Makers, Micros and Mentors gathered together on Wednesday, April 18 for a Valdosta-based development conference. Perfectly Priscilla, the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber, the Quitman-Brooks Chamber, and the UGA Small Business Development Center at VSU partnered in holding Valdosta’s first M3 Conference. Seasoned business professionals presented to a group of nearly 50 entrepreneurs travelling from areas ranging from Tifton and Moultrie to Jennings and stops in-between. Each presenter discussed not only the benefits of entrepreneurship, but their struggles and successes, too.
Held at Valdosta State University’s UC, an informal conference setting allowed entrepreneurs the freedom to ask questions and make the most of the opportunity to speak casually with presenting business owners and professionals regarding their topics.
Presenting sponsor for the 2018 M3 Conference, Deidra Thompson of Perfectly Priscilla Boutique, is not only an online fashion sales expert, but she’s no stranger to managing her social media! Perfectly Priscilla Boutique exploded into a million-dollar business in just three years through thoughtful use of social media, and now boasts more than 820,000 likes on her Facebook page alone. Thompson covered topics pertaining to major social networking sites, the importance of a website, and how to show up first in Google searches (a process called Search Engine Optimization).
Have you ever heard that you can’t ever go wrong with dogs and children? Well, 2018’s M3 Conference covered the “dog” part in-full! Shannon Jones of Southern Pawz, spoke about branding through quality packaging. Jones began doing some research on her dog Bella’s diet shortly after Bella’s seizure in 2014. Jones found that there was a more natural way to treat her beloved pets; thus began Southern Pawz! Jones stated that the dog treat industry is surprisingly competitive, and quality packaging is a major part of what distinguished her from her competition.
After twin-layoffs, third speaker Heather Abbott and her husband began SouthLife Supply Company. Abbott disclosed details of the growing pains SouthLife experienced and how the company has grown to overcome those growing pains, making them a known commodity in boutiques and stores across the southeast.
The afternoon session began with well-traveled photographer (and might we add, hilarious speaker) Javon Longieliere of Longieliere Photography. Seriously, if you haven’t heard this guy speak, it is truly a treat. Longieliere has a down-to-earth approach and realistic tips-and-tricks anyone can implement.
Having a business is nothing if people don’t remember your name. Steven Heddon of Fusion Creative Marketing presented a branding workshop by taking a psychological perspective when it comes to a company’s logo and creating a “brand promise” to capture your audience and determine what your product means to them, setting you apart from your competition.
With comments like “Real issues discussed by real people,” and “These speakers get it, they’ve been there,” the 2018 M3 Conference was a perfect fit for startups and veteran businesses alike. “After talking with many of the other attendees, I learned that we each walked away with so many ideas that we could go back and implement into our businesses immediately, and that is so valuable,” said Sally Sutton, SEO specialist and owner of Anchored Media Marketing.
The M3 Conference is here to stay and you’re invited to join in on the fun! Keep an eye out for the next conference in April 2019!