Business, Let's Talk Business

Live Blogging @ #LTB2015

By , July 8, 2015

A live blog of the highly anticipated Let's Talk Business Summit 2015.

After months of planning, the stage is set for the highly anticipated #LTB2015.

It’s bright and early here at the Rockleigh, but a steady flow of guests is streaming in. Guests might not have had their early a.m. coffees yet, but the energy is electric.

It’s a privilege to be blogging to you LIVE throughout the day.

If you couldn’t join us this year, you’ll wish you had. Tune in regularly for pictures of our VIP guest speakers and the latest scoop on what’s trending in business.

If you’re here at #LTB2015, I’ll be your eyes and ears. Don’t worry about heading off to a value-packed breakaway session or for a badly needed caffeine boost. Just hit “refresh” on the blog feed. I’ll bring you up to speed on what you’ve missed and where you should head next.

Ready to talk business? Follow us on Twitter (@LTBsummit), Facebook (LTB Business Summit) and Instagram (LTBsummit) to join the conversation! I want to hear what’s getting your business brain buzzing. Use the #LTB2015 hashtag to share your thoughts and lessons learned.

Festivities will kick off with Charlie Harary at 9:45 a.m., but guests are here early to squeeze in some casual networking over coffee and freshly baked nosh. 
snack
use me
For those of you on business trips or stuck at the office, let me paint you a picture.

With a reputation as the premiere Jewish business summit, #LTB2015 couldn’t be held at a more fitting venue than the luxurious Rockleigh in New Jersey. With its elegance and old charm, each room is somehow grander than the next.

The pictures simply don’t do this place justice.
venue
But it isn’t the stunning venue that attracted the 100s of guests expected to fill the rooms here today.

The best and the brightest Jewish business owners, marketing executives, CEOs, entrepreneurs and salespeople are taking a break from business as usual.

The reason is simple: To invest in professional development, growth and networking. Having checked out today’s schedule, I know there will be no shortage of opportunities!

If you’re here early, go ahead and register, grab a hot drink, and browse our sponsors’ exhibition booths. None of us would be here today without our sponsors, and we’d like to thank them all for celebrating business growth.

ptexbooth
Special thanks are due to our title sponsor, Roth & Co., Brooklyn’s largest full-service accounting firm, and our Launch Pad sponsor, Brooklyn Financial Group, a leader in financial planning solutions. We tip our hats to you!

New this year, take advantage of Roth & Co.’s Ask Me Anything Station. Senior advisors will be here all day to answer your most pressing business and finance questions. Swing by to book your ten minute consultation.

Roth & Co

I’m heading into the Grand Pavilion to hear none other than Charlie Harary kick off #LTB015 with some words of motivation.

A Columbia law grad, founder of H3 & Company, professor at YU’s Syms School of Business, and world renowned speaker, Charlie clearly has no concept of “spare time.”

charlie on stage

charlieltbsign
After that energetic start to the day, I can promise you two things:

#1. Strike up a conversation with Charlie and you’re bound to learn something interesting.

#2. With today’s line up of speakers, you’re in for a treat.

#LTB2015 is like chicken soup for the business lover’s soul.

The packed room is buzzing with anticipation for keynote speaker Michael Port to take the stage. Everybody with a business is hungry for marketing strategies, and Michael – dubbed the marketing guru by the Wall Street Journal – has come ready to dish them out.

michael port

Ever asked yourself what you can do to attract more customers?

Michael’s speech is laser focused on how to book yourself solid and get more clients than you can handle. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Leaving his days on the silver screen behind, Michael’s gone on to author 5 books, work with powerhouse clients like Reebok and Microsoft, and appear on virtually every television network, including MSNBC and PBS.

A hotly pursued business consultant and New York Times best-selling author, Michael’s clearly comfortable in front of a crowd….and it’s no wonder. He’s a former professional actor with a powerful presence.

Michael sheds light on the fact that marketing isn’t about getting clients; it’s about creating awareness.

With humour and boundless energy, he breaks down the self promotion strategies that we use to create that awareness. Some are mandatory, like networking, referrals and direct outreach. Others are optional, like web strategies, writing and speaking.

michael on stage
Michael on stage 2
He challenges us to ask a simple yet fundamental question: Do you know who your ideal client is?

Michael ventures to say 50% of us aren’t actually so sure.

Michael hits on the importance of working with clients that allow you to do your best work, understanding your target market’s needs, being crystal clear on the benefits of the results you provide, generating leads, and building trust and credibility.

If you’ve ever hit marketing hurdles – and who hasn’t – Michael’s lessons are definitely ones you’ll be putting in your back pocket, taking home and applying to your business.

For those Canadians tuning in, the Globe and Mail says “the world needs more Michael Port.”

After hearing him speak, I’d agree..and based on their engagement and applause, I’d venture to guess the audience would too.

Ah, before I forget – don’t forget to take advantage of the #LTB2015 photo booth just outside the Grand Pavilion. Snap a picture and share it with your colleagues back at the office. Remember to use the #LTB2015 hashtag.

Photo Booth
flatbush journal
I managed to snap a picture of Ptex Group CEO Meny Hoffman and Mordy Mehlman, Publisher of the Flatbush Jewish Journal.

Do you struggle to pick out what to eat at your favorite restaurant? I have to choose where to head next, and both choices are whetting my appetite.

I could head over to the Executive Panel and hear 4 success stories from ordinary people who created extraordinary companies.

Or, I could head over to hear former Google Executive and Founder of showd.me –  Avi Singer – speak about the power of productivity and the art of prioritizing.

Decisions, decisions, decisions – oy, the pressure!
Executive Panel
I think I’ll stay put for the Executive Panel.

Wondering which execs have joined us?

It looks like we’ll be hearing words of inspiration and advice from President of Eastern Union, Ira Zlotowitz, President of Tech-Keys IT Consulting, Michael Fried, President of Svelte Brands, LLC, Max Hauer, Audit Director at Deloitte & Touche, LLP, Yosef R. Levine, and Founder of SimkowitzCo, David Simkowitz.
executive panelB
Suffice it to say that these gentlemen are an innovative, successful bunch.

Take Max Hauer. An entrepreneur and e-commerce pro with 20 years business experience under his belt, he’s been instrumental in building a line-up of well known brands.

Or Ira Zlotowitz – he built Eastern Union into a respected national firm that’s closed over $3 billion in deals during 2014.

What’s more impressive – the fact that he was spotlighted in Crain’s New York Business’s “Forty-Under-40” annual feature, or the fact that Eastern Union is listed in the publication’s “Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies in New York City”? It’s a tough call.

What is it about these executives that helped them make it big in the business world? And what lessons can be gleaned from their stories? Come by the Grand Pavilion to find out.

A key theme: As a service provider, whether you’re establishing a new business or growing a business, building trust is imperative.

The panel is also sharing personal stories and proven strategies on how to cut costs, establish competitive pricing, maintain product quality, build a scalable business, and differentiate your brand in the marketplace.

The last lesson you can take away from the panel: “Understand your target market, know the value of your product or service, and don’t try to be something you’re not.” Sound simple? Go ahead and reflect on how it applies to your business.

panel 3

With the breakaway sessions coming to a close, everyone is piling back into the Grand Pavilion for a 15 minute power talk by Smart Hustle Magazine publisher and Small Business Success Evangelist for Infusionsoft, Ramon Ray.

Ramon Ray
Anyone who can pack a punch and deliver valuable content in 15 minutes flat has my vote.

Ramon’s got a passion for helping small business owners use the latest technology solutions to grow their businesses.

No newsflash necessary: We live in a digital economy. Ramon breaks down the 12 things that each and every business professional needs to be aware of to thrive in this economy.

In literally 900 seconds, Ramon tells us that word of mouth alone doesn’t work as a marketing strategy. Relying only on word of mouth is like leaving money on the table.

Sales as usual also isn’t enough – we need to change our tactics to see results.

Ramon points out that there’s a growing barrier between businesses who leverage tech and those who don’t. Customers expect the convenience, speed and efficiency that technology provides.

With seconds left on the clock, Ramon brings it home with one message: Strategies change, but your core values and principles never should.Ramon Ray on stage
After taking an ultra-quick breather, the audience sits back to hear from #LTB2015’s second and equally sought after keynote speaker, John Jantsch.

#LTB2015 is known for featuring speakers with a long list of impressive accolades, and John is no exception. Hailed as the “World’s Most Practical Small Business Expert”, John has infused his marketing expertise into best-selling books that every business owner should have on their shelf. With a Forbes favourite blog and a top ten marketing show on iTunes, I can’t wait to see how his presentation measures up!
john on stage
It sounds like we’re going to learn how to create the perfect marketing strategy for your business.

John’s message is clear: Marketing is a system. In fact, it’s one of the most critical systems in any business.

What’s the fastest way to grow a profitable business, according to John?

Create a marketing strategy that sets you apart from your competitors.

Without a killer marketing strategy, you’ll be left to compete on price (every business owner’s nightmare).

A lot of us get bogged down with tactics, but John makes it crystal clear: We’ve got to focus on strategy before tactics to make the effort worth our while.

You may be thinking: That’s all fine and good, but what makes a winning strategy?

Well, that depends on what matters to your clients. John challenges you to make it your mission to define your ideal client.

Luckily, if you’re here at #LTB2015, you’ll learn exactly HOW to do that.

use now
John’s presentation comes to a close, and we’re all ready for food glorious food.

There’s row upon row of sushi, folks. Need I say more?
sushi
Sure, attendees are picking and choosing their favorite food fare at the gourmet buffet, but it looks like there’s a lot more than refueling going on.

When I stop to listen in to conversations, it’s clear that many guests are taking full advantage of lunch as a networking opportunity.

And that’s no surprise, really.

One of the main draws of #LTB2015 is the invaluable and often incredibly lucrative connections that can be made via schmoozing with other like-minded business owners and entrepreneurs.

With delightfully full bellies, everyone heads back to the Grand Pavilion to talk trash with a millionaire.

Wait, let me explain!

We’ll actually be hearing from “Junk King” and serial entrepreneur, Brian Scudamore. Brian also happens to be the CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK. A college dropout, Brian has shown that you don’t always need a formal education to make millions.brian
Evidently, with a small truck and a big dream, a business can be born, even at the young age of 18.

To date, Brian’s entrepreneurial success has been featured in Fortune Magazine, New York Times, Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal, not to mention on CNN, the View and the Today Show.

And it’s no wonder. With over 1000 trucks throughout 180 locations in Canada, the US and Australia, Brian’s business is worth billions.

Reaching that level of success isn’t easy. Brian has experienced his share of ups and downs on the road to success — and he’s here today to speak frankly about them.

Some of the early bumps? Brian grew up with a single mom, moved around a lot, went to 14 different schools, and struggled with ADD.

One of his key messages is that mistakes are par for the course. He’s made his fair share.

But you’ve got to be tenacious. Get back up and hit the pavement, make phone calls, go door to door, and do everything in your power to make your business profitable.
brian
Sitting down to an interview with emcee Charlie Harary, Brian explains why his informal, on-the-job education taught him more than school ever could. By making mistakes and learning from them, he’s developed a reputation for making the ordinary extraordinary.

A few lessons to be learned from Brian:

*Mistakes are part of the process
*Hire on attitude
*Be good to your staff
*Develop your leadership skills
*Take personal responsibility for the changes you make
*Build your business like a franchise – even if you don’t plan to franchise!
*Focus on profitability and customer service
*”Overnight success stories” actually take time
*Go dark! Learn to separate business and family time!
brian and friends
Brian’s story shows us that with determination, drive and a dream, you can take a vision and make it a reality.

If you think about it, we’re sitting here today because of one man’s vision – to bring Jewish business owners and entrepreneurs together to learn, grow and achieve.

That man is our very own Meny Hoffman, Founder and CEO of the Ptex Group.
meny and charlie
Thrilled to be standing at the 3rd annual LTB Summit, Meny expresses his gratitude to everyone who chose to invest in their growth by attending #LTB2015.

He thanks all the sponsors – including Roth & Co. and Brooklyn Financial Group – whose generosity make today’s event possible.

Last but not least, he recognizes the hard work of his team at Ptex. Without a team, a dream of this magnitude would not have taken flight.
meny on stage
It’s unbelievable how fast the day is racing by.

It’s already 3:30 p.m. And I find myself back at the business buffet.

It’s time to choose between two more interesting speakers: Mark Horowitz, Managing Director at J.P. Morgan and Adjunct Professor at NYU, or Ezra Firestone, Amazon E-Commerce Expert and Founder of Smartmarketer.

If only I could clone myself…or teleport…or both!

I’ve decided to stick around and hear what Ezra has to say about selling, profiting and standing out in the world of e-commerce.

Many of today’s guests are no stranger to selling on Amazon. Ezra taps into what steps you can take to scale your own e-commerce business and boost your Amazon sales.

By 2014, 8% of all transactions in the US are happening online. It’s expected to double in the next 3 years, so don’t fret – you haven’t missed the boat.

Ezra explains how critical it is to have multiple sales channels. Depending on one channel alone is risky. The lesson? Diversify, diversify, diversify. Explore Google, Amazon and social media platforms like Facebook and Pinterest.

But it’s not enough to just put your products up on Amazon. You need to generate visibility with targeted marketing and a strategic sales funnel.

Ezra draws on years of experience to show us how to sell more effectively on Amazon.
ezra on stage 2

Learn to standout with quality images, attention grabbing headlines, important keywords and product descriptions with basic HTML. And don’t just throw up your listings – analyze and revise until you hit a sweet spot.

If you want to boost your Amazon sales, it may be time to drive outside traffic from sources like Pinterest, Google, and Facebook.

Ezra gives us the rundown on Facebook ads, squeeze pages, offer pages and auto responder emails.

After an informative presentation, the crowd heads back downstairs to check out the dessert bar. As a blogger, it’s my journalistic responsibility to join them! Chocolate sundae – I don’t mind if I do.
icecream bar
After a day of learning from some of the best in the business world, we’re all ready to sit back, relax and enjoy the show we’ve all been waiting for.

If there’s any doubt, I’m talking about The Launch Pad.

This year, noted professor, radio host and lecturer Sean Wise, will be our esteemed host.

Here’s a word from the “Wise” to t0day’s presenters hoping to land a deal: Lead with a captivating elevator pitch! Identify a problem and show how your product or service solves that problem.
Sean and Michael
sean wise interview
To keep things interesting, the stakes are high — a $1 million dollars high.

The question everybody’s asking: Who will walk away with an investment?

It’s anybody’s to take — all it takes is a brilliant idea and an ultra-compelling pitch.

Entrepreneurs in need of capital will take to the stage to present their pitches to our cast of deep-pocketed investors. If those investors bite, a dream can become a reality in just minutes. It can just as easily slip away.
launch pad
Who are this year’s investors?

*AJ Ginsberg, CPA: CEO of Mega Funding, LLC
*Akiva J. Kurland, CPA: Founder of Yellow Jacket Ventures, LLC
*George Weinberger: Founder of Anthiem Ventures
*Neil Rock: Founder & Managing Partner of Catalyst Funding
investors
Let’s just say that this is THE group you want to get in front of if you need a capital boost and have a brilliant business idea.

Without further adieu, the lights are dimmed and Professor Sean Wise takes the stage.

Who’s hoping to strike a deal this year?

Charles Wolofsky of Maxxwire is first to take the stage. Maxxwire is a financial technology company that’s developing a technological solution to streamline the clearing and settlement process of securities and other financial products.

The ask? $750,000 for 15% of the company, giving Maxxwire a $5 million dollar valuation.

What’s the verdict?

Unfortunately not – the evaluation was a little rich for the investors’ tastes.

Next up is Aaron Franco of Franco Intimates, a company that sells sleepwear and intimate apparel to the junior mass market and e-commerce sites.

The ask? $500,000 for 25% equity to help build out and license a new brand.

Will the investors bite?

A.J. offers $250,000 plus a $250,000 line of credit for 50%. Akiva offers a $500,000 loan, pending further due diligence.

Aaron and Akiva shake on the first deal of #LTB2015!

Third in line, Yehuda Kirsh of PARQ takes the stage. PARQ is a unique mobile app aimed at simplifying parking rules and automatically setting reminders. Those in the audience hoping to never get another parking ticket are listening attentively.

The ask? $300,000 for a 20% stake in the company, which will be used for development, marketing and operating costs.

Despite a strong pitch, the investors weren’t snatching the opportunity today.

Last but not least, Jonah Fine and Ronny Kraft of DIGIU 360°, a multi-platform, cloud-based, SaaS application that integrates a new in-class Digital Learning Environment (DLE) for teachers, students and parents.
the pitch
The ask? $400,000 for $30% equity.

Will these final presenters impress?

Neil’s interested, but won’t be making a concrete deal until he can find a partner.

With a jam-packed day of learning at #LTB2015 behind us, it’s finally time to kick back and relax at The AfterFest Event. Have you heard about it? It promises to be the perfect blend of networking, fine wine and good old-fashioned schmoozing.

Here’s how it works: Choose from 6 different tags labeled with different hot business topics. What resonates with you? Once you’ve picked the topic that interests you most, enjoy a glass of wine while searching out others wearing the same tag.

With wine in hand, there’s only one thing left to do: TALK BUSINESS.

Thanks for tuning in today. The day is finally winding down to a close, and I’m ready to head home, but I’ve got to admit —

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for #LTB2016!

 

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Rachel Segal

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