Start Something, Columbia! took on a Small Business Week re-cap today. Here are the show notes:
Theme for the day: Last week was Small Business Week! Lots of events to review, articles to share, and political changes to discuss.
What we’re going to do today:
Today we’ve got music from Mark Rapp, Freeway Music instructor and South Carolina’s Jazz Ambassador, as named by the legislature on February 8th, not kidding; learn more about him at markrapp.com.
This week’s 1MC is a panel about last week’s Small Business Week events, so we’re going to be recapping everything that happened (that we can remember) and welcome your calls to give us feedback on last week’s celebration of small businesses.
Some big news last week, looking forward to sharing that with you. And some special guests from last week who covered a lot of great topics. So we’ll get that to you, too.
Link to podcast here.
This week at 1 MC — A recap of Small Business Week events.
- More than half of American work for or own a small business
- 50% of small businesses survive into year 5 and beyond
- Google gave the Women’s Business Center of South Carolina @ Columbia College $100,000 seed funding. Matched by the SC Department of Commerce, the Center is fully funded through its first year.
Connect with the WBC of SC on Twitter: @WBCofSC and Facebook.
WBC of SC on Female Founder’s Day at Columbia College Friday May 4th, 2018.
Topic of the week — During the OBO’s event, keynote speaker Angelique Rewers had some amazing nuggets of wisdom I’d like to share with our listeners.
Lioness and the antelope — don’t chase mice. You’ll exhaust yourself and never get full. Antelope will provide predictable income, help you secure loans that enable you to invest in growth. Low-hanging fruit is not sustainable.
She classified mid-market companies as between $10M and $1B annual revenue and said they account for ½ of the jobs created every year, so that means they’re growing and growing firms need a lot of services; there’s opportunity there.
She said small business contractors are good for companies because they:
- Reduce costs
- Bring agility
- Boost the big company’s reputation
- Help the big company gain access to more markets (think Vanessa Mota and the Latino market)
- Increase customer loyalty by being “small business-friendly”
- Improve efficiency
- Bring rigor and grit to the equation
Only 4% of small business owners break through to $1M annual revenue. There are three problems small businesses face:
- Not enough people to talk to at your target client. Only 2-3% of our ideal clients are ready to buy when we approach them, so we need to speak to more people in order to have a better chance of reaching someone who’s ready to buy.
- They don’t want to talk to you. They’re busy with their own challenges, they have their own priorities.
- You’re not speaking their language. You don’t have a blueprint for how you want this conversation to go and neither do they! You can deliver value in these conversations if you’re prepared for them and if you make them about their problem, not about your solution.
Every day, ask yourself these questions:
What is my company doing today to: 1) expand the number of decision makers I’m reaching within my target “antelope” company? 2) to have meaningful conversations that make real connections with these people? 3) script the right conversations to lead these people into my solution to their problem?
Want more of what Angelique calls “Disruptors”? Stay tuned.
Before the break we were talking about the awesome keynote presentation from Angelique Rewers and I want to get back to that. But first I want to talk about how Ron Harvey of Global Core Solutions challenged each of us speakers to add value to the event.
On Wednesday night, in a kickoff/welcome event, Ron asked each of us speakers to think about the 2 or 3 specific actionable items we would be delivering the next day. Here are some from your 1MC community members who also spoke at the OBO Conference last Thursday:
Deb Mullen of DebMullen.com / Making You Memorable is her company and her presentation was about relationship networking. Her takeaways:
- Exposure is important. If nobody can see you and know who you are, then they can’t connect with you.
- Connecting is more important than collecting.
- Cementing builds a strong foundation that can lead to ongoing business and referrals.
Vanessa Mota of Mota Enterprises and Raul Cruz of Cruz Vega teamed up to talk about cross-linking the Latino and Anglo markets. Their takeaways were:
Who are the Anglo and Latino Markets?
- Anglo Market = English speaking market
- Latino Market = Three major types within the Spanish speaking market Fastest growing market in the United States
What is crosslinking and why should I do it?
- Crosslinking is the action of connecting more than one market in order to stimulate growth within each.
- There are 18 different Latin American countries represented in Columbia.
- There are over 7,700 Latinos (5.81% of overall population) in the city of Columbia. The nation-wide year of Latinos is 2043.
- Current purchasing power of the Latino market nation-wide is $1.7 trillion.
How to crosslink with Columbia’s Latino market.
- Speak the culture, not just necessarily the language.
- Educate yourself on the Latino community to help overcome assumed barriers. Find ways to connect socially and professionally.
I spoke on creating a sales process for yourself and my takeaways were:
- Use LinkedIn wastefully — connect to as many people are you can to grow your network and improve your visibility to decision makers.
- Do something every day from your sales process — letters of introduction, discovery calls, meet for coffee, attend an event, pitch a workshop — something every day that supports your sales efforts.
- Iterate your sales process — try a program for a few weeks and if it’s not working, tweak some parts and try again; remember what you’re good at and work on the things you’re not so good at. Sales is a skill, which means it can be learned. Be willing to learn and you can be successful.
- You are either: 1) meeting a need, 2) solving a problem, or 3) helping them achieve a goal. It’s not slimy, it’s not taking advantage, it’s giving them what they need to be successful and getting paid to do it.
Okay, more Angelique Rewer notes:
She said there were disruptors, strategies you can use to align your positioning to what companies actually want to buy and align your approach to how they want to buy. Those disruptors were:
- Focus on their problem, not your solution. She said companies have one of four kinds of problems; know what kind of problem they have and align your solution to it:
- S.U.P.E.R. problems: specific, urgent, pervasive & persistent, expensive, and recognizable.
- Create the right gap
- Between what they’ve already done to solve the problem and what they should be doing to solve the problem (i.e. your solution).
- Build consensus
- It’s not just one person making the decision to hire you, make sure you’re speaking to all the stakeholders and getting them to agree you’re the best choice.
- Obsessive proximity
- Get off the internet and back into the real world; be where they are; get in front of them, get them to sit down with you, speak directly to them but more importantly, listen to them.
- Create a full business development strategy for your company. It’s a system. You should build it, work it, tweak it, and work it some more. Like any other process, business development requires iterations and responsiveness to what you’re learning.
- Planning system: pipeline and calendar
- High proximity system: get in front of them
- Bridge system: move from “meet” to “listen” to “pitch”
- Follow-up system: every activity has a next step; reconnect within 8 weeks, stay on top of the relationship
- Nurture system: how do we stay engaged? *I use “knowledge sharing”
- Conversations create cash system: a blueprint for that conversion conversation, a framework
- Scalability system: how do we add? How do we grow? How do we onboard and train?
Really great stuff from Angelique; inspiring and makes me want to go to work.
Maybe take another peek at the Financial Habits of successful small business owners (link in last week’s blog):
- Regularly review finances — 69% of Small Business Owners do this; understand the frequency and ebbs and flows of your cash situation
- Maintain a budget — 47% of small business owners do this; set an expectation at the beginning of the month for income and expenses; rinse and repeat — you’ll get better at it if you continually do it.
- Save an appropriate amount for taxes — 52% of small business owners do this; rule of thumb – 30 cents of every dollar you earn from your clients belongs to the feds. UGH
- Proactively reduce debt — 50% of small business owners do this; short-term debt enables growth but long-term debt is a drain on your business
- Pay yourself a salary from business earnings — 49% of small business owners do this; it doesn’t have to be payroll, but set aside some business earnings as your personal income and keep them separate
- Establish an optimal business structure for liability and taxes — 64% of small business owners do this; get professional advice for what structure is right for your business
- Maximize tax write-offs and deductions — 65% of small business owners do this; write-offs and deductions reduce your taxable income; big companies do it, you should, too.
Going broke? Don’t give up the ship. This article from talks about six entrepreneurs who went broke and then became millionaires (link in last week’s blog):
- Discover your obsession. — whatever that obsession is, let it feed you, let it fuel you.
- Adapt to new realities. — conditions you cannot change will affect you and your business, what you can change is yourself.
- Hustle sounds like the right path, but working smarter will actually get you farther. — hard work and smart work are not the same thing, though they’re not mutually exclusive, either
- Find fulfillment. — the work you’re doing is valuable to someone and it should be valuable to you. Being fulfilled is the equivalent of being successful, it’s finding the joy and drive to continue on.
- Always persist, never, ever quit. — these stories of hardship help us see that we can overcome failure, we can make better choices and get ourselves back on track.
- Don’t go it alone. — find your tribe, get help, be vulnerable with them and honest about the challenges you face.
Small Business Week is a chance for the federal government to focus on us solo- and mom- and serial-preneurs. It’s a chance for the biggest entities to see the scrappy little nobodies out here marching to the beat of their own drum.
Events for this week:
1MC Small Business Week wrap up at Richland Library on Assembly, 9 a.m. tomorrow morning
“Google Tools” Presented by SBDC and Cayce W. Columbia Chamber, May 03 | 8:30 am – 10:00 am
Find the Point — every Thursday Shane Sweeney and me meeting up for happy hour and to meet Point listeners. This week it’s This week it’s Delaney’s Irish Pub in Five Points. From 5 to 7 p.m. Come out and have a beer and get to know your 100.7 The Point show hosts.
WBC of SC’s second Friday event is a Twitter chat. From 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. log in to Twitter and follow the hashtag #WBCofSC The chat is on the topic “Understanding Growth and Lifestyle Business Models.”