I’m just back from the Intuit Global QBConnect Conference in San Jose, California. It’s a whirlwind 3 days of motivating speakers, sessions to help me take both my bookkeeping practices and our clients to the next level, and hanging out with my tribe, who just “get” me. It’s probably my favorite conference of the year and I always leave with my head spinning with all of the things I need to implement in my business.
But where do I start?
I typically return from this conference and write a blog post about my experience. But since it’s my 6th QB Connect Conference, I didn’t want the post to sound likes ones I’ve written every year prior. So the question kept coming into my head – Where do I start? What do I talk about? What learnings do I share? How can I convey the message that this conference fundamentally alters my business EVERY single time?
Then I realized that THAT was the topic I needed to share. WHERE DO I START? Because many people are like me – inspired, motivated, and come back with all of these great ideas, or new automation and tech that they want to implement in their practices, but where do they start? So I’m going to share with you my secret. It took me a while to get here. It was probably 3 or maybe 4 conferences in, but I find it works really well. So here goes…..
Step 1- Find a quiet place for yourself.
I know that’s hard to do most days. Especially after having been out of the office for 4 or 5 days, and your team, clients or emails are all vying for your attention. But it’s imperative that you set yourself up in a quiet place with no distractions. I’m typically in my family room, fireplace going, some instrumental music in the background (I find I get distracted by lyrics as I tend to sing along in my head) and a big cup of chai tea on the table next to me. That’s my setup. But choose whatever atmosphere works best for you.
Step 2 – Get a pad of paper, some pens of different colors and a highlighter.
You may be a paperless person, and most of the time I am, but in this scenario, paper & pens are my go-to. Don’t you love that Step 2 is so short!
Step 3 – Gather your notes.
You’ve likely made some notes at the conference. Whether from sessions you attended or scribbled on the back of business cards you grabbed from other people or off the App Tradeshow floor. Any notes about things you wanted to do, or try, or make sure you didn’t forget, bring them all. In this scenario, I am paperless, as I take all of my conference notes on my iPad with Notability, so that’s what I’ve got in front of me.
Step 4 – Make your Master List headings.
You likely went to the conference with a game plan (hopefully you did). Some major topics that you wanted to make sure you learned about at the conference or a particular problem you wanted to solve. For example, maybe you are having team challenges and attended sessions on hiring, motivating or leading your team. Or marketing was your theme – website, facebook, networking. Even if you didn’t go with an end goal – you’ll find that some similar themes will emerge from the sessions you attended or from the notes you’ve gathered. Write the theme across the header of a new page. (I use different colored pens for each theme – but that’s because everything in my life tends to be color-coded 🙂 )
For example, I’d have one page for Team, one for Niche, one for Marketing, one for Tech, one for Growth. Try and keep the themes broad and general. You want to end up with no more than 4. If you find there’s more than 4 – create a page called “other” that captures anything outside those 4 main ones.
Step 5 – Organize your Breakthroughs.
This is always the most fun and most interesting part for me. Go through the notes of your sessions and any ideas upon which you wanted to take action, write them down in the appropriate master list. So if Team was one of your master lists and you had attended my “8 Essential Steps to To Train Your Cloud Bookkeeper” session, perhaps implementing a Quantity Success meeting is one of the things that you thought might be interesting to try. On your own “Team” Master list, you would write “Implement Quantity Success Meetings”.
This exercise will take the longest but is also the most valuable. When we’re at conferences and attending sessions, everything is exciting and important. As you are reviewing your notes now, you’ll learn which topics are really important to you. Because as you read your notes, you’ll remember the session and what inspired you for change. It’s also a great way to reinforce what you heard and saw. When you’re done you should end up with some ideas/thoughts on each of your 4 Master lists and maybe some on the “Other” list, which didn’t fit anywhere else
Step 6 – Choose two.
Yup, only two. Not three, not five, and definitely not 10.. Read these Master lists that you’ve jut created and choose 2 items that you are going to start AND finish within the next 90 Days. Look for things that will propel you the furthest in your business, or leverage your time the most so that you’ll have time to choose the “next” two, once you’ve blown through these ones. Perhaps you attended the session with Heather Satterley and on your “Tech” Master list you wrote “Automate your Onboarding”. Implementing this will not only move your business forward but leverage your time and give you more free time to implement other things or more importantly, let you take some much-needed vacation time. Look for the 2 things that will have the biggest impact on you and your business.
Step 7 – Just do it.
Borrowing the famous tagline of Nike – just go out now and do it. By narrowing it down to just 2 items, the likelihood that you achieve them is pretty high. It will also mean that you get a quantification and measurable ROI from the time and money you’ve invested in attending the conference)
And that’s it! Not only do you have some ACTIONABLE items coming out of the conference, but you’ve also identified some targets/goals you may want to save for your next quarter.
Once you’ve identified your two things, drop me a line in the comments below as to what they are and I’d also love to hear how 90 days from now you’ve knocked them out of the park.
If you’re attending QB Connect in Toronto in December, creating your Master list headers before you go to the conference will also help you choose the sessions to attend that will provide you and your business with the most value.
Happy Post Conferencing!
This blog is for you and we hope you will enjoy the content.
Please let us know if there are any specific topics you would like us to address in the future.