How to Decide Which Small Business Events to Attend

by / Friday, 18 April 2014 / Published in Small Business Marketing

small business event planning

No matter what industry you are in, there will most likely be some events around the country that you should consider attending. Whether you are interested in gaining some new expertise or sharing what you know at a seminar, going out and showcasing your products at a trade show or giving back to the community at a fundraiser or local event, there are plenty of ways to put your business out there through attending business related gatherings. The only problem for most business owners is deciding which ones are worthwhile and which are more trouble than they are worth. In order to figure out where they can make room in their schedules, the following steps can  be used.

First, identify what events are out there. You can use social media for this, simply asking business connections what events are coming up is a simple and good idea. When you find out what is available, you may then wish to categorize the events by type: trade show and sales opportunities, and seminars, skill sharing and PR events. Both of these can be important helpers in creating new business, but through slightly different mediums.

How to decide what you should attend. There will generally be three factors that affect your ability to attend events, with more or less depending on how easy or difficult admission requirements are.

  • Strategic importance. If a business event has the ability to create a large amount of sales for you, or if there are valuable skills that you could gain by attending, this should factor in highly to the decision making process. If you have never attended an event but think it might be beneficial, then you should search for blog articles and reviews from people who have attended, as this can give you a better idea of what to expect should you chose to go.
  • Proximity and costs of transportation. A business event across the country has to be pretty important if it is going to pull you away from your local area. The farther away, the more expensive it will be to get there, so take this into account when planning. You may wind up choosing to go to multiple events that are close to you rather than invest in a single major business gathering, or do the opposite based of the potential for exposure and sales.
  • Time frame. Time is money, and you should think about how much you are willing to spend away from your business. A week long event represents a much bigger investment than an afternoon or even a weekend. Additionally, going to an event during your busy season is not always the right move when you can attend during a lull and learn new things and make connections when you know it will be slow anyway.

You don’t have to go to every event. In fact, it might not even be a good idea to invest so heavily in traveling. Picking out a few events that you feel you can go to each year is a wise choice, because it allows you to become a regular, knowing what is at the trade show, what days are the best to be around, and what kinds of opportunities are there.

Photo Credit to Dafne Cholet on Flickr

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