Post 2: Six months after, and…. we made it💪
Updated: Mar 31
The Virtual Events Experience is a business created and launched during the pandemic, and despite the economic uncertainty combined with a high possibility for the business to not succeed due to the events industry crisis, we are super proud to say, we successfully achieved a milestone, and our business is growing😎 🙌
Check out below ten learnings that our founder, Pamela Benitez, discovered while managing for the first time a business.
TOP 10 LESSONS OF A FIRST-TIME BUSINESS OWNER
After organising and running complex events as VIP hospitality during the World Cup, I thought managing a business would not be so difficult, well, I was wrong 😩
Balancing a range of duties is not easy and I learned so much in six months, so I decided to share the ten best discoveries, and despite knowing that opening a business is difficult and risky, personally, it was the best decision I did 😃
#1 - Adapt fast💨
That lesson, I learned the hard way! Before I started my business, I did mystery shopping to check what was available including competitors’ costs, specifically for virtual events. By the time I created and launched the virtual experiences, in less than two months of the launch the market completely changed and the original pricing structure was not working so I needed to adapt fast to be in the game.
Lesson: do not underestimate your competitors and keep checking your market.
#2 - Priorities, priorities, and priorities❗
When you start a business, you want to see all your ideas coming to life in seconds but when you have bills to pay you must ensure that whatever you decide converts in financial independence. Strategy is super important, but I understood that decisions done in the day-to-day could impact the business profit in months, so having a short-term sales goal is key and should be a top priority.
Lesson: the goal is to be financially independent fast, and if a task will not provide you a return of investment in the short-term then is not your priority.
#3 - Collaboration is the best way to grow and learn 📈
Having the right collaboration in place to help bring ideas to life is a must for a small business. I learned that speaking daily with other industry colleagues and collaborating in projects helped my business grow organically and in return I learned more about another business model, management style and created a friendship along.
The Virtual Events Experience partnered with Break the Ice Forum led by Matthieu Lagae to create the Buses 4 Homeless Networking & Charity Online Event happening on Wednesday, 21st & Thursday, 22nd April 2021 which will bring 120 top elite event organisers to meet virtual and hybrid suppliers as our main sponsor and platform partner Hubilo, and the best part? The event is giving back 10% of the exhibition pack to Buses 4 Homeless CIC a non-profit social enterprise supporting homeless people to reengage back into society.
Also, we partnered with Lady PA by Carly Hennah and Hot Hospitality Exchange by Sabrina Meyers to create The Start-up Breakdown Event an event sharing everything you need to know to open a business happening on Wednesday, 14th April and Thursday, 15th April 2021, giving back to Shaw Trust a UK Charity which via Ixion Holdings supports the New Enterprise Allowance government program providing mentorship. We are proud to have Startups
Magazine as media partner.
The collaborations created helped to speed up my business, opening new markets and creating a good relationship with partners that became ambassadors for the business.
Lesson: find company partners that have the same values and goals as yours.
#4 - The old school “hard work” is still a must and pays off🏋️
I would be so happy to say that opening a business means you do not need to work as hard as when you were an employee, but that is simply not true. Yes, some might say you do not need to work harder but smarter however when you start a business alone, there is a range of tasks that you must do fast and simultaneous to be able to keep it up with strategy and priorities, therefore, working hard is key.
Lesson: if you do not work hard at the start, you will lose opportunities to generate sales/profit in a short time. If you have the time to see your strategy coming to life, that is good but if you want to see results fast unfortunately you will need to work in double. Attention: this lesson does not invalidate lesson #2.
#5 - Networking is key for a start-up 🚀
I love networking because allows meeting new people normally in a fun or informative way. I am currently proud to have The Virtual Events Experience member of LoveBizNetworking, London Chamber of Commerce, and FutureX Community and find each of them super important and relevant to meet people that can support or help the business and my personal growth. I do not attend the networking events with a hard-selling attitude, but I keep my mind opened, learning about other businesses and mostly the people attending the networking itself.
Lesson: networking events are to learn and meet people, do not expect business in the short term but ensure to promote discreetly what you do, why you do it and who you are as a person. You might not see sales coming immediately but you will be surprised to see results in a long run from a marketing and sales perspective.
#6 - Suppliers are your best friends 👫
I was very lucky so far to have appointed great suppliers, that delivered and went beyond the call of duty. They are our best friends because they help our product to be better and support in delivering the services to final clients. When they shine, you shine so make sure to have them in your side. Also, suppliers can be your brand ambassador, helping to promote your business to others.
Lesson: treat your suppliers well, and they will make anything happen for your business plus promote it.
#7 – Have patience 🧘
If you watched The Morning Show first episode and saw when Reese Witherspoon character, Bradley Jackson, had a meltdown completely losing herself and screaming out loud “I am exhausted” to everybody around her, that was me at the start of the company. I thought of giving up thinking results were not coming fast enough. Thank god, I did not because results came in and to be fair did not take too long, one month to be more specific, to sign the first clients which taught me to be patient.
Lesson: be kind to yourself, do not lose faith and allow the market to get to know your business. As a start-up, you will not have a client immediately for so many reasons but allow time to see it through.
#8 - Prepare yourself to get a lot of rejections 🙅🏾♀️
I did not expect to receive so many no’s in my life! In the past role I had as Head of Events in an events management agency, my team conversion rate was high, and I thought the same would happen with my new business. That did not happen, and I needed to make peace with no’s received and learned to listen and improve to be able to get more YES.
Lesson: like an actor in auditions, you just need the right role to succeed but you must play the game and that means potentially receiving a lot of no’s. You cannot take it personally and be upset. The key is to keep fighting to find the right client (s) for your business and that will certainly come if you don’t give up.
#9 - Take care of yourself to be able to succeed 💆♀️
The first pre-launch and start months of the business, I was working non-stop even during the weekends. I noticed when I was allowed to enjoy weekends completely by switching off the laptop and social media, I felt more energised and motivated to work during the week. So, my rule now is to avoid as much as possible working during the weekends and have at least one day of the week completely off from laptop and mobile for work-related reasons. That helped me to be calmer and better kick off my work week.
Lesson: find time to relax. Switch off at least one day of the week and make something that makes you happy and keeps your brain and body relaxed.
#10 - It is possible to give back no matter the size of the business 🤝
Finally, as the first events agency specializing in virtual and hybrid events certified by Social Enterprise UK, I am happy to say it is possible to have a business and give back. My business is small but that did not mean I could not help other communities. You do not need to donate millions; any support is appreciated. The Virtual Events Experience for example creates events highlighting a cause and uses the audience’s time to promote them. We also donate 5% of the event profit immediately when a client books an experience which is not a lot but combined with our annual purpose by the end of our fiscal year to reinvest 51% of our profits towards promoting relevant causes and helping unemployed event managers to find a new source of income certainly helps to make difference.
Currently, we donated two courses to two unemployed event managers to help them improve their skills to get a new job in the new normal events industry plus we donated almost £1,000.00 to charities besides promoting via our social media and website six different causes which helped them to spread the cause awareness.
Lesson: give back. You can support other causes even if it is providing your knowledge to them, via volunteer or promoting them to others. Any little help can make the difference.
Lastly, keep tuned because we will have more news to share as our website upgrade with testimonials from our clients, new experiences, and more!
Founder & Director