Afraid to go to live events?
Last week I had the absolute pleasure of speaking at Janet Murray’s ‘Build Your Audience’ event in London. This was on my vision board for quite a while and when I was given to opportunity I jumped at it.
As we get more and more savvy with online technology, often the solopreneur or small business owner works exclusively at home. You can now have meetings, share tools, give demonstrations, provide training and so much more… all without ever leaving the comfort of your home.
The joys of working in your pj’s, having the flexibility to work the hours that suit you and your family and being there for school runs is priceless, however, it can also lead you to feeling isolated – at times. Online groups are brilliant and certainly have their place, but it’s hard to ‘bounce ideas’ back and forth when your idea is not fully formed, and you don’t yet have the words. Despite the many benefits of technology and these online tools that surface every year, there is no substitute for live, in-person events. The opportunity to learn and network with your peers and potential customers can often spark off huge growth in both your entrepreneurial development and your business.
I try to attend conferences and in-person events every month. These will vary from my Local Enterprise Office Women In Business evening events to full on two day events like ‘Build Your Audience’ or one day events like ‘The Power of Community and Networking In Business’.
Here are my top reasons for attending:
No. 1 The Learning Opportunities
The opportunity to learn something new is one of the biggest draws for me. While I am excellent on the business side of strategy and numbers I’ve always looked for help on the digital marketing side. Like most people attending a live event there are some educational benefits you just can’t access unless you’re in a live, face-to-face setting.
Live events give you the opportunity to watch and learn from visual cues, body language and the overall atmosphere and environment. These non-verbal elements and the opportunity to see, feel, touch and absorb the information being presented can add a new level of learning that is not easily accessed via online events.
At Janet’s event, the group is purposely kept to a small number. It is a round table event with about 8/9 people at each table. Each table has a speaker sitting at it and the time is split between presentations and implementation sessions where you apply what you have learnt to your business with help from these experts.
No 2. Networking
This is by far my favourite part of any conference, meeting like minded business entrepreneurs. Live events are an excellent time to make connections, share information and learn about your peers. You never know when you might want to team up for a joint venture or make a referral to someone you met at a live event.
Networking isn’t limited to the participants either. At Build Your Audience the speakers are there for the full two days and drinks/dinner events, so you can often run idea’s past them or talk in detail about your business. Remember these are experts in their fields so you are getting the best from the best.
These informal connections that take place between sessions are often invaluable.
No. 3 Spark Creativity and Innovation
When I left on the Friday evening after Build Your Audience I got the train from London Bridge to Gatwick. I sat on the train with my head buzzing with ideas and plans. So much so, that even browsing on my phone could not keep my attention. I just sat back and let my thoughts go unchecked on what had happened over the past two days.
I became very aware of where the next steps for my business are. How my business strategy needs to develop, indeed, where my weaknesses lay.
This is where the ‘magic is’, live events bring you to your natural ‘next level’. They are the equivalent of an employee’s yearly review in the ‘corporate world. Idea’s that have been forming either get to the next level or get dismissed. You leave pumped to get started on the next chapter and put the plans in place.
No 4 – Speaking Opportunities
How I got to speak at ‘Build Your Audience’ happened because I attended ‘Content Live #2019 Sorted’ another signature conference of Janet’s last November. The focus on my talk was about how my business had changed since the attending the November event.
When I sat down to write my pitch to speak, I realised the biggest ‘win’ I had was the win I got from investing in myself. The mere action of spending the money, made me look at getting a return on investment. How can I justify spending the admission fee the traveling costs etc.? I need to get more clients. This was when my business became very real to me.
If speaking is something you are interested in, one of the best ways is to get familiar with the event you want to talk at. Understand how the event works, who is running it and most importantly know what the conference is about and how your skill set will work into their conference agenda.
No 5 – People buy from People
Often your target customer is also attending the event. This kind of direct marketing and promotion to members of your target audience who are already in a learning, networking and development mode is virtually impossible to get in other ways. And it gives you a chance to ask questions and learn more about your target audience pain points.
We all need to take a break from routine to stay at the top of our game. There is tremendous value in using a live event as a break from the day-to-day operations of your business. A change of scenery, especially one that is rich with educational and networking opportunities, can help you spark your creativity, develop new ideas and think in innovative ways.
If you invest the time and money to attend a live event that offers value for your small business, you can almost guarantee that you will return home with new tools, valuable contacts and a renewed approach that will help you manage and grow your business better than before.
Here are some of the Live events I am attending – check them out: