - know your baseline costs and your project costs at each stage, then you will understand your profit
- What Makes You Different - find your USP (unique selling point) and it can be as simple as "I turn up for the gig"
- Turn Up For The Gig - if you don't get up and out there, no-one will call to see if you are OK, you have to be there to get the customer, to price the work, to do the work
- Keep It Simple - you can build a business in your back bedroom with a cell phone, a domain name and a pad of paper to start with, you don't need fancy offices, stationary or cars to be better than the next guy and succeed.
Next came the panel discussion 'Been There, Done That, Got the T-shirt' with Angie Foreman, John Gillespie and Gavin Oattes. Angie Foreman is Social Enterprise Manager at Dundee International Women' Centre http://www.diwc.co.uk/; John Gillespie celebrity hairdresser from Perth and Gavin Oattes a recent Dragon's Den contender and owner of Tree of Knowledge http://www.diwc.co.uk/.
What did these 3 people offer in the way of help to businesses? Well, Angie was able to demonstrate Keep it Simple - she realised that she needed to make it easy for the people involved in her business to participate and that meant something as simple as not saying "your late" to a member of staff that was unable to arrive at the classic 9 am. Instead she changed the start time...how simple, how easy to get the best from your staff.
John Gillespie demonstrated Turn Up For The Gig - he went to competitions and just by being there he was in the race so by being in the race he had a chance to win, and he did. Sometimes putting your neck on the line is worth it because no-one else wants to and because you turned up, and your competition didn't, you get the prize.
Gavin Oattes once again demonstrated Keep It Simple - in fact keep it fun, he gave an extremely amusing and very well presented talk about the importance of fun in the workplace, and reaching your inner child to reduce stress. Check out the video at the end of this post to see Gavin in action and you will see why we enjoyed his contribution so much.
After a really excellent, healthy and tasty lunch (rare at this type of event) there were workshops for us all to attend. Gibson and I split up and I headed off to Jackie Wade's Workshop "Selling – A vital habit or a quick fix"
Secondly I joined John Campbell of Precedent http://www.precedent.co.uk/ in a workshop entitled Doing Business with Social Media.
That was Tuesday and on Wednesday we met with our new business advisor from Perth and Kinross Economic Development Sam Greer. For those that haven't discovered Economic Development then do what I did and phone them up and ask them what they do, they will be only too glad to tell you and they are an amazing resource for business in this county.
We ran from our excellent meeting to an event run by Business Gateway. An entertaining (if not a little loud) comedy performance from Rachel Bridge - writer, journalist and public speaker specialising in entrepreneurship, start ups and growing businesses. Rachel was promoting her latest book "How To Make a Million Before Lunch"
Gavin Oattes - the video I promised. This is Gavin presenting a very similar talk to the one that he gave at the conference at the opening night of a Scottish Company Uniq http://www.souniq.co.uk/
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