There are countless opportunities to market ourselves, and for a small business owner, or someone who works for one, the number can be daunting.  We may think that declining an opportunity could mean missing out on the best lead we’ve ever had.  But unfortunately, this type of thinking is self-defeating and a complete waste of our time.

Not too long ago I was a vendor at a networking event.  My initial take was that it would be a good fit for me because of the potential attendees. However, I did no additional research other than ask how many people were expected to attend.  Think for a moment about how many times you have been invited to participate in event, whether as a vendor or an attendee.  How do you decide what invitation to accept and what to decline?  Do you have a set of guidelines that you prescribe to that helps you make the right decision?  My recent experience led me to create a set of guidelines that I would use in order to determine what events I would commit myself to:

  • Research last year’s event with former attendees and vendors to ascertain its benefits.
  • Determine if the location is inline with my target market – or a segment of it.
  • Check to see what other events are happening on that same day throughout the city that may affect attendance.
  • Ask for a list of other participating vendors.
  • Review the event’s agenda to determine how much time participants will be given to visit the vendors.
  • What is the cost of participation and is it reasonable given the expected attendance?
  • How long will the event be?
  • Is the event being promoted?  If so how, and by whom, and how much?

If something sounds too good to be true then chances are it just might be.  Small businesses need to pay close attention to where they are spending their time.  Although I do not own my own business, I do treat my work as my own business.  I want to ensure that my time is utilized in such a way that I fully maximize it whether I am networking, having a one to one, or sitting in a meeting.

Take time to ensure you protect your most valuable resource – time.  A little extra research can go a long way.

Keep it targeted.

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