When it comes to picking the best small business conference, there is certainly no shortage of options! The number of conferences that cater to small businesses continue to rise as more and more people flock to remote work and entrepreneurship.
I’m a big proponent of taking advantage of conferences. Attendees will learn from the classes and network with other small business owners, which is invaluable in itself. If you are wondering exactly which ones to attend, I’ve done some research for myself as a small business owner, and thought to share. In my opinion, these are the best small business conferences you should attend this year!
The Best Small Business Conferences
There’s nothing quite like meeting other small business owners. Whenever I go to small business conferences, I feel like I’m among my people. They know my struggles and what I go through because they go through it too.
They are places where you’ll make friends, network with other professionals, and learn priceless information that will thrust your business forward. Here are several other reasons why entrepreneurs should attend conferences.
So, what are the best conferences for small business owners? They are all right here. Some of them are huge and attract really large crowds, and others are smaller. No matter what you like, there is sure to be one that fits your needs below.
Are you wondering how to make enough money to stay in business? Then you need to attend FinCon. This is by far my favorite conference. It brings together influencers, CPAs, business coaches, podcasters, and copywriters that enjoy creating content about money. In fact, I wrote an entire post detailing 21 reasons why EVERY small business owner should go to FinCon!
This entire conference is all about financial matters. You’ll learn so much! Even better? You could gain a mentor who is more successful and will help you obtain that same success. The networking here is unlike anything else.
Small Business Expo
If you don’t like traveling very far, then look for a Small Business Expo near you. They host them at a variety of major cities all around the country.
At Small Business Expo, you can meet with other entrepreneurs in your area. You’ll also learn from the inspirational keynote speakers and attend hands-on workshops.
Similarly, there are multiple locations for this event (one in the United States, and another in Europe for 2020), which is put on by Tony Robbins. This is an advanced workshop geared towards entrepreneurs who are looking to scale their already-successful business.
Business Mastery is a five-day intensive where you’ll learn tools, strategies, and even the psychology to transform your business and succeed even more. Tickets for this workshop don’t come cheap, but the event often sells out because the information is excellent.
Social Media Marketing World
Love (or want to love) social media? If you want to keep abreast of the latest trends, tips, and insider info on your favorite platforms, try the Social Media Marketing World conference. Here, you’ll hear from top experts who can break down algorithms and give you actionable, easy-to-implement tips.
Plus, you can opt to purchase the recordings if you don’t want to (or are unable to) attend in person.
Dreamforce is a week-long conference aimed directly for business owners. It’s put on by Salesforce.com. This conference focuses on business and technology. You’ll learn how to leverage your business directly to your target customers, how to use chatbots, and how to do sandbox development.
This isn’t just for people that use Salesforce products, but you’ll get more out of it if you do.
If you struggle with sales, then you need LeadsCon. This entire conference is all about generating more leads and turning them into sales. They teach attendees how to navigate lead generation and performance marketing. This is a very popular national conference and fills up fast.
Business Boutique is a women-led event created to encourage and help women thrive as business owners. Even if your business is still as small as a blank website and a huge idea, this conference will help you launch it in a huge way!
I have actually been to this conference and it is really good. Christy Wright leads this conference and she’s an amazing public speaker. I love the way she walks through how to think through the major parts of a business plan that are critical to your success.
World Domination Summit (WDS)
This conference is always held in the same city – Portland, Oregan. WDS is always held in July. It’s an empowering and motivating conference that will leave you pumped and ready to take on the world! You can choose whether to just attend for the weekend or stay the entire week.
The week is full of classes that they call academies. In these academies, you’ll learn a variety of things including how to confidently make a decision, how to grow your business through YouTube, and artful goal setting, just to name a few.
This conference always draws the biggest celebrity names as keynote speakers. INBOUND has both inspirational keynotes from people like Michelle Obama and Alexis Ohanian and breakout sessions that teach you hands-on skills.
At INBOUND, you’ll get to mingle with business owners like yourself who are there to learn how to grow their company. You’ll also learn things like how to make personalized marketing videos, Hubspot implementation, and new rules for content strategy.
Craft and Commerce
The popular conference, Craft and Commerce, is put on by ConvertKit. ConvertKit happens to be my email marketing tool of choice (you can read all about it here as well as why I switched to it from Mail Chimp) and I have heard they do a phenomenal job yearly with this conference. This is one that Pat Flynn also attends!
This conference is specifically created to help online creators like bloggers, makers, vloggers, photographers, freelancers, podcasters, and the many others who identify as creators.
Pubcon is all about marketing and content creation. This is critical information your business needs if it is going to compete with other online businesses. It’s been a conference for 19 years and counting, helping publishers perfect their crafts.
You’ll get the chance to learn about content marketing from people like an SEO Manager from ESPN and a Search Advocate from Google.
Previous breakout sessions talked about things like optimizing content for Adwords, how to do a social media audit, and how to improve reviews and gain brand loyalty.
Can’t Travel? Do an Online Conference
Investing in continuing education is one of the most important investments you can make in yourself. However, there may be times when you are unable to travel. Don’t worry! While you won’t get the same networking abilities in a streaming video as you can in person, there is still educational value there. If you’re unable to travel, stream or purchase videos from a conference instead.
How To Prepare for a Business Conference
After you figure out which conferences you want to attend, the fun is about to begin – the preparation! You are going to love this and learn so much.
I have some tips that I think will really help you prepare for your conference. This will help you save yourself some time and maybe even some money.
Keep Track of Miles
If you drive to a business conference, don’t forget to track your miles. This is a tax-deductible business expense. I have used MileIQ. It tracks your miles via your GPS so you don’t even have to think about it. Give MileIQ a try, you’ll love how easy it is.
I prefer to stay on-site. It’s so much easier to wake up, walk down to the classes, and know that my room is just a few floors away. If you know some colleagues that are going, you can save money by sharing a room.
Sure, staying off-site might help you save some money. You just have to decide if that extra effort of driving to the conference site and fighting for a parking spot is worth it. Plus, this is a tax-deductible expense.
Make A Budget
Business conferences can easily cost you more money than you might think. From airfare to car rentals to business cards, there is a lot to consider.
Here’s how much to budget for a conference so you can make a smart plan ahead of time.
Setting Up A Vendor Booth – Read This
Another benefit of these conferences is you can set up a booth and talk to owners about working with you to market your products. Before you purchase the booth space, read my tips. There are a lot of things you’ll need to consider first.
Find Small Business Conferences You Love
No matter what, making the choice of which one to attend is really important. Try one out. If you don’t like it, try a different one next year. I personally loved FinCon and I hope you find one you love just as much.
Can’t Travel? Take Online Courses
I think everyone should try to attend at least one conference a year. You can’t replace the value of networking with other people and learning from the workshops with other entrepreneurs.
If you can’t attend one, don’t sweat it. It happens! You should still invest in your continuing education. There are plenty of online courses that will teach you valuable information as well. Here are some of my favorites.
If you couldn’t attend FinCon, you can still attend their virtual universities. With a virtual pass, you can learn from compilations of the best content presented at FinCon. There’s a lot here to unpack. There are recordings of 90+ sessions presented at FinCon. This is a wonderful option if you can’t make it in person.
Adventures in SEO
SEO is search engine optimization and it’s vital for anyone with a website. You want people to find your content when they Google things you sell. Adventures in SEO is presented by Lena Gott. You’ll learn everything about SEO, she has a fun personality and teaches in-depth concepts at a basic level.
If you want to learn about content marketing, then take the Copy Masterclass by Liz Theresa. You’ll learn how important every word on your website is. She teaches how to turn website visitors into buyers in this amazing class. She teaches in such a fun way that you enjoy taking every module.
Email Marketing Magic
Every small business owner needs to know how to master email marketing. It’s a direct link to your customers. Pat Flynn is a small business marketing guru. Email Marketing Magic is an amazing course. He learned the hard way how to write compelling email newsletters with a high ROI and he will teach it to you, too.
Pick a few small business conferences to try — you will always appreciate investing in your education. The more you learn, the more your business will grow!
More Small Business Resources:
Here are some more small business resources that I know will help your company grow.