Highlights from Chicago’s meeting

by Ben Prudek

Here are some highlights:
  • WRITING an e-book. Even if there aren’t a ton of initial, direct readers, being “published” can have multiple secondary benefits: lends credibility, can lead to speaking engagements…
  • Ning.com was recommended as a tool for building community sites.
  • A couple of tips for freelance consultants:
    • It’s important to have a deliverable that you can package and sell. For instance, if you’re a cook, have some pre-packaged service, like, “I can make breakfast for 20 people for $400, which will include all ingredients, labor, and dishes.” It doesn’t have to include ingredients– your client might have to pay for that– but your marketing of yourself has to be more concrete than “I can cook”.
    • Consultants can offer an outside perspective to prospective companies.
  • For startups, two sites recommended in discussion were VentureSHOT— a Chicago collaboration community– and Fundology— in one attendee’s words– a “Linkedin for the investment community”.
  • On the topic of developing innovation/branching out your own services, attendees voiced several options, including: contracting an “entrepreneur-in-residence”, setting aside 1 day/wk for your own staff to spend on ideas/ventures other than their usual, or creating a new team in your office just for entrepreneurship/innovation.
  • When courting investors for your startup, you need to be able to present a financial plan. They’re investing, not donating– they want a return on their money. They’ll want to know what your plan is for making money and generating a profit. You need to go into that discussion well-armed.

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