Recession-proof your business with 60+ speakers at online-savvy conference

Online-First co-founder Moby Hayat. Courtesy photo

When project manager Moby Hayat was laid off this past March, he looked around and saw fellow entrepreneur friends losing revenue, having their product or service become obsolete overnight, and frantically hustling to survive.

"The world was quickly changing," he says. "Massive layoffs, extreme budget cuts, and grim stories of loss. But as in every recession, there are businesses which find a way to adapt and grow. In 2020, those businesses will be the ones that are entrenched in online customer acquisition, selling their products and services in the virtual world, and see this as an opportunity to grow."

So Hayat and his business partner Austin Larson, the CMO of an Inc. 500 company, decided to put their skills and knowledge to use.

They, along with entrepreneur CJ Finley, are hosting Online-First Summit 2020 from May 11-14. It's sponsored by Tixpire, ThriveOn, podcast The Fireshow, and InnovationMap.

The four-day virtual conference is geared toward those who have lost business due to the current economic crisis, been negatively impacted by social distancing, are looking to shift to online sales, and who want to expand or build new digital revenue streams.

More than 60 speakers will be talking live and in recorded sessions about best practices for e-commerce, how to organically build a following, the state of the job market, how to avoid layoffs, ways to deeply connect with your customers in an online-only world, and how to make money online as a creator "without selling your soul," among other topics.

Not only will adapting to the post-COVID business world be discussed, but also how companies can learn from this time and apply lessons to the unknown future.

Hayat and the team's previous work has featured Mayor Adler, SXSW director Hugh Forrest, the designer of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the Texas Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, and included collaborations with Funded House, Entrepreneur Media, and MediaTech Ventures.

Head here to see the full four-day lineup, browse the list of speakers, and book your space.

General admission tickets are $35 and include access to live broadcasts and replays until July 31, 2020. VIP tickets come with an execution planner, custom swag pack, content marketing course, one-hour consultation, and access to live broadcasts and replays until December 31, 2020.

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Building Houston

 
 

Hey, big spenders of The Woodlands and Sugar Land. Photo courtesy of Holiday Shopping Card

It appears that delivery drivers (and Santa) will be hauling sleighs full of gifts to homes in The Woodlands and Sugar Land this holiday season.

A new study from personal finance website WalletHub ranks The Woodlands and Sugar Land sixth and seventh, respectively, in the country for cities with the biggest holiday budgets. WalletHub estimates that consumers in The Woodlands will ring up an average of $2,729 in holiday spending; Sugar Land residents will spend $2,728.

Other Greater Houston-area suburbs on the list include League City, No. 15 at $2,501, and Missouri City, No. 98 at $1,264.

Elsewhere in Texas, Flower Mound came in second for holiday spending; residents there will ring up an average of $2,973. Only Palo Alto, California, had a higher amount ($3,056) among the 570 U.S. cities included in the study, which was released November 17.

The five factors that WalletHub used to come up with budget estimates for each city are income, age, savings-to-expenses ratio, income-to-expenses ratio and debt-to-income ratio.

Flower Mound consistently ranks at the top of WalletHub's annual study on holiday spending. Last year, the Dallas suburb came in at No. 3 (budget: $2,937), and in 2018, it landed atop the list at No. 1 (budget: $2,761).

Aside from Flower Mound, five cities in Dallas-Fort Worth appear in WalletHub's top 100:

  • Richardson, No. 36, $2,002
  • Frisco, No. 53, $1,684
  • Plano, No. 59, $1,594
  • Carrollton, No. 71, $1,492
  • North Richland Hills, No. 95, $1,303

Two cities in the Austin area also make the top 100: Cedar Park at No. 73 ($1,472) and Austin at No. 99 ($1,259).

Austin's No. 99 ranking puts it in the top spot among Texas' five largest cities. It's followed by Fort Worth (No. 306, $718), San Antonio (No. 394, $600), Dallas (No. 399, $596), and Houston (No. 436, $565).

Harlingen is the most Scrooge-y Texas city: The estimated $385 holiday budget puts it at No. 560 nationwide.

Overall, Americans predict they'll spend an average of $805 on holiday gifts this year, down significantly from last year's estimate of $942, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Outlooks for U.S. holiday retail sales this year are muted due to the pandemic-produced recession. Consulting giant Deloitte forecasts a modest rise of 1 percent to 1.5 percent, with commercial real estate services provider CBRE guessing the figure will be less than 2 percent.

"The lower projected holiday growth this season is not surprising given the state of the economy. While high unemployment and economic anxiety will weigh on overall retail sales this holiday season, reduced spending on pandemic-sensitive services such as restaurants and travel may help bolster retail holiday sales somewhat," Daniel Bachman, Deloitte's U.S. economic forecaster, says in a release.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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