Conferences provide many more benefits to entrepreneurs than solely travel and adventure to new places. Each year, you can find an unlimited number of events that focus on a specific niche, business ownership, or military-affiliated entrepreneurship.

Attending a conference can offer a continuing return on investment if you remember to do the following:


Make sure to have plenty of business cards handy because you never know whom you may meet. Whether it be a vendor who can give you a great deal or someone who can refer business your way, conferences are an ideal platform to make new business relationships.

Tip: Make notes on the back of business cards you receive from contacts to help you remember anything important you discussed or details that stood out about the connection. For example, if you met someone who mentioned giving you 20% off marketing services, jot it down on the back of the card.


As soon as you return home from your travels, follow up with your new connections. You want to reach out to the people you interacted with while you are still fresh in their minds and the motivation of the event is still in the air. Send an email to thank them for the connection and include any follow-through on items discussed.


Take notes. Experts in any number of sectors are there to share lessons learned along with useful tips that you can apply to your daily business interactions. Owning a business is a continuous learning process, so don’t be afraid to try out what you learned.

Here is a quick list of 2016 conferences worth checking out:

EMBARK: A two-day conference held in Norfolk, VA, presented by The MilSpo Project. Taking place on September 23-24, the focus is on the military spouse entrepreneur industry, and topics include challenges faced by today’s spouse community, development of new business ideas, and more. Speakers to be announced soon. Learn more at The MilSpo Project.

AUSA: The largest military-affiliated conference of the year, AUSA brings together vendors, military personnel, and their families for a three-day gathering. Whether you invest in opportunities to be an exhibitor or network as an attendee, the exposition attracts thousands annually. Registration and exhibitor details can be found at AUSA Meeting.

Inc. 500/5000: Inc. has taken on a commanding role in supporting military-affiliated entrepreneurs through its Military Entrepreneur Program. Specifically, the program introduces veterans and military spouse business owners to successful CEOs for mentoring sessions. This San Antonio conference takes place in October and features Tony Robbins. Details on the agenda, speakers, and MEP program is at: INC.