On October 22-24, The Outreach Promotional Solutions Team had the opportunity to attend the 9th annual Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) Small Business Convention as a proud sponsor and exhibitor at the event. Just as we predicted it would be, the “largest gathering of small businesses in the Midwest” was a huge success. Among the various highlights from the event, we wanted to share a few of our favorites from the keynotes and workshops we were able to attend and the connections that we made.
Keynote Speaker: Bill Taylor of Fast Company Magazine (@PracticallyRad)
Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company Magazine, welcomed us to the event on Thursday morning with his idea of rethinking the experience and reinventing the economics of your business. Taylor spoke of firsthand accounts of business leaders who have transformed their companies and how they did it. Not only did Taylor kick off the convention with his insight, but he left us all eager and inspired to seize opportunities and challenge the status quo by first determining the one sentence that encompasses everything our businesses stand for.
Workshop: Halle Barnett of Media Schmedia (@HalleBarnett)
Barnett spoke on finding your inner brand voice- a struggle that many small businesses experience. Halle explained that there are a few keys to finding your inner brand voice, beginning with “building the bridge between what your customers have in common with each other and what your core values are.” Additionally, Barnett explained that in order to be effective, your brand needs to communicate powerfully with a few ideas in mind:
- Expressive- of a company’s core
- Resonant- people respond strongly and viscerally
- Persistent- the brand should stick with you
- Self-Reinforcing- multiple exposures to amplify impact
- Multi-Threaded- think brand tapestry
Finally, Halle left workshop attendees with a challenge: audition adjectives that capture your core brand traits. Our team will most definitely meet to brainstorm our core brand traits, so stay tuned!
“Why just drive sales when you can build bridges, incite passions, shape worlds?” – Halle Barnett
Keynote: George Hedley of HARDHAT Presentations
Perhaps the most fun and entertaining speaker of the convention was Mr. Hedley of HARDHAT Presentations, as well as Inc. Magazine and Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year.” Hedley wasn’t short of jokes, props or sarcasm to get his point across about sustainable business growth. He was firm in his beliefs that business owners have to
“get unstuck, make tough decisions and sacrifice control.” I think we speak for everyone when we say that we left the presentation feeling inspired to achieve wealth and freedom from our businesses.
Vegas Nights Convention Party!
That’s right, we said VEGAS! Our team had a blast tearing up the dance floor and of course, the blackjack tables on Friday night. At the end of the evening, COSE staff, exhibitors and guests traded in their chips for raffle tickets for a chance to win top-notch prize baskets filled with tools, Starbucks gift cards, spa certificates and more.
Our favorite highlight from the three-day COSE Small Business Convention was the connections we had the opportunity to make with small business owners, supporters and customers. It was a pleasure to spend a few days with everyone, so thanks to all who stopped by our booth to hangout, played some pong for a chance to win pens and shared your business with us.