The first question before Independent and Small Business Owners (ISBO) CommuniTEA zoom call for the owners of events businesses was “What personal business failure have you had, and what did you learn from it?

ISBO CommuniTEA, a socially engaging casual chat for members of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) monthly addresses a topic of direct interest to ISBO or those who wish to begin their own business. After individual brief introductions, the group is subdivided into small group breakouts, affording each person the opportunity to share or ask questions without judgement. Each small group discussion creates its own energy and direction. The answers are as diverse as the participants. Here are some of the responses.

  1. “It’s OK to say no to some pieces of business. Create partnerships with a few partners with whom you can refer business or to share some business that may be too much for one company alone. Then you aren’t just saying no. You are providing a solution.
  2. We frequently do a credit check of our vendors. Do the same with new clients before accepting their check or their business.
  3. Realize that as a new, or even small independently owned business, you may not be able to compete with larger companies. What can you offer they can’t?
  4. Be clear on what your services are and how you expect clients to be a responsible party in the relationship. Make them sign a contract stating same.
  5. Failure is another opportunity to improve. Discover, when possible, why you lost a piece of business or a job.
  6. Don’t forget you are the expert when responding to an RFP. If you spot something missing that should be asked, ask if the client wants input. It sets you apart as the professional.

A separate question concerned whether our industry or individuals are doing enough to promote ourselves, skills and businesses?

  1. Senior level staff with vast amounts of experience are seeing young, often inexperienced newbies replacing them. Many of the senior level staff have gone into senior living or real estate industries, where their skills will bring “5-star service” in these new opportunities.
  2. Experience and skills matter. It’s less about having a slew of accreditations than it is whether one can handle the responsibilities and pressures.
  3. Finally, as an industry or as a member of MPI, what more could be done to mitigate failure and promote our members? Communicate. Check calendars before planning conferences so it doesn’t overlap another industry event. Talk to one another. What can we do to assist in each other’s success?

The next ISBO CommuniTEA event is May 25. The subject will be Hybrid Events And Your Small Business.

Register here.