Top 5 Small Business Tips from Pioneer Nation 2014

April 03, 2014


{Chris Guillebeau; photo credit: pioneer nation}

Last week, I attended Pioneer Nation, a small business and entrepreneurial conference in Portland, Oregon. This was the first year of the conference created by Chris Guillebeau of World Domination Summit fame. I was not sure what to expect and went in not knowing what I would gain from being a part of this inaugural year. I have to say, on the whole it exceeded my expectations. I took away so many tips and tools that I have already begun implementing in my business but today I am going to share the  top 5 small business tips I learned during the conference.

pdxpioneer-L68A2182-0419{Reno Tom; photo credit: pioneer nation}

1. Small business owners and entrepreneurs have to have GUMPTION.

Gumption means: having common sense and initiative at the same time. According to Rena Tom, part of having gumption is knowing yourself and your customers. It is also really important to self evaluate. Sit down once a quarter and take time to evaluate yourself in your business.

2. Business is about belonging.

Chris Brogan, keynote speaker shared the importance of declaring who you are, seeking what you want and creating a business of service. Serving others and helping them be their own hero, telling their story and providing ultra personal service are the way to do this.

3. Re-frame the word: HIRING.

Laura Roeder spoke about the importance of actually hiring an employee for your business. Employees can be a profit center for your business if you hire the right team. Some of the areas she suggested looking at first are customers service, bookkeeping and technical aspects such as social media, blogging, website setup and maintenance. If you are concerned about where to find the money to do this, her first suggestion was taking some of your “learning” budget and moving it to your “doing” budget.

4. Live in the Overlap of the Sweet Spot

I heard this more than once at Pioneer Nation. Firstly, what is the sweet spot? It is the overlap of expertise, market awareness and enthusiasm.

“Get out of your comfort zone, think BIG but talk small, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” – Rena Tom

pdxpioneer-L68A2046-0371{making dinner plans; photo credit: pioneer nation}

5. Creative Sustainability

Willo O’brien shared the importance of protecting your own creative energy by using creative energy management. There are four areas that need attention:

  • physical energy (body)
  • emotional energy (emotions)
  • mental energy (mind)
  • spiritual energy (spirit)

As you are evaluating each area, determine where you need support and put those processes and systems in place to get the help you need.

This was my first visit to Portland and I instantly fell in love with the Pearl District where the conference took place as it reminded me of my early design days working in River North District in Chicago. Our home for two days was PNCA (Pacific Northwest College of Art) and I was definitely also impressed with the skill level of the artwork posted in the hallways. Lots of incredibly talented students at the school. It certainly was a great venue for this type of event.

Thanks so much to the Pioneer Nation team and all the incredible speakers. It was a fabulous conference and I look forward to next year.

Happy Thursday everyone.

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