Have you ever wondered why some entrepreneurs move faster in their business than others? I used to think there must be some exceptional skill, talent, or secret formula successful entrepreneurs had that I didn’t. While each of us has our unique strengths and abilities, I have finally figured out and experienced the difference for myself.
Successful people network and never stop networking. They value time and understand the fastest way to grow a business is by meeting and engaging with others.
One of the best ways to do this is by attending high-value conferences.
This past weekend, I participated in the 2017 Forbes-rated Next Gen Summit in New York City. It’s an annual conference for entrepreneurs, high-school age through early 20’s, hosted by Co-Founders, Justin Lafazan and Dylan Gambardella. Both founders were pleased with the overall outcome of the event.
“We had NBA and NFL Athletes, world-renowned fitness experts, Shark-Tank stars, Yale MD Psychiatrists, Forbes writers, underwater drone designers, billionaires, plus founders of billion dollar brands; 700+ people touched NGS this year, along with $4.1B in capital funds, 6.5-MM online impressions, 50 mentors plus 50 speakers,” says Lafazan.
Gambardella says, “Over 20 startups pitched their ideas to investors representing more than $4.1B in capital, while greater than 6.5-MM folks engaged with us online.”
It was a life-changing event for myself and everyone who attended. I even ran into fellow Influencive contributors Jonathan Maxim, CEO/Founder of the successful fitness app, Vea Fitness, and Jeremy Slate, Co-Founder of Get Featured. I highly recommend attending the annual Next Gen Summit whether you’re a millennial, a sponsor, the media, or an entrepreneur looking to bring value to this market. Lafazan and Gambardella are both commited to building a community for young entrepreneurs to learn from each other, support one another, and grow together.
The caliber of attendees and their understanding of the value of time stood out the most for me at this event. It exuded from every cell of their being through their level of attention to the speakers, hosts, and each other. How many times have you been to an event where people are aimlessly wandering around not knowing how to extract the most value from a conference?
Time is precious. What you do with it is how you create a life filled with purpose and meaning. The entrepreneurs at Next Gen Summit understood this. It was clear why so many of them were doing well. I met high school entrepreneurs running successful businesses on the side. Their biggest stress: deciding whether to continue school or focus on growing their business beyond a million dollars in revenue. Having this level of passion, focus, and commitment at such a young age made me think of all the aspiring entrepreneurs still filled with doubt and fear. The confidence these young business owners have is priceless. They understand how to take an idea and execute—a willingness every entrepreneur must have to build a business.
So what exactly happens at events so valuable to the time spent starting and growing a business?
Here are 5 reasons you need to attend high-value conferences.
Increase the Value of Your Network
You know the expression, “Your network is your net worth.” Well, this is true, and I’ve experienced it for myself. The biggest shift I made recently in my business was choosing to surround myself by key influencers connected to successful business owners, resources, and social media followings in the millions. It’s extremely uncomfortable at first because you’ll feel like you don’t belong. If you stay committed and stand firm in your worth, you’ll quickly learn the value you bring to the table. The results have been phenomenal—connecting me to the right people, which helped move my business faster and to a wider audience. Conferences are excellent places to meet and collaborate with entrepreneurs operating at a higher level than your day-to-day environment. The right connections can open incredible opportunities to help grow your business.
Practice Listening Skills
Especially in business, you can become consumed talking about your business, your wants, your needs. Successful entrepreneurs know that in order to build a business, you must offer a service or product providing a solution for others’ needs, wants, and frustrations. At business conferences, you have the opportunity to explore your listening skills.
The first evening of the Next Gen Summit, I joined along with some event attendees to attend a dinner held by one of the sponsors. The conversations I experienced with this younger generation was fascinating. I loved learning about their massive successes and plans for business growth. Their passion and excitement were contagious and inspiring. Remember, knowing how to listen allows you build deeper relationships, get to know people, and see how you can bring value.
Learn How to Pitch Your Business
As you meet different entrepreneurs and listen to their stories, you can share what you do in the marketplace. Here’s your chance to practice your pitch. Is it generating intrigue and interest? Were you asked more questions about your business? Practicing how to share what you offer allows you to analyze what’s effective—and where you need to improve. It gives you the confidence you can take back into the world.
Stay Ahead of the Game
Business industry trends are always shifting. It’s critical to stay ahead of the game and learn what the best leaders in your industry are doing. By the time some of these trends hit the public radar, you may have missed a priceless opportunity to get in early. These leaders tend to be at conferences which offer quality content and attract quality attendees.
Identify What Makes You Unique
One of my favorite learnings from events such as the Next Gen Summit is determining what makes me stand out. If you’re not sure what you offer a particular market, go to conferences with highly qualified attendees. As you listen to different stories and business needs, you start to see where you stand out, where your expertise lies, and where you can offer the most value. There is something unique you offer the world.
It’s your responsibility to place yourself in environments that allow you to figure out what that gift is.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.