Whether you are a solopreneur, a corporate ride or die, or a small team of seven, Denver Startup Week is the must-attend business event of the fall season for your Colorado team. The five-day long event, September 16-20, 2019, is a celebration of entrepreneurship and an opportunity to learn from some of the city’s most prominent and growing business leaders. This year’s ninth annual event is looking to rival last year’s with more than 17,000 professionals in attendance and more than 400 FREE sessions and networking events to partake in.
Looking for a way to make the most out of the week? Our team has compiled must-have tips to make the most out of the five-day event! Keep these strategies in mind to maximize your education and experience throughout the event and head into Q4 with a reengaged enthusiasm and direction for your business!
Prepare Your Schedule in Advance
With 417 programs happening throughout the week, this event requires major pre-planning to maximize your experience. Scroll through the session options and start by making notes when sessions pop out at you. Does the session explore a new topic you’ve been wondering about? Or maybe, the session offers you a question you really need answering! Find a comfortable balance between engaging, educational sessions and time for networking or reconvening with your team members. We recommend choosing the sessions you plan to attend at least two weeks in advance. Also (from experience) plan out 2 full days and then play the others by ear. Burnout from Denver Startup Week is real! Finally, don’t forget to register for the sessions you’ll be attending on the schedule as this allows the staff and presenters to have an idea of how many attendees there will be for each session.
Make a “Must Attend” Session List
Our team has gathered a few of our “must attend” sessions. Whether you are spending your whole week downtown Denver or just popping in between work these four sessions should be a permanent placeholder on your schedule. From experience, we know the day can get away from you but no matter the circumstance commit to going to these four sessions at #DenStartupWeek.
Must attend events:
These are our most recommended sessions of the week:
Are you creating content that you believe is under-performing? Or are you looking to start a website and aren’t sure what content to create? Regardless of your situation, this session will help you step back and create a content strategy that will ensure you have a purpose and audience in mind for every piece of content you publish. You’ll pick up tips that will help you narrow your content focus, identify your unique content angle, match the language of your prospective customers for SEO, and better understand what content to create and why.
Do you have a culture plan for when your startup goes beyond the garage? How do you develop people that were with with you early, and blend the newcomers in your growth phase? Or, what do you do if you inherit a dysfunctional culture in an established company? This session will focus on a critical element of any organization – the culture, and how to create a dynamic, supportive, challenging environment.
(Yes, this is our session – shameless plug)! This hands-on workshop will walk you through how to get the most bang for your buck on social media, even if your buck is smaller than your competitors. Social media has become a primary marketing tool and we know if you’re not advertising on social media effectively, you’re losing business. We’re going to show you how to effectively set up a paid social campaign and how to utilize audiences and creative to get the most out of your startup budget.
Sometimes as a creative entrepreneur, you get “stuck”. Stuck in how to handle the ins and outs of running your business. In this session, you will learn from four experts about getting down to creative business. This is a must attend for all our fellow creatives!
Attend Sessions Outside Your Interests
While you may be inclined to stick within the session track most related to your business, you can gather valuable information from sessions led by businesses that are nothing like yours. We’re not suggesting you wander too far off track — but take time to learn from other star players who have a model you desire.
Furthermore, when it comes to addressing specific issues or struggles in your business, it is widely said that the best advice often times comes from someone who isn’t involved in your business, because they can approach the problem with fresh eyes. The same thought holds true here. You may discover a new idea or way of doing business from a session that’s not directly relatable to your company. Think about your specific company tactics and your overall entrepreneurial goals before you schedule out your week!
Map Out Your Session Locations
The sessions for this event are happening throughout the downtown district of Denver. Keep track of which locations you’ll be going to at each time. Whether you write out a list or save the locations in the maps app on your phone, your preparedness will help you stick to your schedule (and show up on time)!
Also, keep your session distances in mind when prepping for Denver Startup Week. You don’t want to schedule back to back sessions in different areas as you’ll end up having to commute and will undoubtedly make you walk in more than 20 minutes late for your next session. (Awkward!) If you’re going to be walking back and forth throughout downtown you’ll want clothing and shoes that can keep up with you. Similarly, take a peek at the weather each morning before you leave the house in case an umbrella or jacket might come in handy. When we prepare for Denver Startup Week, we plan on being out of the office the entire day (off-site and offline!) to make the most of all of the free sessions.
Don’t Forget About Lunch
You’ll be busy all week running from one session to the next, but don’t forget to make the time to grab a bite to eat. While this obvious reminder is here to ensure you stay fueled throughout the event, it is also here to mention how useful a lunch hour can be when sharing a meal with other business owners and employees. It’s a great time to build professional connections that may come in handy in the future.
When you’re mapping out session locations, take a look at restaurants and eateries in the area. Knowing where you’re going will be useful to keep on top of whatever time you have available for lunch. On a budget? Plan to pack a lunch or don’t attend sessions over the lunch hour for ample time to head home in between. Find someone to ask to lunch, or if you’re brown-bagging it, find someone else who is as well! Use lunch as built-in networking time to maximize your experience!
Lunchtime is also the perfect moment to catch up on emails, team calls or client check-ins. We love to time block at McLernon & Co. and an hour or two between sessions is plenty to get a handle on your work for the day!
Network, Network, Network
Denver Startup Week is the largest free event of its kind throughout the world. Take advantage of the opportunity you have to connect with other businesses and build a professional network. We all know the importance of networking, but it can be a challenge to put yourself out there. There’s no better stage than this one as thousands of other business professionals are doing the same. Go into Denver Startup week ready to learn about each person you meet and their company. Listening and asking plenty of questions is key! Then, once it’s natural, tell others about yourself! Have a plan to follow up on your networking efforts quickly, either sending “nice to meet you” emails each evening, or the week after Denver Startup Week. Do not let your networking efforts be hindered by poor follow up timeliness!
These are our most recommended sessions for networking this week:
- Denver Startup Week Opening Block Party
- Women Who Startup Rally
- Stronger Toget(her)
- Denver Startup Week Bash
Going into Denver Startup Week prepared will not only help you to maximize your experience but a structured plan will allow those precious moments away from your inbox or clients to be all the more worthwhile. Set a plan that allows for both education and networking so you can leave the week with a notebook full of resources, a better connection to the entrepreneurial community and a new set of contacts that hopefully turn into clients.
Attending Denver Startup Week? Connect with us on social, we’d love to follow along with your #DenStartupWeek experience on social media and possibly meet you in a session!