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Small Business Events – Which one is right for you?

Small Business Coaching

Why You – (Small Business Owners) – Need to Attend Small Business Events

Working out which business event to attend this year depends on what you need in your business right now.

As a business owner you know how important it is to keep up with important developments in your industry as well as continuing to meet your client’s expectations in the delivery of your products and services.

“The right 2 day event can bring you better results than a semester at Business School.”

As an MBA grad myself – I can agree with this completely.

So let’s have a look at some of the different types of small business events you can attend.

INDUSTRY BUSINESS EVENTS

These are usually hosted by industry professionals or associations with content focused on industry specific topics. In the professional service industry they’re often called CONFERENCES.

The’re also generally large events with multiple daily sessions featuring sponsors that showcase new products or can help accelerate your business.

The benefits of attending these is that you get to stay up to date with industry best practices and changes relevant to your profession or industry. Speakers are generally industry experts, consultants to your profession or industry or industry specific suppliers.  In general – 90% of the content is aimed at helping you develop further skills and knowledge and become better at what you do.

However – you’ll find that only around 10% of content is on business development or marketing because that’s not the focus of the event. Furthermore – some of these speakers are often from within the industry so do not always have the broad experience and expertise that marketing professionals have.

So – from the standpoint of growing your business this type of event is not the best choice.

MARKETING EVENTS

Here the focus is on marketing and business development with presenters hailing from different industries and backgrounds. The assumption is that you are already good at what you do so don’t expect industry specific advice here.

Typical topics would include:

  • Customer attraction and retention strategies,
  • Business differentiation (how to stand out from your competitors)
  • Digital marketing
  • Social media marketing best practices
  • Customer experience expectations
  • Customer communications
  • Branding and brand development
  • How to scale your business etc etc

I highly recommend you make the time to attend at least ONE of these types of events. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn from people OUTSIDE of your industry.

WORKSHOPS

These are smaller business events based on a specific theme or topic with a set of intended outcomes at the end. They could be industry or niche specific.

Examples could be:

  • Marketing workshop for Hairdressing and Beauty professionals (Industry specific)
  • Marketing for Local Businesses (Not industry specific)
  • Social Media for Health professionals (Category specific)
  • Client experience workshop for trades and services (Category specific) and so on

The advantage of workshops is that you get to work on your business with guidance from experts. Expect to walk out armed with new knowledge and specific proven strategies to implement in your business straight away.

Choosing the right workshop can be a great investment of your time and money and there’s generally lots to choose from. I recommend searching for them regularly as good ones tend to fill quickly. Most are only 1-2 days long and hosted over a weekend to make attending easier.

Benefits:

  • Individual attention and guidance from experts
  • Gain New perspective of your business
  • Learn implementable strategies
  • Share ideas with like – minded people
  • Network and make new friends

Who knows you might even find a strategic partner whose business complements yours!

MASTERMINDS

These are typically small events with carefully selected attendees based on specific criteria. The agenda is usually set by the leaders of the group with the format being either physical attendance or hosted online.

Masterminds can be expensive depending on the host and the agenda. Expect to pay a good price for an influencer in their field.

The goals of a Mastermind event is to achieve a specific outcome for your business. Although similar to a workshop, a Mastermind will include some accountability. Expect to do the assigned tasks and be held accountable for completing them.

This is a more intimate event where members of the group are encouraged to share their journey with each other and act as a support network while you each work towards your goals.

THE PURPOSE OF ANY BUSINESS EVENT

Taking valuable time out from your business is a big decision so it’s important that you choose your events wisely based on what you need right now. In all cases, events should give you what you need to make improvements to your business happen at least 3 x faster than what you could do by going it alone. After all – you want a tangible return on your investment as quickly as possible.

TIPS FOR PLANNING EVENTS

Ideally – as a business owner you want to aim to attend at least 3-4 events per year. A once a year conference just won’t cut it anymore if you want to stay on top of you game in today’s rapidly changing world.

Just look at how quickly technology and social media is changing.

Keep an eye out for events that can help drive your business forward and book them in advance. This helps keep you accountable and committed to your ongoing learning.

FINALLY – MIX IT UP

You should be learning from people from within your industry but you should also be going to and learning from events that are not industry specific. Fresh ideas from OUTSIDE your industry are great for innovation and differentiating your business from your competitors.

Let’s face it – your’e proud of your business and you want it to be the best it can be in serving your customers, your employees and your family. Take time out to learn, be inspired by others and enjoy implementing all the new things you learn.

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