As small business owners, we are always balancing the need to pay our normal operating expenses versus investing in our businesses. Sometimes, we get too focused on the day-to-day costs and don’t think about the bigger picture. Investing in a sponsorship for a business event and conference is one area that can seem expensive, especially to a new entrepreneur who didn’t make plans for it in the budget. However, becoming a sponsor should really be viewed as an investment that can have many more benefits, including some that you may not immediately foresee.
One personal example that I’m going to share is my decision to be the keynote sponsor for The Excelerate Experience that occurred on October 14th. Two key people, Diana Needham and Leslie Flowers, who have been instrumental in getting my first book, Small Business Finance for the Busy Entrepreneur, published are on the leadership team for this event. When they approached me to be a sponsor, I evaluated my finances and while it wasn’t something that I had planned on spending this year, I jumped at the opportunity when I saw who was going to be the keynote speaker – Olalah Njenda. She is an advocate for small business owners and I strongly related to her initiatives. I also realized that with an event targeted to up to 170 entrepreneurs and small business owners, the audience was going to include my ideal client and referral partners. So I said yes!
The event was a huge success and was sold out. As a small business financial coach, I want to share three reasons why I strongly encourage small business owners to include in their budget to save and to invest in sponsorships:
#1 – Investing in Business Relationships – As the keynote sponsor, I was given three additional tickets that I could gift to colleagues and clients. I gave those to colleagues and clients who played a key role in reviewing and providing input for my book. Their feedback was priceless and this business event seemed like a perfect way to say thank you. Within a week later, these same colleagues gifted me tickets to their workshops and conference, valued at $300, to help me grow my business skills and exposure.
#2 – Gaining Exposure – I was allowed a 5 minute presentation just before the keynote speaker as part of my sponsorship. The timing of this event was perfect, as I was able to read a brief introduction from my new book, Small Business Finance for the Busy Entrepreneur, and let an audience of over 100 of my ideal customers know that the book was coming available on November 1st.
For two weeks following this event, I had a number of business owners across four various events and workshops come up to me and tell me that they heard me speak at Excelerate. I didn’t know them before, but they recognized me. Several of them said that my speech was “captivating” and they were shocked at what happened to these successful business owners who had not created a solid, profitable business. It was a great feeling to know that I had delivered a powerful story and message that resonated with other business owners to take action.
#3 – Marketing Business – My brand and logo has been included in the marketing material of The Excelerate Experience event, website, social media mentions, and press releases. Being a sponsor is a great way to have your brand be visible in multiple publications, for a one-time investment.
Now that you know the importance of investing in sponsorships, make sure you consider events that contain your ideal target customer and referral partners. The benefits and return on investment can far outweigh the sponsorship fees if you choose wisely.
Have you been an event sponsor? If so, what was your experience and did you feel like it was worth it?