Part III -- What would you do with a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, training, and help from a SCORE mentor to grow your business?
According to those in the know, it all begins with the business plan, but on the training day in Dallas, TX we began with the Secrets of Top Performers, presented by Giselle Chapman, Chief Performance Optimizer. Ms. Chapman was energetic and engaging. She had us all hugging each other at one point - seriously - we were all strangers, and we all hugged at least one person. Near the end of her presentation she mentioned that she is an introvert. I never would have guessed that by her presentation. She was a firecracker and a breath of fresh air at the same time. She is a gifted speaker, and I want to engage audiences the way she engaged every single person in the room!
During the marketing presentations I was glued to the screen and hung on to every word. Effective Communication Wins Business, presented by John Pietro, SCORE Mentor, Orange County SCORE, was full of surprises, too. I was tickled to learn that Mr. Pietro is the guy behind the "Where's the beef" commercial from when I was a young adult. Not that I was judging the presenters, but that little piece of trivia scored him 'cool' points in my book. It wasn't just his Hawaiian print shirt, he is seriously a cool guy. There were a couple of aha moments during Mr. Pietro's presentation that made me realize that I can do better by changing my target market. He said to serve the under-served, not the over-served. Hmmmmm...
I for one benefited greatly from the time that was spent on digital marketing. Social Media Marketing was presented by Ron Cates, he is a digital marketing expert. He definitely broadened my horizon with his knowledge of all things digital.
The Art of Writing a Business Plan was presented by Hal Shelton. We talked about certain topics that are covered in his book and he opened conversation among the winners regarding their business plan.
TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN
The first stop when I got back to South Carolina was Sam’s Club with my husband. The first purchase with the $1,000 gift card was a Sam’s Club Membership. Then I replaced the printer. I do a lot of printing of class handouts and marketing material, and I wore the personal printer out over the last year. I welcomed the HP OfficeJet Pro 6975 into the family with open arms. We did not purchase the laptop in the store because there was only one in the store and it was the display. I bought the same laptop online at SamsClub.com, and it arrived within days. Now I am completely mobile, which means I can play educational videos in the class room instead of telling the kids to pull out their smartphones when I need a visual aid backup or there is downtime.
The other card purchases came from Walmart. It was good to see that Walmart’s organic/non-GMO game is strong. This will help bust the myth that eating healthy is too expensive. (Not eating healthy is expensive - if not now it will be later). Toaster ovens, induction burners and hot plates allow us to pop up when there is no access to a kitchen. A cooler with wheels, be still my heart!
We purchased food items and supplies for our May workshops and events to promote our summer camps and classes, but we also purchased food to feed our technical support team. “Will work for food” comes to mind, and we are happy to feed them. Our website is coming along with their support. We love the energy they bring whenever we get together, and they love our rumbledethumps.
Buying food on the card freed up some of the cash, so I was able to invest in a #SCORE workshop on Quickbooks.
Since that amazing whirlwind of activities, I have confirmed continued partnerships with Charleston County Recreation - Hazel Parker Rec Center, Wings for Kids.org, and I have reached out to several other organizations for Fall plans. I also have some other business-building activities planned. We are blessed to now have two new locations for camps and classes, one in North Charleston, and one in West Ashley. Birthday parties packages are in the works for the Mellow & Play location in Ladson.
To add to the whirlwind and possible growth opportunities we just did a two-hour Skype interview with our beautiful friends at Twins Talent in New York. They are scouting for the Food Network, and they found Palmetto Kids Cooking!