“Everything I have ever learnt in life I learnt from social media” said nobody, ever. Whilst we live in connected, information rich times, there is only so much you can learn from reading blogs and white papers. Interaction, the pooling of experience and ideas: that’s where motivation, inspiration and innovation can be helped to grow.
Attending business events, industry specific tradeshows and conferences may just be what you need to uncover new ways to grow your business, but can you really spare the time? Let’s consider the upside of time away from the office.
Keep up to date with industry trends
Working in a small business or as a sole trader can be isolating. Without exposure to other points of view, you could miss the latest news and trends in your industry. By attending an event, you will have the advantage of hearing about innovations in your field that could possibly be completely new. They could cover anything from ground-breaking techniques to new business concepts and innovative solutions. You could learn first-hand from thought-leaders and you may walk away with research from some of the biggest names in your field.
Pick up personally relevant tips
Attending an event in person will give you the opportunity to talk to the presenters and to people who have had vast success in your industry, one-on-one. Often, presenters will share their experiences and may give you advice on how to enhance your own work; these interactive conversations simply don’t happen by reading social posts. Once the connection is made and a relationship built, you could request an interview with them for your vlog, website of podcast. Using a subject expert that’s industry relevant keeps your collateral informative and interesting and wins you a competitive edge.
Benefit from interactive networking
Industry events provide a great opportunity to network with lots of like-minded people who share similar interests. Collaboration is the way to approach networking, as the connections you make could be a very helpful resource in the future. You could meet a new supplier and be convinced by seeing their product in action that it will benefit your business. Or you could have a conversation over coffee with someone who can spark inspiration and expose a new way of conducting your business. Making first person connections with fellow business owners and presenters is unparalleled to anything you can achieve through an online event.
Have a sanity check
The opportunity to talk about what you do with a variety of people from similar, related and/or completely different industries will help cement your confidence in your brand and message. You may gain a new perspective, as people could ask questions that make you think differently. You also have the opportunity to get feedback from people who have never seen or heard of you before: embrace this as a market research opportunity. After all, as Roy L Smith said, “The successful man is the one who finds out what is the matter with his business before his competitors do”. Attending events also puts you in direct contact with potential clients and customers who in a more informal setting may be more receptive to your business.
Enthuse and amuse
Business should be rewarding, but fun too. A break from the normal routine and a change of venue can refresh and invigorate. Passionately presented advice and a positive atmosphere can encourage new ideas and creativity. Some presenters are highly amusing orators and humour is uplifting, it can lift your mood and help you recall the point. You could exit the event armed with a fresh approach and new ideas.