When you’re a small business owner, there are dozens of events and engagements to choose from that may be beneficial to your business. The three metrics we covered last month might help you strategically allocate your time, one of your most valuable resources, when choosing the events that are right for you and your business.
1. Start with Why
Are you attending to be inspired, to make strong connections or to learn tactical information? Narrow down the purpose of your time and presence at any given opportunity. This will help you spend your time on the right conversations and interactions during the engagement.
Two good questions to help guide you are:
- Am I doing this to help me work on my business, in my business, or for myself in general?
- How does this engagement tie in to my personal and/or business goals?
2. Do Your Research Beforehand
Knowing what to expect at an event will make you more engaged, which will make your time investment more effective.
A few points to consider:
- What is the tone and expectation of the event? Knowing this helps you present yourself in the best light.
– Dress comfortably and in a way that fits the tone (e.g. black tie, business casual)
– How you interact with people (e.g. are business cards expected or are connections made over social media?)
- Who are the speakers?
Take a quick scan of the speaker biographies and past professional experience to understand how their expertise could help you. If you are active on social media, consider noting down the relevant social links to connect prior, during or after the event.
- Who else might be in attendance?
Do you expect those you meet to be your potential clients or possible partners? Is it a broader audience for general brand exposure? Or it is an opportunity to connect with support or a mentor?
- Does the topic relate to day-to-day operations or align with aspirations and long-term strategy?
- Ask yourself: “How do I add value to the event?”
Considering these points to better prepare for the occasion: dress appropriately and comfortably so you can focus on the event itself, bring enough of the right things along (e.g. business cards) and practice how you communicate what you offer in a quick, authentic pitch.
3. Be Fully Present
Manage your and others’ time and expectations so you are free to engage without any distractions.
For events during business hours, consider communicating that you will be offline for a time (e.g. set an out-of-office, possibly include the event title and purpose to highlight your community engagement) and delegating urgent responsibilities – whether that is to your staff, or future self – so you can focus on the time and place at hand.
Many holiday-oriented business events fill up the calendars in December, whether they are hosted by Chambers of Commerce, Boards of Trades, small businesses or independent organizers. Make the most of the engagements you choose, by being prepared and on-purpose. And don’t forget to have a bit of fun, especially during this time of year.
Want to know more? Take advantage of Small Business BC’s wide selection of seminars for entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized business owners. Space is limited, so don’t miss your chance to register today.
Plus, don’t forget that you can meet one-on-one with an expert to get specific information that applies to your business by booking an appointment with Small Business BC’s Ask the Expert service now.