By Babette Ten Haken, One Millimeter Mindset™, NSA-MI Member-at-Large

What is your overall business strategy as a Speaker? Without a solid business strategy, the speaking business can run us–instead of vice versa.

Some of us are Candidates, seeking to qualify as Professional Speakers. Others of us have attained Professional status, yet each year brings uncertainty and a roller-coaster ride of cash flow and number of booked engagements. Still another segment of us work for training organizations. Yet, we yearn to gain economic independence as professional speakers and liberate ourselves from the rigors of the training-for-hire subcontractor model. Finally, many of us have turned our love of delivering the spoken word into a sustainable business, with clientele who equally love to hire and retain us, year after year.

Regardless of longevity in the speaking business, developing a solid strategy is critical to growing, expanding, and sustaining business. What is your strategy?

Strategy involves three critical aspects: Product and Services (Marketing/Sales), Processes (Administration), and Finance (Cash Flow, Profit and Loss). This business strategy must fit into our business model. For many speakers, that business model is one of solopreneur or entrepreneur: the Seller-Doer model.

Sometimes, there are not enough hours in a day to identify, prioritize, and pursue every viable marketing and sales opportunity. Other days, we discover that the absence of administrative processes causes us to miss deadlines to apply to speak. Then, Eureka!, we are euphoric after receiving a signed contract and a lovely deposit check to fuel our immediate overhead.

In the classic Seller-Doer model, the key question becomes, once we land that engagement, then what happens? Everything usually comes to a standstill. We stop “doing” everything else while we start “doing” all the preparation to deliver the keynote or workshop.  We cease selling, marketing, administrating, and financing. Because we have to “do”: create, refresh/customize content; practice, practice, practice; buy new clothes for the engagement 😉; book travel and living; deal with A/V; you know the drill. 

Developing a solid speaking business strategy, while we continuously improve as speakers, keeps our fingers on the pulse of all aspects of our business at all times. Even when we are on the road, speaking. First and foremost, our strategy defines the mission-critical people, processes, and partnerships required to GROW our business and get us to where we need to go.

Along the way, we uncover gaps in quantity and quality of resources required to scale and EXPAND our businesses to include multiple income streams and a minimum and maximum capacity of speaking engagements. Finally, we have that epiphany where we understand that we are in the business of speaking. We are the CEOs of our own continuously improving, prioritized, and SUSTAINABLE speaking businesses. We run our own businesses; our businesses do not run us.

What is your business strategy, as a Speaker of Worth?  Consider the value of developing a solid strategy to “have your back” as you innovatively, flawlessly, seamlessly, and confidently deliver your valuable signature message to the world.

Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset® Storytelling Speaking Programs leverage storytelling for STEM professionals and left brain thinkers to catalyze employee and customer success and retention.  Her playbook of communication hacks, Do YOU Mean Business?, is available on Babette’s speaker profile is on the espeakers platform. To learn more, please contact Babette here.