Thousands of us will be headed off to Affiliate Summit soon in anticipation of days of meetings, sessions, and networking. Most of us have our calendars full of appointments and activities we want to participate in. But don’t mistake having a full calendar with having an actual plan for the conference. Your calendar makes up the details in the short term, but your overall plan is more important in the long term.
I’m going to ask you to really think about all this. Maybe even jot down some notes to yourself as you read. How you spend your time can mean the difference in tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for your company over the next year.
Why Do You Need a Plan?
Unless you are going to Affiliate Summit purely for the fun of it without any regard for how much time or money you are spending, you need to have a set of overall goals you hope to achieve for the conference. Will you have to justify to your boss why they sent you should you want to go again next year? Will you have to decide for your own small business whether it was worth the time and money before you plan to go again in August? For yourself personally do you need to feel like you accomplished something for it to have been worth leaving your family?
What Kind of Plan Do You Need?
Overall, you need a set of goals or an overarching theme for your trip. It’s going to be different for every person and even different for every person each trip that they take. As I have progressed in my business, I have found that my Affiliate Summit goals tend to change. Here are some things to take into consideration that might be part of your plan:
- Meeting with existing business partners just to touch base and rekindle relationships.
- Meeting with existing business partners to pitch new ideas and push new ideas (which is different than just touching base).
- Finding new business partners to grow your business.
- Growing your business brand in general.
- Growing your personal brand.
- Learning about the industry in general at a high level if you are new.
- Launch a totally new product or site.
- Learning more about specific topics you are having trouble with or are just interested in.
- Building your overall network in anticipation of making a job change or business redirection in the coming year.
Each of these is a great goal, but you can’t really focus on every single one of them. You’re better of considering what your business really needs right now and how best you can accomplish that in only 3-4 days.
Approach everything that you do with your goals in the back of your mind. Who do you sit with at breakfast? That depends if you are looking to meet new people, renew existing relationships, or just listen in on people who talk a lot and might share knowledge. Which parties do you attend? That depends if you want to hang out with your existing network or find a new one. Every choice you make during the conference should be a part of your overall plan.
After the Conference Is Over
On your way home on the plane, over dinner with your team before you leave, or within a couple of days of arriving home, think about what your master plan was and if it was successful. Do it while it is fresh in your mind. Over the coming months you will have a better idea of whether what you did worked. Do you feel like you got your name out? Did any of the people you met with turn into profitable relationships? You may not always know for several months, but it’s good to reflect on it before your next conference.
As for me, I’m still making my Affiliate Summit West plan. My plan for my very first Affiliate Summit was just to figure out how to do it. Since then it has evolved from networking to building my business brand to new strategic partnerships to building my personal brand. The great thing about having a plan is when you look back and find it was successful!
What are your goals for Affiliate Summit? Do you have a plan?