You might think that the best thing you can do to help your small business grow is just to work hard and pour all the money you can back into it, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s not what you know or even what you do, but who you know, that can make a huge difference in whether your startup succeeds, struggles or fails.

That’s why we recommend that small business owners check out at least a few Atlanta business events each year. Some of these events can help foster relationships that wouldn’t otherwise exist inside the confines of the office or storefront, and can help you make valuable new connections with other entrepreneurs and even potential mentors.

Some of the many types of business events Atlanta entrepreneurs should know about include:

Networking Events

A quick search of Atlanta business networking events on EventBrite brings up several possibilities, including many speed networking events. Speed networking refers to an event in which each participant has just 2-3 minutes to talk to other individual participants (or sometimes groups) before moving on to the next participant or small group.

Why might a speed networking event be a good thing? Because in addition to the potential for making valuable networking contacts (including potential customers and mentors), speed networking gives you a chance to brush up on your people skills and practice your elevator pitch.

Speed networking’s benefits for the small business owner include:

  • The opportunity to meet many more people than you might otherwise get to speak with at a regular (non-speed) networking event
  • An informal format that helps break the ice so participants from various parts of the Atlanta business community can get to know each other
  • The possibility to continue the discussion at a different time and get to know each other better

All networking events give you the chance to widen your social network considerably. That’s because not only do you meet many new people, but there’s always the chance that they might put you in contact with someone they know who would be a good person for you to know. And of course, you can return the favor.

You never know what opportunities or valuable business relationships can develop from your networking activities, but one thing’s for sure: You won’t know how much networking events can do for your small business unless you try.

Workshops

Business events listings often include many different types of workshops and training sessions. These events can focus on everything from business strategy to social media strategy, real estate investments, acquisition of capital and much more. Not only can you pick up valuable skills by attending these workshops for small business owners, but you can also make helpful new contacts.

Conferences & Seminars

Organizations and trade associations often hold conferences and seminars to provide their target audiences with information that is relevant to their particular industry. Seminars typically run shorter than conferences, lasting several hours or workdays, similar to workshops. Seminars typically have more than one speaker and have all guests together in one place.

Conferences are more spread out. They include a wide variety of events and are typically held at hotels. They include multiple sessions which start off with a keynote session and then offer additional sessions on the same topic. Conferences can last an entire week or several weeks depending on the event.

There are many benefits to attending conferences and seminars. Not only can you learn more about the latest developments in your field, but you can also meet thought leaders and network with other business owners.

Trade Shows

Trade shows are used as lead generation activities. Organizations may choose to host a trade show to boost their image as an industry leader, but trade shows are also very good for the small business owner who chooses to attend. You can attend as a guest for networking opportunities, or you can eventually run your own booth and spread the word about your brand.

Trade shows offer advertising, booth space, promotion, and speaking opportunities. These business events are typically held at large venues since they feature the products and services from over hundreds of vendors. Once you begin attending business events in Atlanta, you’ll probably receive mail and email notifications about other events. As your professional network grows larger, so will your opportunities. So grab a stack of business cards, practice your elevator speech and get some networking done!

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