Are you the kind of business owner who tends to hide behind your computer screen? You network online through discussion lists and other virtual forums, but you’re hesitant to leave the comfort of your home office to actually meet others in person?
Whether you’re a natural introvert or extrovert, attending live events and meeting peers and colleagues in person can make a dramatic difference in the success of your business. If you’ve been the lone wolf type, it’s time to get out and start gathering with your pack.
When I was in the public relations/higher education field, I attended dozens of conferences, but when I started my coaching business, money was tight and it took me a few years to get back out on the circuit.
The first event I attended in my capacity as a coach changed my business and my life. I hesitated about attending because it was a lot of money to invest back then and I was going to be starting over in a way in a new industry, which were both risks for me at the time.
Was it worth it? Let’s just say that I still have the card from the Irish pub my husband and I went to the final evening of the event where we figured out how I was going to make this work. It really is when everything changed.
Not only did I learn a ton of great stuff, I met some amazing people who have remained treasured colleagues, joint venture partners and even friends. And I truly believe that what you put out is what you get back, and by attending this event, I was sending the message that I was ready to start playing big.
One of the best investments you can make in your business is in your continuous learning, by attending events, as well as investing in high-quality education products and programs. Part of my own marketing budget is dedicated solely to my learning (and believe me, it’s hard to keep the lid on it!).
So, are you thinking maybe you’ll take the risk and attend a live event in your industry?
Here are some specific reasons why you should:
1. Dedicated time and focus on the event topic
I bet you have at least a few books, CDs, home study courses, etc. that you’ve probably listened to or read, but that you haven’t actually applied. I know I do. And I also know that when I get out of my office and dedicate time and focus to one thing, I make some big breakthroughs.
2. Sharing space with like-minded individuals
Nothing inspires me more than being around others who are as passionate about what we do as I am. Collaborations come naturally and we easily share ideas and resources. Taking the time to share space with these folks helps keep me motivated and excited about moving forward.
3. More high-quality connections
Not only do I end up with a ton of business cards, but there’s also a handful of strategic partnership opportunities, as well as new ezine subscribers and new customers for my products and clients for my programs. And by attending an event comprised of others in my industry, the quality of the connections I’m making is much higher for my business building than attending something like a local chamber event.
4. Discounts on materials to increase your learning
Typically the speakers of these events will offer special discounts to attendees on their products and programs. And if the event has vendor booths, the same usually applies. Events are a great place to “shop” for the next tool that will help boost your business.
5. It’s guaranteed and tax-deductible
I think this is something most small business owners forget. They just look at the price tag of the event, and then shy away. But remember, whatever you put out as an investment in your business is tax-deductible. Be sure to check with your accountant for details, but stop to think about how much you could increase your bottom line by attending the event, instead of how much it costs.
Besides, most reputable events offer a money-back guarantee, so if you really felt it wasn’t worthwhile, you can always ask for a refund.
I’ll share one of my personal strategies for attending events: I figure out how I’m going to cover the cost of my ticket, hotel and air fare BEFORE I even show up at the door. That way, I know that the majority of my expenses are covered, and I’m already ahead on the ROI.
6. Meet the experts
Most of the time, the speakers at the events are accessible, so don’t be shy and go on up and introduce yourself. You may not have another chance and you never know where that connection may lead!
7. Enjoy yourself outside of the event
Don’t forget that you can take in the place where the event is being held. Do a little research ahead of time and plan at least some time away from the event to enjoy wherever it is you’re visiting, even if it’s in your home state!
Once you’re home and recovered from being out and about at the event, you’ll be both excited and recharged to jump in with all your new knowledge and connections!
At my annual Online Business Breakthrough Workshop, you’ll experience all 7 of these benefits! 😉