By EHM Editor Jade McKenzie
Today we chat with Suzanne Chadwick, the creator of the annual EPIC summits which are a one day experience for female entrepreneurs who want to develop their business strategy and plan for the year ahead. This years event, the EPIC Business Branding Summit, is focused on developing your business strategy and brand to create true impact in your market place with an impressive speaker lineup including Emma Isaacs Founder of Business Chicks. I have loved working with Suz on her EPIC events and it has been wonderful to see how her community and events have grown over the last couple of years, so I wanted to share the story behind the event with you for your own inspiration.
You describe The Connection Exchange values as being innovation, connection, collaboration and fun; how do these all tie in with the Epic Business Branding Summit 2016?
EPIC Business Branding Summit brings together subject matter experts into the one room for a full day of training, fun and connection. It's not just about inspiring women in business, it's really about empowering them by giving them the knowledge and skills to take what we talk about away with them and implement it into their own businesses. After last year's EPIC Summit there were a number of awesome business collaborations which was so exciting to see between women who had met on the day. It's not such a big event that you're not able to connect with other women on a more personal level and the great thing is that through out the day there are opportunities to chat, brainstorm and collaborate with those on your table. This summit is interactive (which I'm all about) and we always make sure that you get to meet and connect with as many women as you'd like to. The EPIC Women in Business Facebook group also lets you continue the conversation with those you meet after the event has finished.
How did the idea for this particular event come about?
The EPIC Summit concept was born in 2014 when there had been a number of conferences for women that had been very inspirational but not specifically educational. That's one of the key things that I focus on in The Connection Exchange - education. The reason we decided on EPIC Brand is that I believe that building your brand is key in the business landscape today. We live in such a visual market place where people talk about their experiences and openly like or dislike what businesses are doing. It's so important to understand where your business sits in the scheme of things, how you're perceived by your clients, how you can create more impact and stand out from the crowd.
EPIC Business Branding Summit this year is going to shed light on all of these topics for women in business. We have amazing speakers who will focus on how to position yourself and your business, collaborate with other brands for business growth, get creative in your business as well as work with creatives and ensure the sales experience you build delivers what you want it to. I think many business owners understand what business branding is but aren't really sure how to build their own brands in a way that feels right for them and with a clear goal or plan in place.
You have some amazing presenters for the event, what were you looking for when approaching each different key note speaker?
I'm very strategic when it comes to the speakers for my events. Firstly I need to love them! That may sound strange to some people but it's not just about the content that they share, I need to know that the way that they interact with my community is 'on brand' for me. When means that they need to be creative, fun, engaging and deliver amazing value to my audience. Nine times out of ten, I've worked with the speaker in some capacity and know the quality of their work and feel that they will provide outstanding content and lessons that can be implemented.
Our key note this year is Emma Issacs the CEO of Business Chicks, whose brand I have incredible admiration for. They have built a global brand which is targeted at women and I can't wait to hear more about that story. One of the things that I really try and do with our EPIC Summit events is to get the behind the scenes look. We had Lisa Messenger for our 2015 Summit and it was so much fun to ask her loads of questions about Collective Renegade as a business. I love Lisa's story but I wanted to know the nitty gritty of how she runs that business. We talked about the profit streams in her business, how she runs it, how she takes risks and how she has the confidence to play big. That's the stuff that I live for! I can't wait to talk to Emma about how she's taken Business Chicks to a global level. With my speakers and my key note, I'm looking for them to share the information that we don't get to see that often. I think we're in inspiration overload at the moment and many times that's what gets some of us stuck. It looks good, but what do I do with it? This Summit gives you the "how to" when it comes to doing these things for you and your business and I wouldn't have it any other way.
What are some of the topics you will discuss to encourage female entrepreneurs to develop the right business strategy from the start?
Very few people get it all right from the very beginning but there are some key actions you can take to ensure you're not far off what you're really wanting to create when it comes to building your business. I think a lot of women feel that a 'strategy' is hard work or difficult, but it's really just a well thought through road map to help you get where you want to go. At the summit we'll be talking about developing a business strategy for any business and how you can work through this yourself with some key tools.
Andrew MacKinnon who is the Managing Director of Taboo Creative Agency is going to we sharing how you can position your brand in the market in the right way. He's worked with some amazing brands like Redbull, Mimco, NAB and Nike just to name a few and I know his session is going to be fun and creative to really help women in business get their message across in the right way. Collaboration is also key these days but doing it in the right way to ensure your brand stays in tact is even more important and Jess Ruhfus the CEO of Collabosaurus is going to be sharing some of her key tips on how to get the most out of these opportunities. These are just some of the topics that we'll be covering but if you're looking to build your brand this year and position yourself for success then this is a summit that you won't want to miss.
How do you want women to feel when walking away from EPIC 2016?
I'm going to be honest, I'm a little obsessed with the whole event experience. I personally love being in beautiful surrounds, with awesome speakers, comprehensive workbooks and information to take away, yummy food and then an awesome cocktail event to finish of the day. Who wouldn't want to attend a day like that? So I make sure that the events I run are the type of events that I would love to attend. It's little things like round tables where you can have your laptop and notes and not a sandwich in sight! It's about an experience where you feel like you're spending the day working with other amazing women in business, learning, connecting, conversing and have fun.
I really want women to feel empowered to walk away and implement what they have learnt from the day. I also want them to walk away with more knowledge and skills than what they came to the day with and to feel that they have really invested in themselves and their own training and development as business owners. I know that it's an investment financially and time wise and I want the women who attend to feel like it was worth every cent and more. It's not just about the training, its about connecting with new friends and other women in business and feel like they are part of the eXchanger community which is supportive and caring.
How will you make EPIC 2016 an event different to the norm?
The more I speak to women in business across Australia the more I hear that they want help - actual help with their businesses. EPIC is about giving them that help in a practical and fun way. Not only is there the full day event which provides comprehensive training in an interactive and engaging environment as well as being in a beautiful venue, surrounded by other inspiring and action focused women in business but there is other support that comes out of the summit.
This year we'll holding an additional free meet up event for those who attended to reconnect and collaborate a few weeks after the event, there are also additional training bonuses that they will recieve. I'm super excited about adding this to the day and it means that we're not just training and then leaving people to work it out themselves. The Connection Exchange is all about looking at what's out there in the market, what women really need and want from the conversations we have with them and then delivering on that.
Just fabulous! You can book in your ticket for the 2016 EPIC Summit HERE.