Monthly Archives: October 2015

How to Dramatically Boost your ROI on Attending QBConnect

3 Steps to dramatically boost your ROI on your #QBConnect investment

Make sure you have a conference game plan !

After investing more than 70 Days (attending and presenting) at Accounting | Bookkeeping |Technology events (in the USA, Australia & New Zealand) in the past 12 months I have noticed that many conference attendees (sometimes me included) are failing to realise an appropriate return on their conference investment.

This is certainly a problem that needs fixing and I have come to the conclusion that the main reason for this it that we are failing to set a “Conference Game Plan” on the way into the event.

Whilst the motivating factors for registering for an event are certainly valid, and include reasons such as;

  • Learning about future direction of the industry
  • Product Training & Business Development
  • Opportunity to see major Keynote presenter “Rock Stars” (e.g. QBConnect this year has Oprah Winfrey and Jessica Alba as main drawcards)
  • Catching up with friends and colleagues
  • Downtime from the office (in the form of a tax deductible holiday) often at exotic (sometimes international) locations (well San Jose is both international and exotic for us Aussies :))

However there is often a disconnect between the initial motivating factors to commit time and money to attend and the implementation of actionable steps post conference.

The next major (global) event in our industry is set down for early November in San Jose (the capital of the worlds tech playground – Silicon Valley) where thousands of ABC’s (Accountants | Bookkeepers | Consultants) along with Small Business Owners and Operators will be attending the Intuit (QuickBooks) flagship event – QBConnect.

So what are the 3 Simple steps we can take in order to “Set our Game Plan” and dramatically boost our ROI on attending QBConnect ?

Step 1 – Set your Agenda in advance – Now!

If you have registered to attend QBConnect then you would have already received an invitation to build you conference agenda. Take some time to review the details of each session on the agenda and commit to sessions that you believe is what you need to help you move to the next level in your professional and business journey. Be sure to lock in ALL Keynote, Opening and Closing address sessions and I would also highly recommend the session (Tuesday 3 November at 3pm) with Intuit founder Scott Cook and Lean Startup Author Eric Ries as a must see. At each session work on identifying 1 key action point that you can take home and implement, also if the opportunity arises ask questions and of course arrive early and stay late if time permits (you often receive that “Zinger” by listening in on conversions with the presenter beside the stage after the session). Also be sure to download and use the QBConnect App, this will help you stay organised and focused throughout the event.

Step 2- Identify Partners to build out your “Tech Toolkit”

Take time to carefully review the list of sponsors exhibiting at the event and identify key vendors that you wish to connect with during the event. Familiarise yourself with the Exhibit Hall layout and identify the order in which you are going to approach those key vendors you wish to establish a partnership with. Often the Founders and CEO’s of the vendors attend these events and this is a golden opportunity to discover the real back story as to why the business was established and understanding the need it fills and how you can partner with them to introduce the solution to your client base.

Businesses and their Advisors alike have been in a discovery phase of identifying business processes that can be “Appified” and integrated into the Accounting Engine in order to streamline efficiency and enhance business performance. Whilst this “discovery phase” will continue to be ongoing I believe it is now time to settle on solutions that comprise the core of your business solutions toolkit – the perfect opportunity to do this is at events like QBConnect.

(Note: It’s important to take time to establish vendor relationships, identify and ask key questions that you need answering prior to committing to partnering with the vendor. Some of the typical questions I ask a vendor in order to determine if they are going to make in into our toolkit can be found at one of our earlier Blog posts

Step 3 – Network with Peers & Industry Thought Leaders

Large scale events such as QBConnect often bring together the Industry Thought Leaders and like-minded peers from around the country (and the world); you just never know who you may be sitting next to. So take this opportunity so say hello or as us Aussies say – G’day J. I have found that ABC’s the world over are very generous of their ideas, experiences and time when it comes to sharing with their peers, particularly in the inspiring and thought provoking environment of a conference. It’s just up to you to simply start the conversation ………….

Bonus Tip – Get Social & Share Your Experiences

Whilst there will be thousands attending QBConnect, there will be many more thousands watching the event unfold from afar, eager to hear about the insights and inspiration that you have gleaned from the event, so be sure to share your experience. One of the best ways to do this is via Social Media during the event (Twitter / Facebook / Instagram and if you are under 20 no doubt Snapchat will all get a run) be sure to use #QBConnect in your posts and reference the source of your information wherever you can. Take pictures whilst at the event and if you get the chance don’t be afraid to ask your favourite presenters to pose for a “Selfie” with you, I know I will be taking any opportunity to get a pic with some of my heroes in the Accounting | Bookkeeping | Technology professions.

Remember you can continue the conference conversation well after the event. You could compile a LinkedIn or Google+ post or write a Blog article or distribute a newsletter post event sharing your conference experience with your contacts and clients (during the event be sure to compile a list of the top insights you learnt from each session you attend – this gives you ready made content that you can use for your article).

By following these simple steps I am certain you will amplify the return on your QBConnect  investment, which after all comprised of your hard earned money and more importantly your precious, irreplaceable time so it’s defiantly worth making the most of it.

I look forward to seeing you in San Jose at what promises to be an amazing event 🙂

Invest in your future learning

Always invest in your future learning

With over 90% of the world’s online data having been created in the past 12 months, including 300+ hours of YouTube video uploaded every minute and hundreds of millions of hours viewed every day – there is no shortage of information in the world – but how do you work out what is worth learning and what’s not?

Two phrases about learning that have resonated with me over the past few years are;

You’ll never out earn your learning! (Brad Sugars)

Create a learning fund where you allocate 10% of your Income for the purposes of funding your future learning

Having set out to diligently follow these guides I have discovered that the second point is harder to do especially when the first one holds true, the more you learn the more you may earn.
Learning opportunities are broadly categorised into two distinct groups these days – In Person and Online.

Online learning opportunities include Podcasts, Blogs, YouTube channels, Webinars, LinkedIn, Facebook Groups and following your respected peers and Industry Thought Leaders on Twitter. It enables efficient delivery of information in huge volumes but it’s not the single source of future learning. There is no doubt that online learning is here to stay and further develop, however, there is also a resurgence in the need for face to face, live human events, it seems as though the Higher the Tech the Higher the Touch required.

One solution to spending the money you have earmarked for your “Learning Fund” is to travel (both locally and overseas) to attend conferences in your chosen field. In the past 12 months I have spent over 70 days at events and it’s amazing how well a 14 hour international flight prepares the mind for absorption of ideas and inspiration, so long as you stay away from the bar in the sky! So why not do it? Seek out the number one global event in your industry or profession and commit to attending it within the next 12 months. Plan on taking your spouse and schedule some time out days before the event if you can, so you land in the conference chair eager to learn and dedicate some time post event to review what you have learnt and set goals and devise strategy. However a word of warning! – You may get hooked on this approach to learning and your passport will quickly start to fill up.

Another thing I have learnt is that learning is a daily task, so learn to develop a learning calendar, that reminds you of this and lock in the major industry events you would love to attend in the coming 12 months (no matter where in the world). Remember that it’s not just about business (professional) development, take time out also to enhance your personal learning too; you may be surprised at what you learn.