A couple hundred of women, both small business owners and inspired hopeful’s alike, sit eagerly waiting to hear successful business owners give them the magic key to lead their businesses to success. What came next was surprise, fun, laughter and lessons learned in networking successfully, targeting the audience you want to reach and learning how to be a good leader, if and when you hire employees.
Tamara Payne, Founder and Chief Connector at Ensemble Coworking, started her speech by getting up from her table and somewhat manically handing out business cards to random attendees. When she reached the stage her question was “Did I make a connection with you?” The answer “no” resonated throughout. Tamara went on to make the point that in order to profitably network you need to connect on an authentic level. We’re all human and crave those trustworthy relationships with each other, which means being vulnerable. When small business owners make sincere connections it can lead to so much more than potential conversion. Connections can bring mentor-ship, advice, guidance, mutual business, word-of-mouth marketing and sometimes friendship.
Dawn Mann, Creative Director and VP with Alpha Business Images, spoke on finding your customer sweet spot. Dawn defines the sweet spot as “where your customer’s needs align with your product.” When you are able to target your customer sweet spot you will save on resources, have profit coming in and get a good return on investment. A good way to start identifying your sweet spot customer is to build a persona of who you think that person is. Dawn came up with an example of a persona for the forum. In doing this, think about your demographics, psycho-graphics, the beliefs and behaviors of your person, as well as the tendencies, patterns, characteristics and traits. This is a great way to become one with your customer and create a culture around that.
Lisa H. Harrington captured our attention with her experienced and advanced perspective on leadership. She clarifies how people need nurturing. In business we often think of our human qualities as drawback, something that gets in the way of working hard, working without stopping, making errors when in fact “humanity is a quality and not a detriment.” She reminds us of Maslow’s Hierarchy. We all have basic human needs and knowing where your employee is on the hierarchy will help you understand how to better lead them. When you are leading someone you need to adjust your style to fit them so they can hear you and understand what you need from them. Think about who your employee is as a person and get to know them. What generation they are, how they were raised, what they’re going through and what period they are at in life. Knowing who your employee is will help you adjust your style to lead them in an effective way.
The ladies at this conference may not have walked away with a magic key for success, but instead equipped with the knowledge, confidence and tools to improve themselves and their businesses.