I have a cautionary tale to share with all you entrepreneurs.  At the family dinner on Sunday night my sister-in-law told us all about the exclusive Salt Lake City arts event held last Saturday, which she was invited to by the event organizers.  The Salt Lake arts community recognizes exceptional artists across various categories every year and they bring those artists to this event to promote their work.  In the case of my sister-in-law, she and two friends make masquerade masks, jewelry, and artistic hair pieces to sell online and at local city festivals.  Up until now they have just thought of themselves as arts and crafts enthusiasts, but they didn’t realize that they had created a small business.

While it was an honor for my sister-in-law to be invited to this arts event, this is still a sad story because she and her friends failed to capitalize on a great opportunity to spread their brand awareness and increase their yearly sales.  When the patrons to the arts event (many of whom are well connected and love to purchase new jewelry and fashion accessories) asked the girls about their operations, all my sister-in-law could say was “we just do this at home in our spare time.”  There was nothing to indicate that the girls were placing their products into retail stores or moving the items well online.  There was no talk of expansion or developing new products.  They said nothing of seeking investment and developing brand awareness.  They didn’t even have a brochure or business cards indicating where the arts patrons could buy the products online.

In short, these girls were COMPLETELY unprepared for the moment and the opportunity that came to them on Saturday.

But bad examples are also learning experiences for us, and so I pass this story on to you and I encourage you to be prepared for such opportunities because they come at unexpected moments.

To be prepared you should:

  • Be able to describe your business, product, or service effectively in less than 1 minute
  • Be able to tell the story of your business and describe the current state of the business in less than 5 minutes
  • Have a clear vision for the future of your business including goals for immediate next-steps and long term goals of what you want to accomplish.
  • Have a marketing piece of information with you at all times – a brochure, handout, or flyer.  At least have a business card with a website address on it if all else fails.

May good fortune and opportunities come to you quickly!  And may you prepared for them when they come!