Our February Founders event included panelists who work at a Social Media Scheduling Company, a Payments Company, a Virtual Assistance Company, and a Modern Marketing Training Company, and they all had one thing in common.
They all use technology to enhance how they deliver their products and to help them grow their businesses. The consensus of the evening was that today every business is a technology company and that all business owners should look to technology to help them execute their roles better. Whether you're looking for tools to help with task management, project management, email marketing, accounting software, or management tools, using technology to streamline business processes will help make life easier for small business owners.
In addition to the highlight video above, you can also watch the entire event here.
The event attendees got to hear practical advice on our founder's favorite technology tools, how they approach learning new skills, and even their largest tech fails. Our February panel included Nicolas Beique, CEO and Founder of Helcim, Melanie Brittner, Social Media Strategist at Later, Kelly Doody, Founder of Social School, and Bobbie Racette, CEO of Virtual Gurus.
Here are some of our favorite questions from the evening:
Question #1: How do you approach learning something new and learning new skills?
Kelly: Google, I also knew the starting point, and I took a course, then had switches going off as you figure little pieces out. When you don't have a choice, you figure it out.
Question #2: For anyone who doesn't feel tech-savvy, how would you recommend people get more comfortable with technology?
Nic: I think there's a mindset that so and so is a computer person, but we just use tools that were created. You've got to get rid of this mindset that someone else in computers will fix it for you and just dive in.
Bobbie: Don't be afraid to just jump in and do it, and if you can't do it there are so many support groups out there that can help you.
Question #3: What is the most valuable technology within your business right now?
Nic: Microsoft One Note
Bobbie: Google Notes and Dashlane
Question #4: What are some of your tech fails?
Kelly: Countless, we were running a sale last week and literally had $6,000 worth of ads running per day and the SSL certificate of our website hadn't been renewed, and that was just recently. Our marketing automation constantly goes awry.
Bobbie: A while ago, I needed my team to send a newsletter to the people who had fallen off because they didn't like our services and win them back. I wanted to send them all a free month of services, this was to about 350 clients. I accidentally sent it to the wrong list in MailChimp and sent it to 17,000 people instead.
Melanie: When I was working for Lululemon, I gave my nephew my phone for the day, and he installed an app where you play with a horse, and it connected with the Lululemon Twitter and was tweeting out updates without me knowing.
Question #5: Where do we invest and where do we save in technology?
Kelly: Unless it's imperatively helping us, it's not worth it. Trial and error, but don't trial and error yourself to death. I invest in Infusionsoft because it's like another employee to me.
Bobbie: Something I look at is, will this give me a good ROI, and will this be something we can really utilize. So right now, we're really only using one third-party system which is teamwork.
Melanie: We pay for Asana for our content calendar, it helps us stay on top of who is editing what, when outlines are done, and it's all managed using Asana.
Nic: We use Jira for software development and Adobe, we're neck-deep in Adobe cloud fees. I'm a big believer in owning what makes you special, a lesson I've learned is that just because you can build it, it doesn't mean you should build it. Identify what your secret sauce is that makes you special and find a way to build it yourself, so you have a cost advantage on the market.
A huge thank you to The Ace Class for co-imagining this event with us and helping us share these amazing entrepreneurial stories with everyone.
There is only one Founders event left, and you don't want to miss it! We'll be handing over the microphone to everyone who attends so they can ask our panel their most burning questions about running a business. The April panel will feature Nicolas Beique of Helcim, Mandy Balak of It's Date Night YYC and The Ace Class, Alex Putici the Founder of Work Nicer Coworking.