When you’re drowning under mounds of paperwork and working weekends to keep your accounts up to date, the prospect of spending a full day out of the office to attend a conference will strike fear in your heart.
With limited time and resources, SMEs find it difficult to carve out the time to attend an event. There will always be something that’s more pressing than an upcoming conference.
For SMEs, attending conferences to network and stay up to date with trends within your industry could set you apart from your competitors. Running a small business can be extremely isolating. Attending conferences helps to put things into perspective and gives you an opportunity to meet people within your industry and learn about what’s trending, which in turn could give you the edge.
Besides taking as many business cards as you can carry – and collecting them from new contacts – here are Flight Centre Business Travel’s five tips on how SMEs can make the most of their next conference.
1. Maximise your time away
If you need to splurge on accommodation and flights to attend a conference at a far-flung destination, make sure you make the most of your expenses. Set up business meetings with clients at the event, so you won’t need to travel to the destination again at a later stage.
Don’t have any clients living near the event you’re attending? Visit the conference website and social media and use the event’s official hashtag to start engaging with other attendees and set up meetings with potential new clients.
2. Opt for the best flights for your specific needs
You might be tempted to book the cheapest flights to and from the conference, but it could be worth your while to first carefully assess your needs.
Is it possible to skip the cost of the accommodation and fly in early in the morning and back late at night after the conference? A Business Class flight might actually save you money! You’ll save on accommodation, and you’ll arrive refreshed enough to hit the ground running.
3. Choose your hotel wisely
Location, location, location. Rely on your dedicated travel expert to advise you on the best hotel near the event you are attending. This will save you time and money as you won’t have to commute to and from the venue. By staying in a hotel near the conference venue, you’ll also have more opportunities to network with other delegates and make important connections.
4. Share your findings with your team!
Although it can be tempting to travel to a conference with two or three team members at your side, consider whether it is necessary for everyone to attend. The better option might be to take careful notes, and share the outcomes of the event with your team once you’re back at the office.
5. Evaluate your investment
At the end of the conference, take some time to evaluate whether the financial investment and time commitment were worth it, whether you would recommend the conference to a colleague and whether you would attend again. When you return home, you’ll need a good reason to endure the pain of catching up.