Last week I had the distinct pleasure of speaking to small business owners at the Be Bold Conference in Johnson City, Tennessee. The event was sponsored by the Bank of Tennessee and I must say from start to finish it was first class all the way! The premise behind the event was to bring Business Owners, Leaders and Decision Makers (BOLD) together in a conference-type format for an idea exchange focused on the tips and tricks of running a small business.
The morning keynote speaker was Wynne Tyree who is the founder and president of Smarty Pants which is an international market research and strategic consulting firm. Wynne’s presentation was not only entertaining but full of great nuggets of wisdom about running a small business. Among my favorite quotes include 1) You can’t mentor drive 2) Owners of the team don’t play 2nd base 3) Freedom, Security and Happiness is the end game for small business 4) Spend time to learn from everyone. Really good stuff that made a lot of sense to me.
The first presentation I gave was titled “From the Minor League to the Majors” Building An Employee Farm Systems. It seems a lot of small business owners in East Tennessee (who represent many different industries) are struggling with issues such as succession planning as well as creating a strategy for recruiting and developing their young (millennial) employees. It seems to be a popular topic these days! Also, I was particularly pleased that so many people came up to me after my presentation and told me how much they got out of it. Very rewarding!
My second presentation was titled “A Fraud Victim Speaks Out” which detailed the embezzlement crisis that my company (and I) had to endure back in 2003 when our accounting manager stole over $257,000 from the company and almost put us out of business. In my presentation, I discussed the “Day My Business Almost Died” and how we were able to overcome a major challenge and actually double business the next year. It’s funny but even though the incident happened over 13 years ago, there is still a lot of interest in fraud prevention, detection etc. Not a fun topic but was well received nonetheless. All in all , it was a really fun week in East Tennessee and hope I can be invited back for speaking engagements in the future.