We may be living in a digital age, but there have never been more opportunities to meet fellow business owners face-to-face.
While online communication helps to save time, there is no substitute for getting to know contacts in person – especially if you are hoping they will become customers.
From networking groups to seminars and presentations, there is so much choice when it comes to business events in Yorkshire and beyond that it can be hard to select the right ones.
Anyone who has been to business events will know there is nothing more frustrating than coming away with the feeling that you have wasted your time, and have lost money, because it wasn’t the right fit for you. So how can you ensure you get the best from your investment?
While there is no one-size-fits-all formula for a successful business event, there are a few key areas to look for when choosing the best events for you.
The cost of events can be anything from free to hundreds or even thousands of pounds – but this doesn’t tell you the value. A free event may not leave you out of pocket, but it may be a waste of time that could be better spent elsewhere.
Instead of the cost, focus on the value offered. Is it a good investment for your business? Will it drive you towards your business goals? Are you paying a premium for something you don’t really need? Make sure you do your research before committing time or money.
A track record of success is one of the best ways to choose the right business events for you. While new events can be appealing and often have lower prices, be aware that they have no way to prove they can deliver what they promise. How will you feel if you don’t get the number of contacts or leads that you expect?
Established events, by contrast, can give you a little more confidence. While there are no guarantees, organisers of long-standing events usually know their market and how to attract the right types of business to help everyone present to achieve their aims.
If in doubt, one of the best ways to choose is to ask previous exhibitors or participants how successful the event was for them. Any reputable event will have testimonials from previous participants to prove its results.
Always keep in mind that a return on your investment of time or money is not necessarily immediate. If you have spent a few hundred pounds on a stand at a business event, you are unlikely to walk out with signed contracts for more than the amount you have invested.
The return may come over the following days, weeks or months. When you follow up the contacts you have made and start building up your network, you are slowly recouping that investment.
Judge your return from an event over a longer period and you’ll get a more accurate picture of its success. If it’s a monthly networking group, analyse how much business you are doing as a result in the weeks between meetings. Equally, an annual exhibition may lead to new customers or valuable contracts three, six or nine months later – how much could your business benefit before the next event takes place?
Yorkshire Business Market has a track record of success in all of these areas – 2017 will be the 13th annual event. Its prices are low compared to similar events elsewhere, yet it is one of the longest-established business-to-business events in the region. If you’re looking at the return you’re likely to get, you only have to speak to any of the businesses who have returned to exhibit year after year and who see YBM as a key date in their business calendar.
If you decide to exhibit at YBM, or sign up to any other events, don’t forget that success will largely depend on your own approach too. Go in expecting too much and you are likely to be disappointed, while a cautious or negative attitude will come across to your potential customers and may put them off.
Do your homework before any event: decide what you want to achieve and how you will reach your targets. You may want to gather as many business cards as possible, or you may just want one or two good quality leads to follow up afterwards. Alternatively, it may just be about raising your profile and ensuring you are the first name people think of when they need the products or services you offer.
On the day, go in with a positive attitude and a willingness to embrace the opportunities you find.
If you think Yorkshire Business Market might be the right event to help you grow your business and achieve your aims, there is still time to book – but hurry, because space is selling quickly. Click here to find out more.