Small business conferences are a great way to expand your horizons, meet new people and get a fresh perspective on your business. Whether you attend small business events frequently or occasionally, there is usually a lot of work that goes into not only the decision to attend, but also in preparing for the conference.
This article tells you what you need to know to choose the right small business conference, prepare thoroughly, and make the most of it while you're there.
Why You Should Attend Small Business Conferences
Let's start at the beginning. You're a busy small business owner who may have a tight budget, yet you are considering attending an upcoming small business conference. The truth is, conferences and events take time and cost money. Is it worth it for you?
You can make that decision by considering the pros and cons of attending conferences. This list of five reasons to attend a small business conference will get you started with your list of pros.
Choosing the Right Small Business Conference
Now that you know you want to attend a small business conference, the next decision you need to make is which one. There are many different kinds of small business events, including multi-day conferences, one-day summits, local workshops, industry-specific events, general networking days, and more. And there are just as many considerations to be made when it comes to choosing the small business conference that's right for you.
Ask yourself these five questions to determine if a specific small business conference is worth the time, money and planning it will take for you to attend.
Getting Ready to Attend a Conference
You've found and registered for the perfect small business conference. Congratulations! But now the real work starts. It's time to get ready for the conference. There are several very important steps you can take to prepare for a small business conference that will not only help you get the most of the event, but also free your mind from some of your daily responsibilities so you can fully experience all the conference has to offer without worrying about what's going on back in the office.
As you prepare, also consider these tips for getting value from a small business conference.
What to Pack for Your Next Small Business Conference
Now that you are mentally prepared for the conference, it's time to tackle the one task that is dreaded by many -- packing. What you may not realize is that packing doesn't just involve clothes and shoes. Part of packing and preparing effectively for a small business conference requires that you go beyond your personal items. This small business conference packing list will get you started.
Business Cards: Don't Leave Home without Them
Business cards are not dead, and they are a necessity for small business events. But any old business card just won't do. Follow these tips for an effective business card and you'll end up with a powerful marketing tool.
Do you know what goes hand-in-hand with a great business card? An effective elevator pitch. Before you leave for the small business conference, fine-tune your elevator pitch so you're prepared with a quick summary of who you are and what you do. You may be surprised how much more confident you feel when you walk into a room full of strangers.
What About the Work You're Leaving Behind?
There will always be some level of anxiety when you're a small business owner who is walking away from your business for even a short period of time. But there are a few things you can do to keep this in check. One is to get work done ahead of time, then prepare your team to pick up the slack and delegate. Another is bringing your work with you.
You certainly don't want to be stuck working away in your hotel room while the conference is in full swing, but a mobile office can help you stay in the loop and give you the peace of mind you need to make the most of the event.
Now that you've chosen the right small business conference, thoroughly prepared for the event, and have a clear idea of what you want to get out of it, all that's left is attending. I have one last tip as you head out. Small business events are typically packed with great ideas. In order to avoid getting overwhelmed, keep a running list of action items on hand during the event so you can jot down ideas as you go without losing too much time. This will give you an invaluable list of tasks to tackle and apply to your business when you get home. And it will make the real-life value of attending the conference skyrocket.