Eyewitness is an occasional series of blogs that concentrates on some direct experiences we have during our work.
I believe in constantly tuning in to the latest developments and trends. Much is possible from social media or reading ‘Wired 2014 – The World in 2014’, but nothing beats attending a live show like this. The 2-day event last week was billed as having:
25,000 visitors, 350 exhibitors, 250 seminars and 12 workshops! This is the cutting edge of British business, which (contrary to the gloom-mongers) means the cutting edge of world business. As well as 3Deal, one of our strategic partners attended the show: Caroline Barratt from Practical Admin, who is a very able administrator and networker.
My aim over the 2 days was to ensure 3Deal remains ahead of the curve, and also that our Socialive social media mentoring service has its finger on the pulse. I’m happy to report that it is and it has!
It was hard to whittle down 250 seminars and 12 workshops to just 11, but even this small number yielded huge amounts of data and opinions. Thursday 28th:
- How to start making money on your marketing – Kimberley Davis
- Grow your business with social media – Warren Knight
- Going local: Getting ahead on Google+ Local – Andrew Firth of Ascensor
- Organise your finances before your first sale (FreeAgent) – Emily Coltman
- Video for business: Create impactful videos (Cutting Edge) – Richard Flewitt
- Disruptive marketing – Stand out from the crowd – Warren Cass
- Financial Fitness Workshop (Intuit) Johnny Martin
- Top 10 legal tips you can’t do without – David Green
- Growing your Small Business (StartUp Launcher) – Doug Richard
- The 7 Essential Marketing Secrets – Dee Blick
- How to create a successful business Strategy – Will Strange
I’m also getting links to videos of the seminars that were too full to get in, from The Internet Business School:
- How to write a book and become a bestselling author – Rick McMunn
- How to grow your business using Facebook – Nick Robus
- How to leverage social media to drive traffic to your website – Karen Warren
Best & Worst*
So, unsurprisingly this year, ‘the cloud’ and the equally nebulous ‘social media’ were the doyens of the exhibition, alongside perennial law and accountancy firms. Andrew Firth made Google+ Local sound quite straightforward (there are some pitfalls) but pointed out the numerous benefits for businesses in creating a Local page.
I felt sorry for Richard Flewitt, who was left with no audio for his videos through no fault of his own. He still gave a convincing seminar on the power of video for business. I’ve had embarrassing technical failures during presentations so I really felt for the guy!
Whilst discussing ‘Disruptive Social Media’, the counter-intuitive Warren Cass said nobody can be a true expert in this fast-changing virtual world; although you can be an enthusiast. That’s definitely my favourite line from the show.
My stand-out speakers of the show were Doug Richard and Dee Blick. I was there early enough for both to ensure a seat, whilst others were sitting in the aisles: their seminars were jammed.
Former BBC Dragon’s Den dragon, Doug laid into the UK’s terrible banks but pointed to the upside. Nobody has to go to a bank for a loan anymore, as there are plenty of different crowd-funding sites that have filled the vacuum. He was passionate about helping startup businesses (not ideas) and has built the fascinating ‘School for Startups’ and developed the ‘Launcher’ programme.
Dee Blick was equally passionate and forthright about marketing, and shared some great advice. I bought a copy of her latest book ‘The 15 Essential Marketing Masterclasses for your Small Business” and started it on the train home! 15 immensely practical chapters of case studies and all free of jargon and hyperbole.
I also had time to speak to lots of suppliers, such as FreeAgent. I’m hoping to escape the tyranny of Excel with a 3-month free trial.
There was a real buzz to the show, with lots of positive entrepreneurs and startups of all ages in attendance. I shall definitely try to find the time to go next year!
* Yes, one of the seminars was absolutely dreadful, and another was pretty hopeless, but I won’t embarrass the speakers in this post!