Business events - educational for some, networking opportunities for others. Most business owners will attend a business event from time to time.
Small business events - educational for some, networking opportunities for others.
In one format or another most business owners, and many employees, will attend a business event from time to time, either to learn about something that may help their business or to network with others they may then go on to do business with.
Quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily. In Glasgow alone you could network five days per week - morning noon and night if you had the inclination and desire.
However, if you are a relatively small company and you want to tap into this ready market of people attending events, how can you stand out from some of the competition in an already crowded marketplace?
Hosting your own event has obvious advantages as you are able to control several of the key factors - timing, location, content and, to a certain extent the audience profile.
Organising such an event does have its risks too though, both in terms of financial and reputational risk. After all you don't want people going away with the feeling it was a poor event and a waste of their time. They won't come back and bad news always appears to travel faster and wider than good news.
I would always recommend that such a company mitigates the risks and increases the opportunities afforded through events by working in partnership with complementary organisations who they may have already developed a business relationship with or would like to in the future.
Aside from sharing the financial costs, the partners can combine their own client lists to enlarge the pool of invites that can be sent out to the event. They should also see such invitations as a value added service to their own list of clients - putting them in front of partners who they trust to support the client in other aspects of their business.
Working in tandem, the partners can develop content for the events which havecommon threads of interest and each partner can raise their own profile by both presenting, hosting and being associated with a bigger event than they themselves could hope to achieve.
With careful planning and delivery, the partners can develop a brand identity that signifies a professional understanding of the needs of others and a Return On Investment measured not just financially but also by a significantly raised profile in the business community the partners seek to serve.
This is how The Business Journey was developed. As we plan for the 12th event in the series on 16 February, the lessons drawn over the past three years can readily be transferred to other groups with a common business interest.
To develop your own event's strategy
- Consider how your own business objectives may be met by an event or series of events
- Decide whether the business has a large enough contact list to invite and a breadth of content to present itself or, consider the benefits other partners could offer in terms of both enhanced audience profile and complementary content
- Identify what will make the events different from the local competition
- Don't expect an immediate return and be prepared to build your reputation over time by delivering sound advice based on experience
- Be realistic about the size and make-up of the audience and don't close the door to perceived competitors. They may just become collaborators in the future.
It might also help to get an event organiser on board at the outset, but that's for another post.....!