As I was basking in the sun on a beach in Spain, I decided to take advantage of the free wi-fi and log into my work emails. This is one of the problems when you work for yourself, it's hard to switch off!
As I innocently flicked through the orders I can across an email thread from our landlady. BasketsGalore's landlady, as in the one we pay the rent to for our warehouse rather than my home landlady! This email seemed to refer to a "roadshow" and my colleague & brother Neil had kindly signed me up to. It didn't details what was involved in this roadshow, as it referred to their phone conversation. Her reply of "thank you so much, I could hug you" didn't fill me with confidence as to what this roadshow was going to entail. I forgot all about this email as I went back to soaking up the sun, or should I say back to wiping sand from my 8 month old's mouth!
Upon my return to work a few days later I mentioned having seen this email & asked Neil what exactly he had signed me up to. It transpired that our landlady's company were running a roadshow on Innovation & Business Growth around the local town and needed a guest speaker from a local, successful company in our town. Neil loves speaking (we often joke he should have been a lecturer) but unfortunately would be away on holiday on the required date and so volunteered my services instead! He told me not to worry & that he would write the bulk of the speech for me and create some power point slides. It then came to light that we would need to speak twice, as there was a morning and afternoon session. We would also have to man a small stand alongside other exhibitors as a means of promotion. Luckily for me, my kind sister volunteered to speak with me & my mum volunteered to man the stand. I should mention they both also work for BasketsGalore, but it helped put me at ease.
Neil did what he said and wrote us the core of the speech and created some power point slides. However there was still a lot of work to do to finish the presentation slides, like including collages of images and tweaking the order and bullet points. We also had to speak for about ten minutes each and so set to work on writing our part of the talk. I text Lynne at about 9 pm the night before and we were both frantically writing note cards and rehearsing our speeches after getting our babies to bed! Then there was still the matter of showering, tanning and picking an outfit before bed. It got to 2 am and I decided I would have to sacrifice the tan and go for the pale and interesting look!
In the morning we dashed to work to collected some examples of gift baskets, flyers, our laptops and treats for the stand before heading to the conference centre laden with goodies for a 10 am start.
Lynne and I took to the stage (well not so much a stage as front of the room) after the main speech on what innovation is and regaled the audience with tales of BasketsGalore over the last 12 years. We spoke about 7 main strands of innovation - product, process, delivery, service, technology, marketing and communications and how we had achieved this. We also spoke about the challenges we had faced and our plans for the future. We didn't forget our words and managed to work the slide show ok, much to our relief.
When it was over we got lots of positive feedback about how interesting our story was & how they had enjoyed our talk. This was lovely to hear and made the preparation worth it! We also got our picture taken for the local paper and had a tasty lunch before taking to the floor a second time.