By James Neal, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Learning how to market your business on a tight budget was the focus Thursday at the Enid Women Entrepreneurs Inspire winter networking luncheon at the Public Library of Enid and Garfield County.
The event, sponsored by Main Street Enid and the Oklahoma State University Riata Center for Entrepreneurship, featured a lunch and presentation by Main Street Enid director and Best Day Studio co-owner Kelly Tompkins.
Tompkins said “guerrilla marketing” techniques are important skills for all small business owners and entrepreneurs, because more marketing is moving to social media, and guerrilla marketing increases reach for small businesses with more modest marketing budgets.
“Most small businesses do not have large marketing budgets,” Tompkins said. “Guerrilla marketing is all about doing things efficiently, and getting things done with your time, instead of with your money.”
Tompkins presented Thursday’s attendees with tips on: creating a website on a budget; search engine optimization; how to create and optimize links to your business website, both through free and paid means; how to increase social media exposure.
Tompkins said new entrepreneurs need not be overwhelmed by guerrilla marketing and social media. She said valuable guerrilla marketing tips are available at gmarketing.com. The content of her presentation also is available at www.MainStreet Enid.org/marketing-tips.
Whether marketing through conventional means or “guerrilla” methods, Tompkins said businesses of all sizes need to pay attention to and continuously update their marketing strategy.
“Putting no effort into marketing can be a business’s downfall, so I want small business owners to know how important it is, and how much they can do with a limited budget or even with no budget,” she said.
Attendees at the networking lunch said the guerrilla marketing tips would be useful for their businesses.
Lisa Briscoe, owner of Tres Sucre Chocolatiere, said she learned of the WE Inspire program while attending the OSU Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs at Autry Technology Center.
Tres Sucre Chocolatiere was one of three women-owned businesses tapped to cater Thursday’s event. Brisco provided handmade chocolates, while Retha Wegmiller of Angel Delight Catering furnished lunch and Tammy Neal of Southard House Bed and Breakfast Inn provided dessert.
Briscoe said the networking events enable women entrepreneurs to learn from each other, and strengthen their respective businesses.
“It’s important for us to be able to learn from the women who have gone before us, and it’s nice to meet other women in business and learn about the products and services they have available here in Enid,” she said. “We can learn from each other how to handle different aspects of business, from social media to face-to-face work with clients.”
Riata Center for Entrepreneurship Director Nola Miyasaki said women entrepreneurs will have more opportunity to network and learn at the fourth annual WE Inspire Conference, scheduled for April 2 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.
Miyasaki said the one-day conference is unique to this region, and draws in women entrepreneurs from as far away as Arkansas and Georgia.
“It’s really about empowering women entrepreneurs, and providing them with the tools and role models they need to succeed in business,” Miyasaki said.
She said the conference gives women the opportunity to broaden their network, and would enable Enid women entrepreneurs the chance to connect with larger markets, including Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
“It really is a unique way for the women of Oklahoma to come together and learn from each other,” Miyasaki said.
The conference will feature keynote addresses, breakout sessions, vendor booths and a social-networking session.
Miyasaki said it is possible transportation could be arranged to and from the conference, if enough women entrepreneurs from Enid are interested in attending. Early registration fee for the conference is $45.
Miyasaki said anyone interested in arranging transportation should contact Stacey Brandhorst, Riata Center manager for programs and outreach, at (405) 744-7552 or email email@example.com.
More information on the conference is available online at entrepreneurship.ok state.edu/riata/weinspire/.
A spring quarterly WE Inspire networking event is planned for Enid, but has not yet been scheduled.