When you’re building a business, it helps to get a little help learning the ropes. One of the best ways to do this is to attend a conference.
My favorite conference is FinCon, which is held every year. It’s a great place to network and learn about growing your business. While a lot of the business tips and strategies shared at FinCon center around blogging as a business, there are still plenty of takeaways for any entrepreneur.
Here are six of my favorite lessons from FinCon17:
1. Remember to Evolve
One of the most interesting business takeaways came from Problogger founder Darren Rowse. I remember Darren from back when I was at B5 Media. Of course, he’s one of the most famous of blogger businesspeople out there. During Success Incubator, he talked about the importance of evolving.
You can’t let your business strategy stagnate. The world keeps moving — and so should your business. Adapt to the changing landscape so you are better equipped to make the most of your business.
2. Pay for the Facebook Ads
It can be a wrench to pay for Facebook ads, but the reality is that you are likely to be more effective when you use them. Deacon Hayes, from Well Kept Wallet, attributes part of his success to Facebook ads. Not only that, but other FinCon alums, like Kyle Taylor from The Penny Hoarder, have had great success.
You have to be willing to spend some money to make money. Facebook ads are a good way to make it happen — and you might be surprised at how affordable it can be.
3. Get Clear About What You Offer Your Audience
One of the biggest business takeaways from FinCon this year was the idea of knowing what you offer your audience or clients. Too often, we think about the product, but we aren’t clear about why the customer or reader needs what you offer. This was a recurring theme that I heard from several different successful business owners while I was networking.
Will you help your readers’ lives change? How can your product or service transform your audience? Your value proposition isn’t just that you offer something great. It’s that you offer something that can truly change your audience. Figure out what that something is so you can effectively communicate it with your audience and encourage them to buy what you’re selling.
4. Know What Will Really Serve Your Audience
Once you understand how your offering can transform your audience, it’s time to be aware of what will really serve your audience. Paula Pant from Afford Anything talked about ignoring your audience during her “Big Ideas” talk.
She pointed out that sometimes we’re tempted to offer something just because a single customer requests it, or because someone asks us to. But does it really serve your wider audience? Plus, does this request actually help you transform your customers in a way that you’ve identified? Are you even properly equipped and prepared to fulfill the request?
Changing your business, or losing sight of the goal, just because one customer asks for something can set you back further than you thought. Take a step back and make sure that what you actually offer is in line with your mission and your business goals.
5. Pay Attention to ROI
Don’t spend your time on tasks that don’t offer you proper ROI. This isn’t just about financial ROI. It’s also about where you put your time. I’ve seen this in my own business. When it comes to Adulting.tv, we found that focusing on monetizing the blog, rather than trying to grow the podcast listenership, resulted in better financial returns. Do we still want to grow the podcast? Of course! But we shifted some of where we spend our time.
Look at where you get better engagement. My friend Rosemarie Garner from The Busy Budgeter pointed out that she got better ROI by investing her time in nurturing her email list and learning Facebook ad strategy.
You might get better engagement with different tactics, or other uses of your time might make more sense. Perhaps you need to outsource some of your more mundane tasks so that you can focus on big-picture items and grow your business. Review how you use your time and resources and measure the type of ROI you get with each action. Then shift your focus to the items that provide the best ROI.
As always, one of the best business takeaways from FinCon is the power of networking. Every year, I’m struck by this lesson. Getting to know other business owners, and learning from them, can help you. You can forge partnerships and make a difference to your long-term business when you take the time to network effectively.
Did you attend FinCon, or have you in the past? What did you learn about improving your business?
Photo via FinCon Expo.