5 Small-Business Conferences to Attend in 2022

Attending small-business conferences is one of the best ways to network, build connections, and create leads for your company.

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As a small-business owner, networking is one of the most important things you can do to grow your business. Attending small-business conferences—especially those related to your specific field—is a great investment in your company’s future. Here are some of the best small-business conferences taking place in 2022 and why you should consider attending.

Table of contents

What is a small-business conference?

Small-business conferences vary widely in content, but in a nutshell, these are events aimed at gathering together small-business owners and helping them grow their companies. At a typical conference, you can expect to hear presentations from industry leaders, participate in workshops, and spend time networking with other professionals.

Networking is such a huge part of these conferences, so don’t skip out on the social events included in small-business conferences, even if you’re not the biggest extrovert. Lunches, dinners, and parties are perfect environments for making friends, learning from other business owners, spreading brand awareness, and chatting with contacts in a more casual setting.

Which small-business conference should you attend?

Finding the right conference for your business and brand can feel a little overwhelming, but a great way to narrow down your search is by talking to other small-business owners in your industry. If your business is in tech, find out which conferences cater to technology thought leadership. If you’re a brand new startup, find conferences that draw in venture capitalists and angel investors.

Keep in mind, you may need to travel across the country to find the perfect small-business conference, but it should be worth your while and tax deductible!

Our top picks for 2022

We’ve highlighted five of our top picks for small-business conferences happening in 2022. Whether you’re able to attend in person or virtually, all of these events tend to have a great turnout, and have the potential to add real value to your business.

1. Small Business Expo

Small Business Expo pricing

Pass type
Pricing
Online attendance (any event)$0.00
In-person attendance (any location)$0.00

Data as of 3/16/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The Small Business Expo is one of the most widely attended conferences for small-business owners. Held in various cities across the US, the Small Business Expo draws in entrepreneurs, seasoned professionals, and presenters from all kinds of industries. And best of all, it’s free to attend! Check out the list of locations to find one close to you.

2. WBENC

WBENC conference pricing

Pass type (for small-business owners)
Early bird pricing (before April 6, 2022)
Regular pricing
Features
Full event pass $849.00$949.00 online registration; $1,049.00 onsite registrationAccess to general sessions, meals, and receptions on all days of the conference
Day pass$499.00$549.00 registration; $559.00 onsite registrationAccess to general sessions and meals on one day of the conference

Data as of 3/16/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The WBENC (The Women's Business Enterprise National Council) Conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, this year, as the organization celebrates its 25th anniversary. The WBENC is the largest organization in the US that certifies women-owned businesses and empowers women business owners, so if you fall under that umbrella, this conference would be an amazing opportunity for networking.

3. INBOUND

INBOUND conference pricing

Pass type
Price
Features
General admission (in person)Pricing tiers starting at $599.00Access to all streaming and in-person session and content, concierge assistance for hotel booking
VIP (in person)$1,499.00All benefits of general admission, access to exclusive HubSpot VIP welcome party, complimentary lunch, reserved seating, advanced registration, VIP lounge access, and early access to hotel blocks
Starter Pass (online)FreeAccess to all live-streamed Spotlight content
Powerhouse Pass (online)Pricing tiers starting at $69.00One year of access to all Spotlight content and select Breakout content, specialized digital only content, community connection through online networking chats, and entry into a sponsored giveaway

Data as of 3/16/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

For the past two years, this conference run by HubSpot has been exclusively virtual, which makes this year’s hybrid experience the first of its kind! Join in person for three days of speakers and networking in Boston, Massachusetts, or join for two days online from wherever you are. INBOUND focuses on success through marketing, business management, and customer satisfaction. Past speakers have included the likes of Oprah Winfrey and the entertaining HubSpot cofounder Darmesh Shah.

4. LeadsCon

LeadsCon conference pricing

Pass type
Price
Features
General admission – individual$1,595.00Access to keynotes, networking events, general sessions, exhibit hall, and post-show content
General admission – group (3+)$1,445.00Access to keynotes, networking events, general sessions, exhibit hall, post-show content, and $150.00 off each registration fee
General admission – group (8+)$1,295.00Access to keynotes, networking events, general sessions, exhibit hall, post-show content, and $300.00 off each registration fee

Data as of 3/16/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

LeadsCon was founded in 2007 and has been holding conferences for marketers all over the US since 2008. This small-business conference focuses on customer lead generation, direct-response marketing, and recent changes because of technology. This year you can expect helpful lead-generation workshops, special events, and keynote presentations from big names like Seth van der Swaagh—Google’s head of advertising.

5. Social Media Week

Social Media Week conference pricing

Pass type
Early bird pricing (before April 4, 2022)
Online registration
Features
Virtual Pass$239.20$299.00Unlimited virtual access to all Main Stage and workshop session content for one year and a daily recap newsletter from Adweek
Standard Pass$639.20$799.00 (Discounts for undergraduate students, nonprofit organizations, and Adweek+ subscribers)Access to Main Stage content and workshops, complimentary breakfast and lunch, one month of on-demand access of virtual content, and a daily recap newsletter from Adweek
Premium Pass$959.20$1,199.00Access to Main Stage content and workshops, priority seating, complimentary breakfast and lunch and evening cocktails, VIP lounge access, express check-in, one-year digital Adweek+ subscription, one-on-one networking portal, and a daily recap newsletter from Adweek

Data as of 3/16/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Run by Adweek, this conference covers all things social media. Learn how to better market your brand by exploring themes like content creator collaboration, data privacy, and even virtual reality. This is also a great event for rubbing shoulders with top social media influencers. Attendees can purchase a three-day in-person pass, or a virtual pass for this conference.

Other ideas for networking

Of course, there are other ways to network as a small-business owner. If you’re unable to attend any of these conferences or can’t find one you want to commit to this year, be sure to make time for other important networking opportunities. Some might be simpler than you think!

Be friendly (and active) online

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but every interaction you have online will be tied to your brand, so it’s crucial to make a good impression. Chat with other business owners on their social channels, respond to comments, and try hosting a Q&A. The more you interact with people (in a positive way), the better your reputation will be.

Join local organizations

One of the best ways to get your face (and your business) out there is to be an active member of your community. Consider joining a local club or group related to your specific field. This is also a great way to find out about local events and expos where you can showcase your business.

Partner with charity events

Find a cause you’re passionate about and sponsor a charity event with your business. Attendees will gain exposure to your brand, and other business owners will become familiar with you as well.

Provide excellent customer service

Last but not least, strive for excellence when it comes to customer service. Be professional, kind, and accommodating. Consider providing discounts and referral programs to loyal customers as well (but be careful not to devalue your time or work).

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The takeaway

Whether you own your own business or work for a small business, attending business conferences can be a huge asset to growth. Small-business conferences can give attendees new skills, insightful viewpoints, tips from industry experts, and most importantly—an opportunity to connect with other professionals.

Want to learn more about networking for your small business? Check out these related articles on Business.org.

Related reading

Small-business conferences FAQ

Which small-business conferences are free?

The most popular free small-business conference is the Small Business Expo, which is held in various major cities throughout the US.

Should I attend a small business conference?

If you own a small business, you should definitely consider attending at least one small business conference or leadership event every year, if possible. These events have the potential to grow your business exponentially based on networking connections alone.

What is the SAME conference in 2022?

SAME stands for the Society of American Military Engineers. The SAME Federal Small Business Conference is for small-business owners who hope to interact with the private sector, and it will be held in November 2022.

When is the DoE small business conference in 2022?

The DoE (Department of Energy) will not be hosting an in-person conference this year, but it will hold a series of virtual outreach events from February to June of 2022.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Emily Garland
Written by
Emily Garland
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