Invitations and social media posts about business conferences probably pop up in your inbox and LinkedIn feed on a regular basis. You probably often ask yourself “Are business conferences worth it?” After all, it means taking time away from your regular work and traveling to the conference location.
But there are many benefits to attending small business conferences. They are valuable opportunities to network with potential partners, foster direct relationships with SMBs, and keep up to date with changing trends and technologies in your industry.
Entrepreneurship conferences allow you to engage with small business owners and gain a deeper understanding of their pain points, so you can tailor your offering to fill their needs. Getting involved in conferences for entrepreneurs also increases your credibility and builds trust with the SMB community, which appreciates that you take the time to listen to their concerns.
That only leaves one question: “How do I find a good conference to attend?” You need to pick and choose events so that you don’t overwhelm your calendar. To help you out, we’ve broken down the top events to attend for both B2B and SMBs in 2024.
Best B2B events in 2024
TC3 February 7, 2024 – Santa Clara, CA, USA
Run by the Telecom Council, TC3 is an opportunity for startups and young companies in telecom, wireless, and IoT to showcase their innovation. Larger organizations should attend to discover new partners who might complement their offering, and potential customers for their SMB services.
Hosted by leading Silicon Valley companies, TC3 also offers a space for businesses to forge new connections with other SMB-serving organizations.
SMB Tech Fest February 8-9, 2024 – Irvine, CA, USA
SMB Tech Fest is the quarterly conference that keeps you abreast of vital trends at the intersection of business and technology. It’s aimed at anyone in the security, cloud computing, telecom, IT, MSP, VAR, and solution provider space.
It’s worth attending just to hear from industry experts, thought leaders, CIOs, and CTOs. You’ll also benefit from social networking events that give you the chance to create useful new relationships with potential customers and partners.
IT Expo February 13-14, 2024 – Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
This year’s IT Expo explores the buzzing topic of AI. It’s worth attending to hear from thought leaders and experts about the latest developments in AI for fields like digital transformation, customer experience, managed IT services, and more, so you can enrich your product and service offering.
The event attracts participants from a range of positions including enterprise and SMB telecom and IT professionals, industry suppliers, service carriers, and solutions providers, serving as an excellent opportunity to meet new partners.
MWC 26 – 29 February 2024 – Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, Spain
The MWC conference is a headline-grabbing event. The three-day conference features visionaries, leaders, and decision-makers in the world of tech and telco, all of them sharing their ideas and insights into the fast-changing present and exciting future of technology.
If you want to stay on the cutting edge of tech trends, learn how to refine your offering or what new tech tools can do for your business, and find new suppliers, customers, or partners, the MWC is a must-attend event.
Pubcon March 4th-6th, 2024 – Las Vegas, NV, USA
Pubcon delves deep into all things marketing, with this year’s event centering on the massive changes affecting search marketing and content generation. Established SMB-facing organizations and SMB owners alike can benefit from understanding each other’s challenges and the opportunities that they open up.
Billing itself as a more immersive experience than a conference, the 2024 Pubcon brings together thought leaders, SEO experts, innovative disruptors, entrepreneurs, executives, and marketing enthusiasts to share ideas, forge new relationships, and explore the shifting world of search marketing.
Channel Partners Expo March 11-14, 2024 – Las Vegas NV, USA
Join the Channel Partners Conference and Expo to network with other business leaders across the tech ecosystem, including tech suppliers, vendors, agents, VARs, MSPs and integrators.
At the same time, you’ll benefit from sessions and workshops with market leaders on topics that range from AI and cloud marketplaces to sales and marketing and the customer journey, giving you new insights to resolve SMB needs.
ANA Media Conference March 18-20, 2024 – Orlando, FL, USA
As the name suggests, the ANA Media Conference covers all things media, including retail media marketing, influencer marketing, AI, and more. It’s a must-attend event for any organization that wants to keep ahead of media trends and learn the newest strategies for success in marketing and media management.
With participants that include ad tech leaders and brand managers as well as startup founders and media entrepreneurs, the ANA conference is also an unmissable networking opportunity.
Cloud Fest March 18 – 21, 2024 – Europa-Park, Germany
Cloud Fest is billed as the top event for anyone involved in internet infrastructure, and, you guessed it, cloud computing. It’s an important experience for organizations looking to stay on top of evolving cloud technologies and approaches.
As an event that attracts global leaders and startup innovators alike, CloudFest is also an exciting occasion for forging connections with like-minded cloud enthusiasts who could become valuable partners, customers, and friends.
Best SMB events in 2024
Small Business Expo March-December 2024 – Various cities across the US
Acclaimed as the largest small business conference, trade show, and networking event in the US, the Small Business Expo brings together education, relationship-building, and marketing opportunities.
SMB owners can promote their company, learn new ways to grow their business, and connect with vendors, suppliers, and other SMBs who will help them find and take advantage of new business opportunities.
SME Expo April 23-24, 2024 – London, UK
The SME Expo in London is an event for all hungry SME founders and decision-makers whose goal is to scale their business. The event lasts for 2 days and features over 60 expert speakers and 30 workshops.
It’s worth it for small business owners to attend, to learn about new business growth tactics, trend insights, industry innovations, and information about a variety of topics, from recruitment to writing a business plan and more.
Canadian SME Small Business Show June 24, 2024 – Toronto, Canada
The Canadian Small Business Show is a one-day extravaganza for entrepreneurs and small business leaders. It features sessions and workshops with successful business people and insights into effective business-building strategies. This year, the focus is on digital transformation, an important topic for any SMB owner.
Web Summit November 11-14, 2024 – Lisbon, Portugal
Web Summit is focused on exploring where technology is going next. It’s also a highly regarded occasion for generating leads, meeting new collaborators, and collecting solid contacts for future mentors, advisors, or partners.
Put it in your calendar to ensure that you’re part of the cutting edge of tech discussions, and can learn about what’s on the horizon for the wide and varied tech industries.
How do I find a good conference to attend in 2024?
Although all the business conferences that we’ve mentioned above are worth attending, you might not have the time, money, or energy to participate in them all. If you’re working to narrow down your shortlist of small business conferences, here are some things to consider.
Understand your budget
Cost can be a useful way to make decisions. Perhaps you can only afford to attend a few events a year, or your travel budget doesn’t permit you to fly overseas or across the continent. There are plenty of local conferences that are worth your time, so put them at the top of the list.
Map out conferences based on goals
Clarify what you want to gain from the conferences you attend and define clear KPIs. Do you want to generate leads, find new partners and collaborators, or research changing trends and ideas in your field? This will help you decide which events bring the most impact.
Draw on experience
It can help to look back on the notes you made about last year’s events, to see which ones were the most effective and which didn’t help you advance your goals. Consult with your sales team as well as previous sponsors, to see if a conference that you attended previously is worth going to again.
Learn where your audience will be
Once you know your aims for conference attendance, investigate which events attract the audience you need. Prioritize events with a significant SMB audience, and look for ones that offer opportunities to participate in a panel discussion, deliver a session, or hold a workshop with someone you’d like to collaborate with.
Think outside the box
Don’t be too quick to dismiss conferences as irrelevant. An event that might not seem suitable at first could become valuable once you investigate a little more. For example, perhaps you’ll benefit from connecting with the sponsors rather than the audience, or be able to present a session with a potential partner.
Business and entrepreneurship conferences begin marketing well in advance. Collect a list of potential events a good 6 months before they are meant to occur, and keep an eye on the LinkedIn or X profiles for the top events so you’ll know when tickets go on sale. Most events have Early Bird discounts, so be sure to take advantage.
Make the most of each conference
Your conference time is limited, so maximize each one you attend. Write a list of the people and organizations you want to meet, and reach out to them in advance to schedule time to talk. Ensure you make time to connect with your existing partners and customers as well as potential new ones, to keep those relationships strong and vibrant.
Contact the coordinators
It’s well worth talking with conference coordinators in advance. Ask about the layout of the conference, because there can be significant distance between the exhibition space and the discussion areas. This way you can plan your time more effectively. Ask for a sample of attendees so you can get an idea of the audience, and find out what timelines and deadlines there are for submitting papers and applying for a session or a booth.
The right business conferences can bring valuable advantages
Small business owners, SMB-serving organizations, and entrepreneurs alike can all benefit from attending business conferences and events. With a mix of education, networking, and brand promotion, conferences bring numerous opportunities for you to find new partners, refine your offering, and grow your business.
We’re so convinced about the value of these conferences that we’ll be attending many of them ourselves. To request a meeting at these events with one of our partner experts, click here.