If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are you’ve been to many professional events. Whether you’ve attended events for training, to network or expand your knowledge on a given topic, you invested time, money and energy. Many entrepreneurs spend anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars to attend business events each year. However, there are few ways to ensure that you get the most out of every event you attend. Below are 3 tips (plus a bonus) to help you maximize your time and money when attending professional events.
- Have a plan for what you want to get out of the event. If it is a training event, take it seriously and go into it as a student of success. Make it your business to take copious notes and jot dot your “aha” moments. Be sure to introduce yourself to the speakers if possible. Let them know what your takeaways were from their topics. When you make a connection with a thought leader in person, there are usually opportunities to connect with them again online. Send them a LinkedIn request if you don’t already know them. And if you already know them, create a post to brag about how much you learned from them. Your sincerity and authenticity will go a long way with the speaker and it will set you apart from other attendees. Making a real connection with thought leaders and speakers is priceless. They just may make a real connection and begin a great business relationship.
- Create a budget for business events for the year/quarter/month. It’s important to allocate money in your budget to attend professional events. As a small business owner, you should be attending at least one or two professional events per month. You can’t expect to grow your network if you stay in the office and never get out in the business community. Many times you may not know about an event until a month or two before it happens. However, there may be times when you know about annual events far in advance. The key is to have a budget already set aside for events that you are planning to attend. You should also make sure that budget has a line item for “last minute” events that you have not planned for. There may be occasions when you learn about a great event within a few weeks and you should be able to take advantage of that opportunity if you have set aside funds to do so. Remember to have a budget and stick to it if possible. Be mindful, that you can easily recoup your investment by making meaningful connections.
3. Follow up on contacts you meet. You’ve probably heard the importance of follow up a million times. However, it bears repeating because following up is still the #1 thing that people fail to do after attending business events. Following up can be as simple as sending the new contact a LinkedIn request, an email, text, handwritten note or making a phone call. Whatever you choose to do, your follow up should happen ideally within one week of the event. However, if you get too busy, you can still follow up within the month of the event. And if for some reason you’ve allowed months to pass, and you haven’t followed up, then you must at least remember where you met the contact and refresh their memory about when you met them and ask if it’s okay to reconnect. The thing is, you never know what can happen if you follow up with someone you meet at a business event. I can speak from personal experience, following up with contacts I’ve met at business events, has been very beneficial for me. Not only have I gotten clients, I’ve also received speaking opportunities and made some really great friends. It’s true what they say: the fortune is in the follow up.
By building connections through attending business events, you could find new business partners or collaborate with other small business owners. In addition to finding what works for you, these events are also about seeing how you can help other businesses, which could be through referrals or working together on a project that may be mutually beneficial.
In conclusion, there are many awesome advantages in attending business events. I’ve only listed a few ways that you can maximize business events in this article. Of course there are many more ways you can leverage your attendance and participation at business events. But the key is, to know what types of events will be the best fit for your business and for you. One of the best ways to tell if an event is right for you is to determine who will be in the room. If the attendees of the event fit your ideal client profile, that’s a great event for you. If the speakers will be sharing information you need to learn about, that’s a great event for you. Finally, if the event targets professionals like you, chances are you will meet other professionals to possibly network and collaborate with, so that’s a great event for you.
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This article was written by Lori A. Manns. Want to use it for your blog or website? The following author paragraph is what you must include.
Author, Lori A. Manns is a multi award-winning marketing mentor, sales coach and trailblazing business strategist who works with small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them grow and scale their businesses. She specializes in sales and marketing strategies that result in her clients attracting their target market, gaining brand visibility and growing revenue. Lori is President of Quality Media Consultant Group, a consultancy firm specializing in media, advertising, marketing and sales. She is the founder of the Trailblazer Business Mastermind where advancing entrepreneurs go to learn growth strategies and how to run a profitable business the soulful way. Lori is also the creator of the Sponsorship Sales Secrets System;™ which shows business owners how to get more corporate sponsors and sales for their business, guaranteed. To learn more about the work Lori does to help business owners and entrepreneurs all across the U.S. to accelerate their revenue and succeed in business, visit www.qualitymediaconsultants.com