By Evan Vitale
No matter your industry or business, you can bet there are several local, national and international conferences that you can attend.
This of course begs the question “is attending a conference a good idea?”
Oh, who doesn’t want to jet set to a warmer climate in the winter; lounge in a nice hotel on the bay or explore the nightlife in Las Vegas or be a tourist in a new town?
Of course, small business owners still need to be “open for business” and wonder “how’s all the work getting done” while you’re away? At the same time, what new technologies and potential networking opportunities are you missing out on while feeling stuck at your office all the time?
This is a big challenge!
Let’s first remove the barrier of how will the work be completed if you are gone excuse. If you’re a small firm, you need to let go and put people in charge. That’s why you hired them. They will accept the responsibility, come to office, clock in and get work done. You can always call them daily for an update or, perhaps, someone in the office can send you an e-mail at the end of the day. If an emergency arises, they will call you (believe me).
If you’re a sole proprietor, consider going to the conference as a working vacation. One of my professional friends who works virtually took the office with him. He got up early and completed two or three hours of work before the conference started, checked and replied to e-mail during the day, and finished some client work at the end of the day.
Attending a conference allows you to “sharpen the saw” and learn more about your industry. Many people return from conferences fresh and fired up with new ideas.
You’ll also be able to network with others in your industry, attend lectures and workshops and talk one-on-one with other professionals. Here, you’ll be able to ask questions, share ideas and gain some ideas at the same time.
By attending a conference, you’ll also break away from the comfort zone of your office and break up the regular daily grind. It’s always a good idea to get out of your routine every now and then, travel to a new location and learn in a different environment (plus you’ll be away from office distractions).
A conference should be considered as an investment in you and your company. Yes, you are there to learn and network, but there’s nothing wrong with having a little bit of fun at the same time!