Conferences & Conventions: 2008 NACCE Convention Day 3

8 Jan

Today was the third (and last full) day of the 2008 National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship convention and I have to admit that there is some degree of conference fatigue setting in at this point. Nonetheless, there were a couple of sessions that stood out today: a follow-up discussion about e-marketing and another one about the pros and cons of different financing options for entrepreneurs. In addition, I’ve embedded Brad Kleinman’s e-marketing presentation from yesterday that he’s uploaded to SlideShare, the YouTube of PowerPoint shows.

1. Where’s the Money?
Brenda Shoberg, CORE FOUR® National Sales Director, CORE FOUR® Business Planning Course/Northeast Entrepreneur Fund, and Jim Drake, Business Faculty, Lake Superior College

The first part of this session dealt with the hows and whys of having your business’s financials in good shape from the get go. In particular, the point was made that even if you don’t happen to need any money when beginning your business, you will inevitably need a loan and/or line of credit at some point further down the road. And, the best time to set all this up is when, for whatever the reason, you aren’t (yet) desperate for funds because you need to already have a good working relationship with your lender. The second part of the session talked about different types of people to get money from—friends, family, venture capitalists, angel investors, fools—and the relative pros and cons of dealing with each.

2. Follow-up to E-Marketing to Entrepreneurs—Practical Solutions for Engaging Entrepreneurs
Brad Kleinman, Associate Director, Key Entrepreneur Center, Corporate College, a Division of Cuyahoga Community College, OH

In this informal follow-up meeting from his presentation yesterday, Brad talked at greater length about online marketing as well as how the Key Entrepreneurs site utilizes much of what he was talking about. Here is his PowerPoint presentation from yesterday courtesy of SlideShare:

There are a couple of thoughts I had about this. First, it turns out that we’re doing a lot of what he was suggesting such as blogging, promoting our rss feed, and tracking out site traffic so that a) we do have a handle on the basics of online marketing and b) there’s not something horrendously obvious that we’ve missed up to this point. Second, I have to give Brad kudos for bringing Digg, a site where you can submit links to articles on the Web, to my attention. Last night I submitted the links to our most popular posts and bam!, within a few hours at least 30 people were referred from Digg and we wound up with our second most page views within one day.

On the other hand, though, I have to admit that I’m not as sold on social networking as a business/recruiting tool as some folks are. That is, while Facebook and MySpace, and LinkedIn may be all the (current) rage, I’m just unsure what the bottom-line impact really is. At the very least, if you spend all your time social networking, when do you have time to get work done? And I mean, really, when you only have x amount of hours a day for work/marketing, I need to see the real (and positive) financial implications before devoting an inordinate amount of my limited time and energy. Yes, I know we blog here fairly regularly and have certainly made some solid contacts based on the traffic/connections because of it . . . but in the greater scheme of things, I’m not sure I can really quantify how much revenue all this has generated. But, like much social networking and/or user-generated content sites, it is loads of fun.

Mark

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One Response to “Conferences & Conventions: 2008 NACCE Convention Day 3”

  1. Brad Kleinman January 15, 2008 at 10:43 pm #

    Mark,

    Thanks for the comments on roundtable followup. I agree that the social networking ‘business tactic’ has yet to be well proven and effective with small businesses and entrepreneurs. However, if you look at the incredibly viral nature of this ‘new internet’, there are numerous examples of and INSANELY quick some products/services/businesses/individuals have blown up and received a great amount of exposure from social networking.

    I also truly believe that the total ‘up front’ investment necessary is relatively low for organizations and small businesses to have a ‘Social Networking Strategy’. Let’s evaluate each of the following:

    1.) Having each employee create a ‘business-friendly’ facebook page
    2.) ” ” LinkedIn profile
    3.) ” ” Spock Profile
    4.) A facebook ‘page’ … learn more here: http://www.facebook.com/business/?pages

    Honestly…each of these are easy to do. Let your employees invest as much time with it as they want, but encourage them to:

    1.) Connect with each other (become ‘friends’ on various platforms)
    2.) Connect with other colleagues
    3.) Encourage previous clients/customers to post recommendations and testimonials
    4.) Promote your facebook page as one of the ‘cool new ways’ your company is connecting with the ever-important GEN Y.

    We’re doing some research on some companies (big and small), how they used social networking, and their [hopefully] measurable results! We’ll find some good articles and post to our new blog (coming soon) at http://worksmart-emarketing.com/blog/

    Oh, and make sure you join our AccountabiliWiki at http://accountibilibuddy.wetpaint.com.

    Regards,
    -Brad Kleinman (BSK)
    http://www.worksmart-emarketing.com

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