Tips for Maximizing Christy Wright’s Business Boutique Event
I can’t believe a year has gone by since the Christy Wright’s first Business Boutique in Nashville. While I won’t be able to attend the encore this November, I can assure you that it will be yet another phenomenal event.
Having attended three Dave Ramsey sponsored events, I know for a fact that their team goes above and beyond to exceed expectations. (Personally I think that Christy Wright’s Business Boutique might have blown the other events out of the water, but that’s between you and me.)
While the Business Boutique team will put on a phenomenal event, there are several things you can do to maximize your experience. Based on my personal experience, as well as reaching out for input from dozens of former attendees, here are several tips for your upcoming adventure.
Don’t wait until you’re packing your bags to start paving the way for a rewarding conference experience. Prep starts before you head out to Nashville or the other event venues. Yes, there’s homework for a conference. Hang with me though, you’ll be glad you did it.
— Jacqueline V Twillie (@JVTWILLIE) May 20, 2016
1) Master the Pitch
Do you have an elevator pitch?
In case this is a new concept, your elevator pitch is your ability to describe your entire business in the length of an elevator ride. Basically, it needs to be short, interesting and to the point.
Many new or small business owners skip this step in efforts to get their business off the ground. If that’s the case, take an evening to nail down your service offerings into a three to four sentence pitch.
If you already have one, take a few minutes to review it.
To dig deeper into mastering your pitch, check out Michael Hyatt’s post on “The 4 Components of a Compelling Elevator Pitch.” Not only does he easily break down how to build one, he also highlights ways that going through this process helps you in your business.
All set? Let’s jump on into the next “homework” assignment.
— Alisa Morse (@alisa_c_morse) May 21, 2016
2) Invest in Business Cards
In addition to rocking your pitch, you need to prepare to make connections at the event. After all, the true magic will come from the people you meet.
Plan to make connections by having business cards.
It’s the most classic business maneuver for following up. Once the conversation comes to a pause or you need to start moving toward the next session, you coolly pull out a business card. “Let’s keep in touch.”
If you’re really swanky, you have a great little box you keep them in.
Or you’re like me and you fumble through an oversized bag scrambling to find one.
Either way, have them handy to quickly swap info and keep the conversation flowing.
Since we’re all striving for financial peace (Dave Ramsey follower over here), this is not an invitation to drop a few hundred dollars on a complete branding package and buy premium cards for a brand new business. We’re looking for an affordable option that looks professional and gets the job done.
I say this primarily because I have a bit of an obsession with business cards.
For an affordable route, go through Vista print. They have pre-designed templates that are literally drag and drop. Done and done. Got Print is a great option if you already have a design done. Use one of Canva’s free (or incredibly cheap) design templates to quickly mock up your card.
For businesses that have a little more to invest into cards, consider Moo. These high-quality cards solicit the best responses when you hand them out. Receivers literally pause to look at the card, instantly noticing the difference in quality, thickness, and material.
It’s a great way to set your business apart.
And to the procrastinators in the group, I have an option for you too. Send your designs to a print shop in Nashville to pick up the day before the conference. Most shops can turn around in two to three days.
Professional Reprographics does a great job for an affordable price in Nashville.
How do I know this? You’re looking at the company I used for the first Nashville event. Yup, I didn’t decide to print business cards week before the event.
Let’s just say I procrastinate so I can help out my other last minute champions. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
— Christy Wright (@ChristyBWright) May 20, 2016
With your elevator pitch practiced and your business cards in tow, you are ready for the big day!
You’ll encounter countless phenomenal women pursuing almost every business idea. The challenge is to actually engage with women, start conversations and make these powerful connections.
The reason boils down to one fact. Most attendees, although not all, bring a friend or go as a group. What better opportunity could you discover for a girl’s weekend? That’s what I did. Not only does it create fantastic memories, you also cut a lot of expenses in half.
Unfortunately, and I’m guilty as well, we tend to cling to our friends.
So, to everyone who convinced a friend or two to join, build in opportunities to network. Sometimes it’s as easy as giving your companions a heads up that each day you are aiming to meet ten new people or you want to use one of the breaks for networking. You can even tag-team the efforts, inviting other women to join for lunch or dinner. Get to the event early to mingle with other early birds.
It’s time to get creative.
To all those flying solo, I salute you! You will have a much easier time branching out.
*I heard through the grapevine that the Business Boutique crew is building in dedicated networking time. If that’s the case, this will be a little easier. That being said, it’s not a get off easy card. Make sure to branch out throughout the entire event.
— Meredith Chase (@MeredithLChase) May 21, 2016
4) Stay Connected
Making a connection marks the first step. Then comes the follow-up.
Commit to following up with no less than 8-10 women. Most likely they will fill different roles, from collaborator to potential customer to confidant to mentor. Right here is how you start build your network.
I typically work to follow up with every business card I receive, additionally making a big effort to collect them at the event.
To expedite the process, I follow up via e-mail. Traditionally I add in a LinkedIn invite as well, but at the last event I found most women I met weren’t on that platform. I created a simple event specific e-mail template:
Subject: Pleasure meeting you!
Body: Hi [Name],
It was a pleasure meeting you last night at [networking event]. I just wanted to send a quick email (and LinkedIn invite!) to keep in touch.
Oh, and that website I mentioned that I thought might be useful to you is [URL]. Hope that helps.
See you at the next event!
I’ve also been known to write notes on their business card so I can better personalize the e-mail, still working with the basic template.
If you want to get really swanky about the follow-up, pull a trick out of Dan Miller’s book. He packs 12 pre-stamped thank you notes. Then at the event, when he makes a powerful connection, he writes a quick note and drops the card in the mail on the way home.
Can you imagine how powerful that is on the receiving end? This is great for potential clients, meeting speakers or someone you really want to impress.
— The Stitch Bar (@TheStitchBar) May 14, 2016
5) Navigating the Food Scene
Ah Nashville, home of the delicious Southern cooking, fried chicken, and portions that make a grown man weep with joy. Unfortunately, my waistline (and wallet for that matter) can’t handle non-stop indulgence.
Whether you are looking to cut costs, eat healthy or avoid long lines, pack your lunch. You’ll be in good company packing a lunch. One of the previous event attendees even created a “we-brought-our-own-lunch-come-sit-with-us-group,” openly inviting everyone who packed a meal to join them.
Networking AND saving money, now that sounds like my type of deal.
While the Business Boutique team organizes a lot of food trucks to sell lunches, there can be very long lines. I will say they cover a range of food choices. The other option is to head to a local eatery. One attendee mentioned she successfully called ahead orders to a local restaurant and was able to easily pick up food on arrival. Now that’s clever.
Also, make sure to bring snacks to have on hand.
— Katie Janssen (@kaja07) May 13, 2016
6) Wear Layers
Fall weather in Nashville can be cooler, yet like many areas, fall brings a slight unpredictably in weather. The same is true for the conference temperature. Despite what it may seem like, regulating the temperature of a large room with over 1,000 warm bodies is no easy feat.
It also takes adjusting to get it right.
That means that you want layers as the temperature sways from cooler to quite cozy. I typically find conferences run on the cooler side. At the first event, I chose to wear short sleeves and had to make a run to purchase a jacket before the second day.
Woman to woman, I would recommend stylish layers. Fashion isn’t my forte, so I have to be intentional about assembling professional attire. I found that unlike many conferences I’ve attended, which sport the typical business attire, Business Boutique was less classic business wear and a more stylish take on “business casual.”
— BebaPhotography (@BebaPhotography) May 15, 2016
7) Create an Action Plan
You’re going to be hit with an overwhelming amount of information. From outlining the fundamentals of building your business to exploring different channels to market your store, the crew presenting will cover it all.
And overwhelm will become the daily standard.
HeatherLiewellyn Gray from Biz Basics Online summed it up perfectly, “It’s like drinking from a fire hose, in a good way! There is so much to learn at the BB event. Take good notes to refer back on.”
This is ok. Personally, I believe that when an event fails to fill you with new information, it’s time to start searching out new ones. The trick is to map out which information you want to act on once you get back.
Whether it’s the card ride back or allocating a few hours to review notes, take dedicated time to focus on your event takeaways following the event.
— Hannah (Mont) Lewis (@HannahMontLewis) May 21, 2016
8) Bonus: Build a Mastermind Group
You’re about to connect with over 1,000 like-minded women dedicated to building their business. In short, you’re in good company.
Take it to the next level and build a mastermind group out of the women you meet here. Now you could decide to limit it geographically, by industry or choose to create a mix of different businesses and locations.
As they saying goes, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
What Are Your Tips or Questions About Christy Wright’s Business Boutique?
Let me know about your experience in the comments! Did I miss anything? Have questions still unanswered? Happy to help.