****Welcome to the #LTB2014 live blog! I’ll be blogging live all day — posting pictures & sharing all the insider scoop — so tune in regularly! If you’re at the event, I’ll be your eyes and ears, just in case you miss something memorable while you’re grabbing a delicious snack from the all-day buffet or attending a brilliant breakaway session. And if you couldn’t make it out this year, I’m sure my live reports will keep you entertained … albeit wishing you were here too.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@LTBsummit) , Facebook (LTB Business Summit) and Instagram (LTBsummit) to join in the conversation!!! Go on and use the #LTB2014. Get creative – I dare you!
Ready? Set? Let’s talk business.
I’ve got to admit, I feel the adrenaline.
After weeks of blogging about #LTB2014, the big day is finally here.
Bigger, better and bolder than last year, #LTB2014 is the premiere Jewish business summit…and for good reason.
With hundreds in attendance, you might wonder who actually took the day off and drove out to luxurious The Rockleigh in New Jersey.
Business owners? Check.
All in all, business people across the Jewish world – from successful CEOs and budding entrepreneurs to hardworking salespeople and marketing executives – have joined us today to network, grow and learn from the best.
As I walk around the venue, I’ve got to say: I’m impressed.
The pictures I’ve been posting don’t seem to do this venue justice. Pristine manicured lawns, elegant white pillars, dazzling interiors…it’s nothing short of gorgeous!
My verdict? Definitely worth the schlep.
Do you agree?
If you’re here bright and early, you’ll have time register with lots of time to check out our sponsors’ exhibition booths.
Oh, and if you skipped breakfast this a.m., don’t freak out. There’s coffee and pastries galore (lucky for me, because I definitely have a sweet tooth and can’t start my day without a minimum of two cups of something strongly caffeinated).
I just happened to come across Waldo Waldman, Gerry O’Brion and Alex Chester, three of the speakers we’re thrilled to have with us today at the beautiful Rockleigh in New Jersey.
The air here is really buzzing with anticipation. With so many bright business minds in one place, there is so much opportunity just waiting to be tapped. Ready to take full advantage?
Official #LTB2014 emcee Charlie Harary, Ptex Group CEO & founder of the LTB Summit Meny Hoffman and Shlomo Weissman of Fidelity Payment services take a minute to smile for the camera before heading into the Grand Pavilion.
Oh, and just in case you missed it, be sure to pick up your #LTB2014 grab bag. Take notes throughout the day with your striking new #LTB2014 notepad and read the magazine – cover to cover – when you get home tonight.
As the attendees continue to file in, grab hot coffees, check out the exhibitor booths and, of course, NETWORK, I sneak into the keynote speaker’s suite and find Gery O’Brion – deep in thought – doing a little last minute prep.
Waldo Waldman, on the other hand, is already in the Grand Pavilion revving up for his speech. He’s a real powerhouse.
Now that everyone has arrived, seen the luxurious Rockleigh venue (stunning chandeliers and all!) and had a badly needed cup of coffee and pastry, the crowd is taking their seats in preparation for Charlie Harary’s opening remarks in the Grand Pavilion. (FYI, it is indeed truly grand!)
Of course, the inimitable Charlie Harary is now up at the mic before a packed crowd. Part comedian, part motivational speaker, part wise-man, he sure knows how to get a crowd going. He just thanked Ptex Group for putting together #LTB2014 and is raving about the speakers that he’s personally eager to hear LIVE.
First up is Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldma (aka. the Wingman), retired combat pilot and author of best-seller “Never Fly Solo.”
He takes the audience on a journey, inviting you to put yourself in the shoes of a pilot leading a team of wingmen on a mission. His message? He could never win nevermind survive without his team.
“Who are your wingmen?” he asks the business owners and entrepreneurs in the audience.
He reminds the crowd that they’re probably here today because they have reliable, hardworking teams back in the office keeping the ship afloat.
One key word in Waldo’s speech that keeps repeating itself? Commitment.
Commitment to serving your customers.
Commitment to supporting your staff.
Commitment to staying the course and pursuing your dreams, even when it’s tough and the obstacles seem insurmountable.
Despite the power of his message, Waldo is actually quite the funny man. He makes it clear to the audience that he’s part of the “mishpacha” and that, much to his parents’ dismay, he pursued his dream – a career in the Air Force – rather than law or medicine.
Somehow, he convinces a room of professional businessmen to get on their feet and shout out his battle cry, “Push it Up!” (on more than one occasion!)
He talks about the importance of having plan Bs. Don’t wait until business problems arise to think about how on earth you’re going to solve them. No, gather together with your wingmen in advance and plan, plan, plan.
That way, when issues inevitably arise, not only will you be ready for them, but you’ll have the full support of your wingmen behind you.
Here’s a line to remember: “The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in battle.”
It couldn’t be more true, and it’s a lesson you can take home to YOUR business.
After a short networking break, we’re back in action with time management master Dave Crenshaw. Self-proclaimed “off the charts ADD,” Dave learned to overcome his time management obstacles to waste less time and get more accomplished.
Multitasking 101: When you multitask, the amount you accomplish decreases as does the quality of your work.
So…don’t do it! But staying focused is easier said than done.
A great takeaway from Dave’s speech: “Whenever you see smart people making dumb mistakes, that is almost always a symptom of multitasking.”
Audience members seem to be soaking up his strategies, furiously scribbling away in their #LTB2014 notebooks. If we all walk away half as focused as Dave, then #LTB2014 will have been a success.
After his breakaway session, Dave sticks around to speak with business owners and professionals about how to manage their time better. Why does he make the time? Simply – because he cares.
Meanwhile, upstairs the room is packed at the Infusionsoft breakaway session. Right now, I’m wishing I could be in MANY places at once. Maybe one of The Launch Pad presenters has invented a time machine?
In the hallways and between sessions, by the coffee bar and around the exhibitor booths, people are making new friends that may just become long-time business associates.
This year, every attendee has been given a “Passport” in their grab bag. Get your #LTB2014 passport stamped at every exhibitor booth and you’ll be entered into a raffle to win a slew of killer prizes.
Some of the biggest players in the Jewish business world are here at The Rockleigh, including Chesky Kauftheil, co-founder of #LTB2014, CEO of International Commerce Exchange Systems, Founder of H3 & Co….his list of accomplishments could go on and on.
I also spotted Shea Rubenstein – host of The Launch Pad – with the Ptex Group’s very own Naftuly Weill.
Ok, after grabbing a crumbly biscotti, I’m back to blogging in the Grand Pavilion, listening to Gerry O’Brion, marketing maven extraordinaire.
Formerly, Gerry worked as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble; oversaw branding at Coors Brewing Company and was VP of Marketing for the $1.5 billion Quiznos restaurant chain. Today, he spends his time teaching business owners with limited budgets to capitalize on the marketing strategies of mega-brands.
Gerry dives right in and shares the one action step that will help your company succeed over time :: drum roll please :: …
“Find a way to be different from the competition in a way that your customers value.”
Go ahead and write that one down.
He explains the importance of answering the question, “Who exactly is your target market, and what do they value?”
He advises – wisely – that you take the guess work out of the equation. How can you find out what your target customers or clients value?
Gerry also reveals the power of “because” when it comes to creating powerful advertising.
Do you sell pizza? Don’t just say you have better pizza. Tell consumers WHY. “We’ve got better pizza BECAUSE we’ve got better ingredients.”
You’re probably already doing great things in your business that can serve as your “because.”
Feel free to download Gerry’s presentation at kiwilive.com.
As much as I’ve enjoyed Gerry O’Brion’s keynote speech, I must say, I’m excited about the gourmet lunch that awaits us… There’s nothing like a pasta bar to lift my spirits.
(I won’t give you a play by play on lunch – sometimes a picture is worth a 1000 words. But if I had to choose one sound effect? Mmmm).
Happening as I speak: The Executive Roundtable.
Moderated By Charlie Harary, corporate executives like Chesky Kauftheil and CEO of Lubicom Menachem Lubinsky are sharing challenges that they’ve encountered and strategies they’ve used to achieve lasting success.
When asked for the key ingredients in companies that thrive rather than merely survive, Menachem Lubinsky’s answer is simple but meaningful: Strategic planning.
“Very few of us plan for success, but we should. And part of planning for success is having a contingency plan. Companies that thrive ask, “What happens if..?” “How will I keep the company fresh?” “What can I do in a year from now to expand?””
When questioned about the usefulness of transitioning to online marketing, Chesky Kauftheil, Founder of Gourmet Glatt Emporium, willingly steps up to the plate. He speaks about the difficulty of using the internet to promote experiential services like grocery shopping.
“People like to see things and pick them up while they shop … While we continues to invest in internet marketing, I’m a lot more interested in the in-person customer experience. “
One after another, these mega-successful CEOs open about tribulations they’ve overcome in their own businesses over the decades.
Riverside Abstract CEO Shaul Greenwald sheds light on how you can’t grow your business until you expand your team and learn to unload responsibilities off your shoulders. You can’t run an empire alone.
A few memorable quotes from our executives that seem to resonate with the audience:
“Failure is part of success. If you continue to get back on the bike, you will ultimately succeed.”
“Those who don’t take risks work for those who do.”
“If you believe you can do it on your own, take the risk. But don’t take the risk alone.”
The last question asked at the Executive Roundtable: What one line of advice would you give over to an aspiring business owner?
“Don’t leave #LTB2014 empty handed. Take something away from each session.”
“Give back. Don’t just write a check, but get involved.”
“What you accomplish will depend on your enthusiasm in the cause.”
Okay, I’ve pretty much soaked up enough inspiring and thoughtful ideas to last me all year. And yet, the show must go on….
Up next is Hal Becker. This guy is a expert you don’t want a miss if you’re eager to boost your sales … and let’s be honest. Who isn’t?
He challenges the audience to read, read and read some more about sales. Don’t call yourself a professional salesperson if you don’t constantly work on honing your craft.
Hal explains some key reasons why salespeople fail:
1. You don’t love what you do: If you want to be a superstar salesman, you need to love what you do. That passion can do wonders.
2. You talk too much.: When it comes to sales, sometimes less is more. Rather than talking at someone, ask questions. It will help keep them engaged.
3. You don’t come unprepared. Make sure you bring your notes with you. Don’t sell “on the fly” — come prepared with talking points.
4. You don’t talk to the right decision-maker. Always (always!) start at the top and work your way down, not the other way around.
While Hal gives struggling salesmen hope for a brighter – more profitable – tomorrow, e-commerce expert Michael Lebor shares proven e-commerce and SEO strategies in a breakaway session upstairs.
After hours of star quality speakers and a decadent meal, guests sit down with anticipation to hear none other than Meny Hoffman — Ptex Group CEO and Founder of #LTB2014.
He thanks Fidelity – the #LTB2014 title sponsor, BFG – The Launch Pad sponsor, and all the gold and silver sponsors who have made #LTB2014 possible.
And of course, Meny gives tribute to the Ptex Group team who proudly stand behind him and have put in the hours necessary to make the LTB Summit a success in its second year.
After hearing Meny speak, everyone sneaks away for a sweet ice cream treat. This ice cream bar is fancy schmancy. Gotta love gourmet!
We have finally arrived at the MUCH anticipated event – The Launch Pad – hosted by the ever-charismatic Shea Rubenstein. Everyone is wondering, Will anyone walk away with a $1 million investment?
What will happen? Who will rise to the challenge? It’s really anybody’s race.
This is the time of the day that dreams can literally come true in the matter of minutes. Businesses badly in need of capital have the opportunity to present their pitches before a live audience and a panel of deep-pocketed investors.
This year’s investors?
AJ Ginsberg – CEO, Mega Funding, LLC
George Weinberger – Founder, Anthiem Ventures
Kevin Frija – President & CEO, Vapor Corp.
Mark H. Elenowitz – CEO & Founder, Banq.
Neil Rock – Founder, Firerock Capital Partners
We brought in big names for a bigger, better, bolder The Launch Pad event.
The first investor is the founder of a start-up called “Urbful.” It’s an “urban marketplace” that allows sellers to provide consumers with immediate gratification through its 6 hour or less, same-day delivery service.
The ask? 30% equity in exchange for $500k.
What’s the cash for? Website development and for online marketplace software integration.
The offer: 300k for 50% with the stipulation that it drop down to 40% if the founder reaches 50% of his initial projection.
The verdict? Deal! The crowd roars.
The second pitch is presented by StatGear. The company built a survival tool kit company. Their $40 rescue tool was featured in Men’s Health magazine.
The ask? 20% equity for 250k.
The offer: $250k for 40% equity.
The verdict? Sorry friends, no deal this time.
The third presenter has invented a machine that braids ….. challah!!!!! (The audience, naturally, is instantly impressed and intrigued.)
The ask? 20% equity for 250k.
The offer: Unfortunately nobody bit the braided bait (yet!), because of the perceived small target market. That said, Neil wants to be “in touch.” Stay tuned for updates.
The next presenter? A serial entrepreneur and founder of KoSCH Brands, which makes innovative new products like iPad frames.
The ask? 20% equity for 250k.
The offer: 40% equity for 250k.
The verdict: B”H, at the last moment, the deal is done!
Last but not least is … Gulliver’s Gate, a whole new “edutainment” miniature world, to be built right here in mid-town Manhattan.
The ask? $1 million dollars for approx. 3% equity.
The offer: Mark’s “intrigued,” we’ll see what happens on this one…
That’s a wrap, folks.
It’s been a pleasure blogging for you.
See you next year at #LTB2015!!!