QuickBooks Connect 2019 in San Jose is just around the corner. Conferences like Quick Books Connect are fantastic opportunities to, well, connect with the powerful community that’s formed around and contributed to the industryEvents like this empower you with serious momentum in your practice if you meet the right people and take full advantage of educational offerings.  

With that in mind, we called on two QBC veterans to give us their best tips for how to maksure this event has a lasting impact on your business. We sat down with advisor to the ProAdvisors, Richard Roppa-Roberts of Quasar Cowboy Consulting and Kelly Gonsalves, ProAdvisor and founder oTotally Booked, for Episode 4 of our chats with unwebinar series 

This QuickBooks Connect conference will be Richard’s sixth and Kelly’s second. The pair knows a thing or two about working the conference floor and coming home with quality contacts and powerful knowledge to implement in their businesses.  

 

Pre-Conference Game Plan 

The theme of this year’s conference is “Own Your Future” and Kelly believes that Owning your future is more of a strategized way of going into your future, whether it’s planning ahead, learning something new, or getting a certification. Look at it as a way of taking back some control, getting ahead of the game, and doing something for yourself going forward.”  

With that in mind, both Kelly and Richard stress the importance of setting goals for the conference. There are so many sessions, talks, and opportunities to network at an event of this size. To get the most out of it, you have to know what you need out of it.  

“People going to this event, they’re planning for 2020. They might be planning to start niching, maybe they are going to be growing, maybe they’re going to scale back a little bit. All of those can be accomplished through the educational tracks at QuickBooks Connect,” says Richard. 

It’s easy to organize your schedule based on the tracks that the conference organizers have set out. To keep her sessions, Braindates, and parties lined up, Kelly swears by the QuickBooks Connect conference app. Richard suggests that you download every app you need during the conference. That includes your hotel’s booking app (in case you lose your key card) and the local e-scooter or ride share app.  

The more you can automate and offload to your devices before the event, the more brain space you’ll have to absorb the information you encounter. Kelly also recommends planning down to the minute, so you always know where you’ll be. Richard also notes that it’s important to schedule in down-time. His strategy is to head back to his hotel mid-afternoon to power nap and prep for the evening’s events.  

 

Networking During the Conference  

One of the most valuable ways to use any conference to boost your business is to network. While networking can be a bit of a dirty word, Kelly and Richard stress that it’s about making genuine connections 

Richard says, “I’ve made some of the best connections just by sitting down and having breakfast. One of the best connections I ever made was at QBC my first year. I’m still working with that person I met at the very first minute when I had breakfast.”  

Kelly notes that if you’ve set social goals, choose some people you’ve followed on social media and organize a meetup“Make sure you get up early and get to those meetups, or stay a little later. Set the goal of introducing yourself to other people!” 

The key to networking successfully when you’re on the shy side? A little strategy!  

Kelly and Richard’s play card for making connections is: 

 

    • Pretend you’re at a cocktail party. Walk up to someone you recognize, or even a stranger or two and introduce yourself.

 

    • Tell people your full name! Everyone is meeting a ton of people and it can be difficult to remember exactly which Julie you’ve been re-Tweeting.

 

    • Tell people where you are from. This is a great conversation starter, especially if you’re from a different country.

 

    • Ask others questions about themselves. Take the spotlight off of you and put it on your new acquaintance. People love to talk about themselves and a great way to quickly connect with someone is to show that you’re really (and genuinely) interested in them.

 

    • Push yourself. Everyone at the conference is there to have a great time and make connections. Don’t miss the opportunity to grow and challenge your limits. 

 

Taking it In Post-Conference  

While Kelly will have her team with her this year, they’ve all chosen to attend different sessions. Part of her post-conference strategy is to share knowledge with her team so they can implement what they’ve learned at a broader scale. During the conference, Kelly will even Slack her teammates about important insights and lessons she’s learned 

It’s also important to take your time implementing new ideas and changes inspired by the conference. “My first two conferences, I felt like ‘I’m doing this all wrong, I have to scrap everything. I need to change my business, my focus, my processes,” she remembers. Her advice: “Take it one thing at a time. If there’s something like an app you’ve now become interested in, do your due diligence and implement it slowly.” 

Be sure to follow us (and Richard and Kelly) on Twitter to keep up with our QuickBooks Connect convoy next week!  

 

chats with chata is an ongoing “unwebinar” series featuring financial professionals and business owners who are disrupting the status quo in the accounting or entrepreneurial landscape and adapting to a new era of data-centered growth strategy.  

 


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