SOHO Expert Panel: Questions & Answers
SOHO Victoria is hosting a series if educational business mixers with local business leaders as we build up to the main event on January 27, 2017.
This week we had a full-house at The WaterShed for a lively Q&A session with three SOHO Victoria speakers; Jordan Bower, Rebecca Kirstein and Marc Stoiber.
We were going to video record the event but ran into battery issues. However, we do have some their answers transcribed below.
Photo credit: Derek Ford Studios
Attendees submitted their questions for the panel and there were some good ones. Following are just a few of the questions and portions of the answers from our panel of experts.
- What’s your most useful productivity tip from a personal level?
Easy. Movement. When I get bogged down, stressed or overwhelmed, or if I can’t see a solution to an ongoing problem, I go for a hike. Better yet, I go with a colleague or business partner to talk through a challenge in a different environment. It never ceases to amaze me how much more productive it is to change your location which changes your perspective and in turn provides clarity around challenges. Plus, it’s 100% true that our brains work more efficiently when we are moving!
- How can I improve marketing my business through social media?
Don’t half ass it. If you can’t afford to hire a community manager and you don’t have a strategy in place, don’t bother spinning your wheels. If you are on your own, start small and invest in spending some time developing a strategy. It doesn’t have to be complicated in the beginning but it HAS to be consistent and on message. Just like we build relationships in person, we build them online. Don’t use social media to sell. Nobody likes the guy who peppers the room with business cards and doesn’t really connect with anyone in person and that guy isn’t any more likable online.
- What is the one thing that small business owners can do to stay motivated?
Find a mentor, a mastermind group and preferably both.
- What advice would you give to your younger self?
I’d tell myself to get really comfortable with failing and learn to reframe it. You can’t get anywhere as an entrepreneur without being not only comfortable with failure but learning to embrace it for the learning opportunities it contains.
- How do you make yourself known in the community?
Give before you get. Especially in a small town like Victoria but this is always incredibly important. Be genuinely interested in what others are doing and how you can help. I’ve spent my entire career giving all I can. It never ceases to amaze me how willing people are to help when I need something from them. It’s never the reason why you give in the first place but it’s certainly a nice perk! What goes around really does come around. Also, I often find that when you are getting to know people around town and showing interest in their needs, you always find opportunities to connect the dots between other entrepreneurs. People are always so grateful (and impressed) when you introduce them to a customer, partner or contact out of the blue. Paying attention not only feels good, it positions you as a leader.
- How to get around people telling you “this will be great exposure for you” when you need to pay the bills?
The expert vs generalist paradigm; experts don’t discount. This means voluntarily taking on less work, but by publicizing that work, appealing to a greater number of people searching for your specific skills. The more specialized you are, the more people will be willing to pay.
- What is the most important action you can take to close the sale?
I believe you need to abandon the pitch, and embrace the conversation. If you treat a new business meeting as a brainstorm with the client, you will be able to map out the engagement in the conversation. Then, there is no sale to close. The ‘closer’ is simply a document that reiterates the points you made (and agreed to) in the conversation.
- How did you seek out mentorship to guide you in the development of your business?
I have a raft of mentors. I go out of my way to meet new people I admire every week. I take the perspective of helping them without expecting anything in return, but ask them at key intervals to give me their perspective on how they’d do something i’m not sure about.
If you have a question you would like to submit to the Expert Panel you can drop it into the comments box below. One of the experts will post answer to your question asap.
Want to see more photos from the event? There’s a bunch here.