Upcoming NYC Events 2012 and How to Optimize Them

Posted By Brie Austin In Category: Business , Events , Insights

Finding upcoming NYC events and knowing how to optimize them is key. As an entrepreneur you not only want to find effective events to attend, but also have a plan on how to best attend them — to get the most out of the time and money you invest into them. Below is a list of cost-effective upcoming events, and some ideas on how best to prepare and navigate at an event.
Most of you have just launched, or are preparing to launch your business. Others are still in the thought process stage, trying to decide if entrepreneurship is right for you.

Events can provide value. They offer knowledge-based workshops, networking opportunities, and a trade show floor full of existing and new products and services for you to evaluate.

With so many choices out there, where should you begin? There are more events than one can possibly attend; at least if you want to maintain your sanity. After all, you have a business to run, so you can’t be attending every event that comes along with the hope that “this will be the one that helps me.” And as a start up, you also have to consider the cost — both in terms of money and time — versus the value you’ll take away.

Many investors will scoff at your time as intangible. While I’ve spoken about the mind of investors before, and you might have to at times indulge them, don’t ever come to believe they’re correct about your time. Your time has value; respect it.

It is exciting to launch a business, or have a new business, and your enthusiasm may cause you to want to attend everything you can with an intent to promote your business. Take a breathe and ask yourself (a) what can I take away from the event? (b) want products or services am I interested in learning more about that will benefit my business? (c) can I afford the cost of entry and the time away from my business?

Click to view FAQs about the NY Xpo that takes place at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on October 17th from 9:00am until 5:30pm. it features 10,000+ executives, 200 exhibitors, and 40 seminars. They are providing free passes to the trade show exhibitor floor (you must register by September 14th, and use code Save15). If you register for a full access pass (includes the seminars, floor pass and networking), you can do so up until October 16th for $15, or for $49 also gain entry to the Small Business Influencer Awards Gala.

>> I liked this show when I reviewed it earlier this year. It is cost-effective and has lots of take-away. So how to prepare and get the most from it?

PLANNING AHEAD

EXHIBITORS: Review the list of the exhibitors a week before attending to identify a “narrow short list” of products/services that would provide you and/or your clients/customers immediate value. Don’t waste time now dreaming of a product/service you’re not ready to employ NOW. They’ll be plenty of other shows in the near future.

SEMINARS: Review the list to determine what knowledge will provide an immediate or short-term impact on advancing your business plan. Don’t partake in knowledge overload; choose the topics that you need to address first in regard to the stage of development your business is at. It is easy to get excited and want to attend everything, learn everything; you can’t, and it will burn you out to try.

NETWORKING: If you see a specific exhibitor and/or seminar presenter/speaker that you’re sure would be a great collaboration of mutual benefit, spend the time to do some research on them. Investigate their business, their expertise, their agenda. With social media so prevalent, find out who they are, what makes them tick.

AT THE XPO. Be sure to have a pen! When ever you meet anyone and take their card, be sure to make notes on the back so that you can quickly recall the conversation, the opportunity, the actions required. When you return home with a bag full of brochures, cards and hand-outs, believe me you’ll be amazed how easy it is to forget who was who. The notes on the back will help you quickly sort out who to contact.

Meeting exhibitors. if you see an opportunity to potentially sell your product/service and/or collaborate with an exhibitor, you need to have a plan. If possible, contact them before the show and coordinate a meeting, rather than approaching them on the trade show floor: they are there to sell, not be sold. Secondly, Put a note on the back of your card that you give to them; they will then be more likely to remember that you are someone for them to follow up with.

While it is always possible that you may bump into a great contact, for the most part most attendees are focused on their own agenda. To prepare, simply have your story organized; tell it quickly and succinctly: don’t wear people out with endless gabbing and self-promotion; don’t try to close on the spot. Find out if there is an opportunity, exchange contact info and set up a follow up meeting for the details.

OTHER OPPORTUNITIES

Another place to learn, explore and make business connections is at a MEETUP.com. There are so many meetups groups in the New York area that I can’t possibly list them all. Simply go to the site, enter your zip code, and then search for business — or anything else that interests you; non-business groups are sometimes great business opportunities.

To best utilize a meetup, you have to first understand who is going and why. Of all the business meetups I’ve attended over the years, ninety percent of the people attending were their to sell something, making it hard for me to sell anything. A few others were there to learn, not buy.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t make connections that will help your business. It just means that you need to have an plan, practical expectations, and an open mind that is flexible to the opportunities that present themselves. It was at a meetup where I befriended another entrepreneur, and we’re now joint venture partners of a business in India. So I tell you from first hand experience that real business contacts can be established.

Different meetups are good for different things. For example, Connecting to Greatness, NYEBN and YCEEYA are all business groups with a different approach that I had previously mentioned.

The first two are both well-run groups that often run mini-expo type of events. They present vendors for you to meet and talk with, as well as attendees to network with in nice and comfortable venues. They haven’t produced any business for me yet, but I’ve always enjoyed the outings, met some nice people, and found interesting products and services that I didn’t previously know about.

YCEEYA is more business development oriented, and works to initiate connections between its members. They will often take the time in a social setting to introduce the members present, open the floor for discussions about topics that the members voice. Other times they will have meetings in a more formal setting where invited speakers come to provide seminars on issues of their expertise, like social media, mobile technology, general Internet trends and technology advancements. It was at one of these that I got to meet and chat with Dave Kerpen of Likeable Media, who gave me a new way of viewing the use of social media. I also got to meet and talk with one of the leading minds on mobile technology and trends regarding a project I was involved with.

But you can also join Meetups that are more inline with your personal interest(s) too; they don’t have to be business oriented; movies, Broadway,hiking, biking, or ballroom dancing, whatever strikes your fancy can be a place to make friends that share your passions. And, people do business with people they know and like. So it could be advantageous to meet people in non-business settings where you share and bond over non-business interests, and then, later, it may evolve into potential business.

Remember that there are no rules as an entrepreneur: create as you go; envision, learn, progress, and adjust to fluid opportunities to obtain your goals.

LASTLY, never forget that your business is just business; it doesn’t define you, its not life, your dying breath will never be “I wish I had more time at the office!” It’s just a vehicle to indulge your creativity and hopefully make money doing it. Don’t forget to find joy in the moments; the path of an entrepreneur IS the adventure.

ORIGINALLY POSTED at Examiner.com in the NY Startup Business column

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About Brie Austin

Co-author of I'd Do It Again, he is a columnist/reporter for a variety of magazines in the areas of music, lifestyle, nightlife, travel and business. He also writes business documents and creates copy for websites.

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