Looking to help small businesses flourish, Strathcona County Economic Development and Tourism hosted its annual Small Business Week Conference at the Agora on Monday, Oct. 16.
The event started with Marilyn Tuazon, social media specialist at Bluetrain, teaching businesses how to Unlock Social Media Success with 10 tips for Small Businesses.
“A lot of times small businesses will use social media for brand awareness just to get their name out there,” Tuazon told the audience. “When you’re looking at the long-term gain, we do believe it brings customers in, keeps customers coming and long term it does positively influence your return on investment.”
Tuazon said organic social media marketing can take eight to 12 months, which is why Bluetrain recommends social media ads or lowering expectations. She also touched on the importance of security online and using two-factor authentication whenever possible.
The second speaker, Cheryl Lockhart, management consultant and partner with Omni Consulting, talked about a wider business strategy in a presentation called ‘Strategy Activation – Igniting the spark for achieving your business goals’.
“I love working with businesses that put their strategies on paper and look at all the various aspects of what’s unique about it, what’s different and what opportunities are there for you,” Lockhart said. “We’re going to do a quick overview of strategic planning and then I’m going to talk to you about why I think your strategy needs a strategy and then we’ll end on strategy activation, which I think is the secret sauce in achieving the goals you’re looking for. In the end I hope to leave you with some clarity on your business strategy and cleaner personal goals related to your business.”
The keynote speaker, Dr. Caroline Brookfield, spoke about unlocking creativity.
“I’m going to talk to you about creativity today but don’t worry, it is going to be helpful to your business and I’m going to give you specific tips and strategies that you can take away to engage your creativity,” explained Brookfield.
Brookfield is a veterinarian, a manager and professional speaker, who has a lot of experience with running a business and even holds a Certificate of Professional Management from the University of Calgary and is a certified Level 2 Creative Problem-Solving Institute.
Brookfield’s said we lose a lot of creativity as we get older, but it can be unlocked and utilize by employees and employers to further their business goals.
“Use your creativity to implement a plan and think of the steps you’re going to use to accomplish that goal,” she said. “I’m hoping by the time we end here today you’ll have changed your definition of creativity and you’ll have some specific strategies and tools that you can use to create creative problem solving.
You can find out more about the three speakers by visiting their websites at bluetrain.ca, omnica.com or CarolineBrookfield.com.