On Saturday I spent the day at Start up 2016 in Canary Wharf, luckily I booked my
ticket early as the event was sold out with a waiting list of 2000 people. It was run by Enterprise Nation and as well as the Canary Wharf event, partner events were also running around the country making it accessible to everyone. There were a great range of sessions to attend from Instagram advice to packaging design and subscription businesses to trend watching.
It was the first time I’d attended an event like this so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s easy to think that your business isn’t important enough for you attend events like this but, although some of what went on was aimed at large start ups who were looking for funding, there was plenty that was relevant to my “micro business”.
The first session I attended was “Make or break: How I’ve built my start up” which was a panel interview with Darren Rook of the London Distillery, Penny Power OBE, founder of The Business Cafe and Esther Thompson of Tea Huggers. The panel was chaired by Gary Turner of Xero, his company has recently commissioned research in to success factors for start ups and the findings of this research steered the direction of the interview. The research found that businesses who don’t seek support and advice were much less likely to succeed than those who did and what really came from the panel was that you need to be open to accepting help which can be difficult when the business is “your baby”. Other key points were that it’s really important to be familiar with the numbers and to maintain some kind of work life balance, the main tip for achieving this was to automate wherever possible so that you can focus on growth.
The next session I attended was “Boost your Business on Facebook” which was run by someone from Facebook. The main message here was mobile, mobile, mobile, of the 28 million people in the UK who use Facebook daily, 25 million do it on a mobile device. This means that advertisers need to focus on catching attention quickly (or “thumb stopping”) and she explained that we have just 3 seconds to do that. She also talked about the new carousel ads which have been recently launched highlighting they’ve seen a 30-50% decrease in the cost per click on these ads.
One of the main reasons I wanted to attend was for the session on offline events run by EventBrite (as running events is my business) and it did not disappoint. It was run by EventBrite’s content manager who started off by discussing why events are still relevant today before moving on to the before, during and after of event marketing. He shared a great deal of information and if events are your thing then I would recommend checking out the EventBrite blog but I’ll just cover the key points here. The overarching theme for me was really the use of Hashtags, he suggested that they should be memorable, unique, short and evergreen, for me evergreen really struck a chord, it refers to keeping the hashtag the same for each event in a series (for example with annual events or for me with monthly events) as this keeps up momentum. The site keyhole.co was recommended as a way to check out the reach of your event using the hashtag and this is certainly something I’ll be trying out. He also talked about creating shareable content before the event, my favourite example was for conference type events and involved asking all the panellists the same three questions and then using the answers to create a blog post which can then be shared with the hashtag. I was also really interested in the statistic that drop out rates for free events are often over 50%, definitely worth baring in mind if you are deciding weather to charge for an event or not.
I had a very enjoyable day and there were plenty more sessions I’d have loved to attend if I’d had time and it’s an event I’ll certainly be looking out for next year, especially since it was completely free. My main takeaways were to be clear on the outcome you’re trying to achieve, look for and accept help and keep a close eye on your numbers.