Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Valuable Advice from the Experts at the Final 'Mind Your Own Business' #IFB2014 Event

Sales and marketing experts round up successful events series

The Mind Your Own Business (MYOB) events programme finished on a high, as around sixty local business owners and retailers gathered at The Old Hall at The Cotton Exchange in the heart of Liverpool’s commercial district.

As part of the calendar for the International Festival of Business, the event programme, which was tailored to benefit the small and micro business community in Liverpool, culminated with two events focussed on effective selling and marketing and delivered by industry experts from across the north west region.

The ‘Sell More Stuff’ event was tailored specifically for the burgeoning retail sector in the Liverpool City Region, drawing on the experiences of established retailers, who have achieved success both in store and online.

Steve Myatt of Garden Retail Success launched proceedings with a presentation on how to make your shop space work for you, saying “Your shop front is the first thing people see and it needs to convey your message and let people know what you’re about.”

Lancashire lad Steve went onto discuss the importance of removing the barriers between your customer and your product, getting into the psyche of your consumers and using simple but intelligent signage and informed merchandising to make your shop space do the work for you.

“It’s not a science,” he said, “it’s simply subliminal selling and it works.”

Dave Hazelhurst, director at PH-Creative expanded on this at the final MYOB session ‘Hey You, I’m Here!’ offering a detailed insight into a whole suite of tools that can help you to easily and effectively implement social and digital media as part of your marketing strategy.
“The world is changing, Google is changing and the tricks of online marketing are changing,” he said. “The world won’t revolve around websites in the not too distant future, and SEO as a term will be dead. It’s about inbound marketing, content marketing and creating an experience online.”

He added: “We look at our phones around 150 times a day – that’s more than I look at my wife! If you’re not getting your business mobile-ready, you’re already behind.”

Dave also promoted organic, word of mouth marketing and talked about how to engage your customer through creating impactful content.

“It’s simple really, talk to your customer like you love them and speak to them in the way that they speak. Use persona mapping to bring your customer to you, create your content plans as far in advance as you can and importantly, influence the influencers within your market.”

Local entrepreneur Carl Wong, who has led successful market research and software businesses said that his key to success was being brave. “Believe in yourself and take a risk!” he advised.

“You have to believe that you’re the best, if you didn’t you wouldn’t be doing what you’re doing. Believe in your product, believe in yourself and put yourself out there.”

Final speaker, Mike Finnigan from i2i in Manchester supported Carl, saying “Psychology is an incredibly important factor in sales and marketing, and you can master your own success by adjusting your psyche – it’s all about perception.”

Mike demonstrated his philosophy through a series of practical and interactive activities throughout the session, encouraging delegates to consider their mind sets and understand the power of a positive psyche.

Other experts involved with facilitating these final sessions included local entrepreneur Carl Wong, Mike Finnigan of i2i Manchester, Tim Lobley of Sound Affects Music, Donal Bannon, commercial partner from Morecrofts Solicitors and Mike Doran, communications manager from City Central BID, who helped to create a picture of Liverpool’s retail landscape for existing and aspiring businesses.

Mike Doran gave an insight into occupancy rates in the city, indicating that vacancies, even in areas like Bold Street were down to 2% against a national average of 13% - a heartening statistic. Mike also shed light on completed and ongoing projects in the city to improve retail areas including The Met Quarter, Cavern Walks, St John’s Precinct and Clayton Square and the developing Central Village scheme.

“All in all,” he said, “Liverpool has seen over £2 million of retail development, and you could argue we’re still in a recession. That’s not bad going and the face of the city and our retail districts is continuing to change for the better.”

Donal Bannon offered some final pearls of wisdom to business owners, saying: “Set out your stall from the start by having your structure right. Don’t wait until something goes wrong, seek the right advice, right from the beginning to prevent any avoidable stumbling blocks.”

Organised in association with The North West Fund and Another Level and supported by Liverpool John Moores University, Lloyds Banking Group and Morecrofts Solicitors, the Mind Your Own Business series of events was set up to provide honest, no-nonsense advice to small and aspiring business owners and has successfully delivered four practical sessions and attracted over three hundred delegates since its launch last month.

Organisers have been delighted with the response and have indicated that the events will become a regular addition to the region’s business calendar.

For more information on other upcoming events, visit www.yourbusinessnews.com/events

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