Preparing for a Small-Business Conference

Are you looking for an opportunity to network and acquire new techniques, strategies, and ideas that could benefit your small business? If so, consider attending a small-business conference. The following tips can help you get the most out of your next business conference:

Do your research. It’s important to research the event before you register to make sure it’s right for you. Find out who is hosting the conference to get an idea of what to expect. Once you decide on a conference, be sure to take a look at the schedule ahead of time to choose which sessions to go to. Undoubtedly, there will be some sessions you won’t want to miss, so try to plan your day around them. In addition, if there will be key people attending who you would like to connect with, you may want to contact them in advance to coordinate schedules.

Plan ahead. Working on projects while you’re out of the office can be difficult. So try to get as much done before the conference as you can, to avoid a stockpile on your desk when you return. If possible, assign your work to others, to maintain your productivity. Also, be sure to let your clients know in advance that you’ll be traveling. Showing your clients consideration goes a long way. Inform them of your availability—or inaccessibility—while you’re away; for example, tell them whether you’ll be checking your email or voicemail a few times during the day, or not at all, during the conference.

Bring business cards. Whether you’re attending the conference as a speaker, participant, or vendor, passing out business cards is an absolute must in conference networking situations. Bring plenty of cards with you. Remember, a good business card can help make a strong first impression. If your cards need updating, have them revised before the conference.

Pack smart. In addition to your business cards, here are a few other items to bring along:

  • Keep travel documents with you, particularly your hotel confirmation, conference registration ticket, car service information, and a photo ID.
  • Wireless devices. Most conference venues provide Wi-Fi access, so consider bringing a laptop, iPad, and/or smartphone with you for taking notes and staying connected with your colleagues back at the office.
  • Regardless of which mobile devices you bring, don’t forget to also bring their chargers for optimal performance wherever you are.

Taking some time to properly prepare for a small-business conference before you leave can help free you up to make the most of your time there.


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