by Ryan O’Connell
With Entrepreneur.com’s 5th Annual Growth Conference rapidly approaching there are plenty of ways you can prepare for the event to ensure that you get the most of out of this one-day conference. With speakers ranging from Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran to Social Media Explorer’s founder Jason Falls, it will be a power-packed day at the Dallas Convention center.
Because it’s only a one-day conference, it’s important to ensure that you are maximizing your time and focusing your energy on what you personally want to take away from the conference.
Here’s what you need to know about the before, during, and after Entrepreneur.com’s Growth Conference:
Prepare for the Conference
1. Create a connection strategy
Karen Leland, president of Sterling Marketing Group, said, “Conferences provide a built-in reason to cold call people you’d otherwise have to get an introduction to. Find out who will be speaking at or attending the conference that you might want to connect with and call or email beforehand to set up an onsite meeting.”
2. Bring a notebook and open mind
Jason Falls, founder of Social Media Explorer, had this advice for entrepreneurs: “If I were coming to this event as an entrepreneur, I think I would be prepared for a flood of knowledge. You’re going to take a lot of notes, learn a lot of both strategic and tactical things that can help your business, but you’re also going to see and hear case studies that you might be able to reposition and use for your own business. Bring an open mind, a mindset ready to ask questions to help your business, and either plenty of blank notebook space and pens or your best typing fingers!”
For the Day of the Conference
1. Keep It Simple
Keynote speaker Barbara Corcoran said, “Just come with an open mind, willing to learn one new thing valuable to your business.”
A lot of times entrepreneurs don’t hone in on exactly what they need to learn or take away from a conference and they end up missing something key.
2. Network, Network, Network
Sure there will be valuable content from the keynotes, but a lot of entrepreneurs don’t take advantage of the vast amount of like-minded people in the same room during conferences. Make sure to spend every moment that a speaker isn’t speaking to introduce yourself to all of the other entrepreneurs at the conference and figure out how you can be helping each other out.
Mark Kohler said, “These are the types of conferences where small business owners can network to find resources and professionals to help them better succeed.”
Find ways to create real relationships. Don’t just pitch your product or service. You’re better off creating a relationship and bringing in the business later.
3. Ask Questions
Meeting and networking with people isn’t always about telling more people about why your business is the best business. Utilize other speakers and other entrepreneurs’ minds and ideas to spark your own creativity and enhance your thought process.
4. Take Notes
Many of the speakers will share valuable information including how to contact them at the end of their talk. TAKE NOTES and follow through. “This is so huge,” said Erika Napoletano, a speaker at the Growth Conference. “People are the one thing that will make or break your business and brand. The more people you meet, the more clear your brand vision becomes. And who knows — you just might start a relationship that turns into a friendship. No downside there.”
5. Takeaway Tips
So you took vigorous notes, networked with everyone at the conference, and passed out all of your business cards, here are some tips on what you can and should take away from this year’s event:
3 Things you should take away from the one-day conference from Erika Napoletano:
This will vary for everyone who attends, but I’d say that the three top things any entrepreneur can take away from a conference like this are:
- A better sense of who you are, what you truly do for your audience, and who your audience really is. It’s easy to get confused or be misguided on these things at any point in one’s entrepreneurial career, and I have no doubt that my fellow speakers will deliver solutions and points to think on in spades.
- A few new relationships. What I love the most about speaking at this conference (this is my third for Entrepreneur Magazine) is that I get to stay in touch with so many of the people I meet. That’s why I speak and why I share — to connect. People are the only thing that will ever make what I do a success.
- A reminder that this whole “business” thing should be fun. If you hate what you do, stop doing it. You’re going to be surrounded by so many people who love what they do at this conference!
6. Make a list
And at the end of the day, make a list of things you want to get done the next day as a result of what you learned or discovered at the conference. The worst thing anyone can do is attend a conference like this and leave it behind the next day.
Find out more about Entrepreneur.com’s 5th Annual Growth Conference.
Ryan O’Connell is the Vice President of Business Development for Digital Talent Agents, a company that helps experts build their businesses through thought-leadership and content marketing by producing high-quality content for reputable publications. You can reach out to Ryan on Twitter @Oconnellryan or on Google+.