Why Attend Entrepreneurship Conferences?
Entrepreneurship conferences are usually designed to provide attendees—mostly entrepreneurs—platforms to explore new trends developing within and around their industries, network all around, make friends, learn from peer groups, gain insights from the speakers, make their startups more visible and receive constructive feedback from both the users and leaders in their industry.
Recently, entrepreneurs in Nepal got the opportunity to participate in a variety of such entrepreneurship meetups and conferences. Mostly held in Kathmandu, these seminars brought together more than a thousand entrepreneurs, aspirants and other stakeholders of the startup ecosystem. Two events—Business Networking Hours and International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship (ICSE)—were large-scale programmes that featured prominent keynote speakers and startup showcase platforms, while Last Thursdays with Entrepreneurs, Udhyami Sallaha Sujhawa, Celebrating Nepali Entrepreneurs and others hosted their regular high-impact knowledge-sharing, networking events.
I attended most of these events, and from them I was able to acquire a lot of value that should help me both personally and professionally. Being present at these events also helped underscore for me how attending entrepreneurship conferences is highly beneficial for entrepreneurs. I am highlighting some of those benefits here.
Meeting the influencers
Every good conference has ‘big’ people looking for the next big thing, whether the biggies are representatives of the media, the government and the corporate sector, or are bankers, active investors and high networth individuals. These programmes are ideal for you to meet with and greet the movers and shakers across industries. Also, as these professionals play influential roles in society, attracting them to your venture can help attract the masses—your customers—too. These events also often allow you to approach individuals whom you’ve always dreamt of meeting. If you are genuinely interested in them and smart enough to get their attention, you can use these meetings to build a long-lasting relationship with them. But to get the most out of these influential personalities, you need to do some pre-event research on them and their ventures.
Testing the market
Just as with toddlers, your startup business grows pretty fast too. A fast-growing company requires frequent business-model pivots and refining, especially in regards to developing product features, value propositions and marketing strategies. As your venture develops, you want to test all of these newly introduced features and refined plans in market. But choosing the right mass campaign or even conducting a market test can take a lot of your time and resources. If you face such constraints, entrepreneurship conferences can become your testing grounds. You’ll have a good number of attendees of varied demographics to whom you can introduce your new product features or new campaigns and slogans.
Understanding the competition
Industry leaders attend and sponsor good conferences to understand trends. They want to know what’s happening in theirmarket and to use these trends to forecast the future of their industries. €Conferences will help you too to make macro analyses about the state of your industry. Such prognoses cannot be made by your holding a brainstorming session, nor by your arguing with your partners in the office; what you need to do is mingle with the market players to understand what’s going on. When you mingle on the convention floor, you will see how your competitors are presenting themselves, what stage they are in, and how their product is related to yours. These conferences, which bring together a number of entrepreneurs and businesses from your industry, make for close to ideal platforms for you to understand your competitors.
Generating new leads
The best feeling you’ll have about your venture happens when you close a sale. They may not happen at a conference booth. But at conferences, you will find people interested to do business with you. If you are lucky or smart enough, you might even make a deal because there are quite a lot of people who go to conferences and business events to purchase products and services. Even if you cannot realise transactions right then and there, you will find people interested in using your products. It is then your job to convert that interest into a lead and eventually into a deal. Nurturing these leads at different levels will help you create a sustainable and successful business in the long run.
This article was first published on Startups Nepal.