It has taken years; however finally, I participated at a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Program. I received calls, texts and emails from two people asking if I would be interested in speaking at this program. (Are you kidding me? Of course I was). And so I followed up until the deal was done.
From the moment I entered the parking lot at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark NJ, care and attention were given; the security people were courteous and helpful. Once I entered the church, people were there to immediately greet me; answer questions and when I asked for specific equipment needed for my presentation, they made a significant change to accommodate me with no questions asked. The level of attention to my needs was outstanding leaving me feeling very special.
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. / Entrepreneur’s Day program at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark NJ was very well attended and Dr. Randall Pinkett gave an informative and high energy speech. I enjoyed listening to the panelists who talked about themselves and their businesses and then answered questions from the moderator (also Mistress of Ceremonies) Vivyen Ray and the audience. Although I was not scheduled to be on the panel; I was itching to answer some of the audience questions and I said this to Ms. Ray. She invited me to join the panel where I had the opportunity to provide valuable information by answering audience questions and to share who I am and information about my company StephanieSpeaking LLC; that was until the pain set in and I had to step away and succumb to taking a pain reliever.
Oh, about that pain. My sympathies to all of you who may have been involved in car and slip and fall accidents due to the recent icy roads. Never thought it would happen to me. The ice got me while on foot approaching the entrance to the church. Wish I had a video camera taking the shot so I could submit it to “America’s Most Funniest Videos”.
Anyway, after the panel discussion it was on to the breakout sessions. I presented on “Finding Your Niche in the Government Marketplace”. Oh yes, and I made sales on my book “Practical Strategies for Successful Business Matchmaker Meetings” (for information on how to purchase the book send an email to ceo@StephanieSpeaking.com. It will also be on Amazon by the end of this month and on my new website which will be published early February).
The only challenge was since there were a number of simultaneous breakout sessions people could not attend all of the sessions. I was really surprised when a number of people came to see me at the end of my session. I will follow up with all of them.
Lessons for small, minority, women, veteran business owners:
1. How do you attract clients and business opportunities; receive invitations to speak? Develop a following; network, outreach, market, blog, post content related to your expertise, product or service via social media, attend and network at business events; create your process and work it consistently. Focus on business relationship development.
2. When opportunity knocks open the door and run through it.
3. Tell people what you want; the type of opportunity, your ideal client, target market, etc.
4. Follow up until it is a done deal. Connect with people both personally and professionally. As a small business owner remember people are buying from you first and later the company.
5. Brand your business, promote the brand, protect the brand.
6. Pursue speaking opportunities in order to inform people about you and your company.
7. Get all of the logistics and agenda information in advance in order for you to accurately plan your day and participation; remember – Who, What, When, Where, How and Why.
8. Don’t let anything stop you or get in your way of completing your assignment.
9. Be sure to follow up with everyone you met within 24-48 hours of meeting them.
10. Never give up!