I’m at Internet Week New York and today I was an official blogger at the New York Times Small Business Summit. It was a great day and the panels were packed with women which was a nice departure from the mainly male panels I’m used to at business conferences. Having a good mix of male and female entrepreneurs from different backgrounds make for WAY more interesting and lively discussions. Hint hint event organizers!
These are just some of the many small business lessons and insights from the brilliant panels and discussions today:
The Most Expensive Thing is a Cheap Lawyer
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is hiring cheap help when growing your business yet many business owners do because they don’t think they can afford to hire the best. The thing is, spending more for quality work will produce a much higher ROI.
If You’re Not an Accountant Make Sure You Have One
A good accountant will save you way more than the fees you will incur to hire them. “The only thing worse than a cheap lawyer is a cheap accountant,” says Jay Goltz. If you’ve taken on a lot of your own accounting you are not alone. I am guilty of not completely outsourcing this too but I am now looking at getting it completely out of my hands and into the hands of someone more capable.
Know Your Value
So many small business owners severely discount their products and services and you really do yourself a disservice when you do that. Chris Maguire,co-founder of Etsy, said he made that mistake when they launched Etsy and later had to double the price. Lesson learned: once you undervalue your product or service it is challenging to raise prices later so charge what you’re worth from the get-go.
Coupon and daily deal websites like Groupon and Living Social can definitely drive flash sales but how many of those customers eager to score a sweet deal actually come back to your business? Not so many. Instead of offering steep discounts to temporarily bring more people to your place of business, find ways to reward those who continually support you.
Always Monitor and Engage in Conversations Surrounding Your Brand
American Express does an incredible job of creating conversations around its brand. Case in point: Today! They brought on influential business bloggers like Natalie Sisson, Melinda Emerson, and I to officially cover the event and they created a lot of online discussion surrounding the event. These are a few more tidbits most enjoyed by those live tweeting throughout the day:
I hope you enjoyed the insider scoop from the New York Times Small Business Summit 2011! For more great small business lessons and tons of resources for entrepreneurs, do check out OPEN Forum. It is a seriously rocking resource for business owners!