10 Event Ideas to Grow Your Small Business

small business event ideasThe New Year. The time we all start eating raw carrots, hitting the gym, and watching our pennies.

But what about your business? What’s on the horizon this year? Sell more products? Get more leads? Retain customers?

Are live events in your marketing plan to achieve those goals? They should be!

Check out these fun facts:

  • 95% of marketers agree that live events provide attendees with a valuable opportunity to form in-person connections in an increasingly digital world (Source: The Bizzabo Blog)
  • 84% of event attendees say that they have a more positive opinion about the company, brand, product or service being promoted after the event (Source: EMI & Mosaic)
  • 81% of marketers believe that in the upcoming years, live events will become increasingly important to their organization’s success (Bizzabo)
  • 70% of users become regular customers after an experiential marketing event (EMI & Mosaic)

Pretty convincing, right?

Before you get overwhelmed and run off to wing a full-scale Conference, ease into the effort by hosting a workshop. Below are 10 specific workshop ideas great for small business outreach.  

Coffee Talk:

A casual, intimate event format great for networking, meet and greets, and information sessions. These intimate affairs give customers a chance to really bond with your brand and enhance customer loyalty.

TIP: Partner with a local coffee shop to sponsor the event to offset some or all of the cost. In addition, see what branding opportunities they can offer to elevate the brand – perhaps your logo in the coffee foam or branded biscotti – oh it’s a thing!!

How-To Class:

Group instruction from an expert where you walk away with valuable information.

TIP: What can you teach your customer’s that goes hand in hand with your product or service? Have a boutique? Teach customers how to style for their body type. Have a gym? Bring in a nutritionist to show them how to make healthy snacks in between meals. By nature, they won’t want to come alone. They will bring a friend, and voila! New customers at your fingertips and a deeper connection with existing ones.


Group instruction from an expert where you learn a skill and then walk away with a tangible token of that exercise.

TIP: Choose a make-and-take token with a long shelf-life so they are consistently reminded of your brand and the experience.


A speech or talk in which a new product, idea, or piece of work is shown and explained to an audience.

TIP: Do not make this death by powerpoint! For inspiration – CreativeMornings does a wonderful job here in our local Charlotte market.

Fireside Chat:

A small informal conversation with an expert on a topic that interests your audience. These are dynamite for grabbing coveted time on busy calendars.

TIP: Keep it small, short and exclusive. Choose a topic that answer’s this question – what are your Customer’s pain points? Choose an expert that can speak to that pain, meanwhile positioning your product or service as a key solution. As they say…sell them what they want and give them what they need.

Panel Discussion:

An open forum showcase of three or four experts with a moderator and a series of questions on a particular topic. Primed to promote interaction and learning.

TIP: Local radio hosts usually don’t get paid like big stars, and they like exposure. Consider them as moderators and a way to draw a crowd.


A close cousin of the panel discussion, this format lets everyone mix it up with conversation and debate.

TIP: Have a handful of questions and topics ready to go, and try to draw all your participants into the chat. The success lies in the absence of hierarchy.

Lunch & Learn:

A discussion or training where lunch is provided.

TIP: This doesn’t need to be a 5-course meal. A simple boxed sandwich lunch can do the trick – both for your budget and for the easy cleanup.

Guest Speaker:

A speaker in front of the room, talking about a particular topic. More formal in nature than the coffee talk and fireside chat and more conducive for larger groups.

TIP: A well-known name gets butts in seats! Otherwise, consider a series of experts on a very popular topic to add variety and energy to the event.


A longer session than most of the alternatives mentioned above focused on a single theme. The primary goal is discussion and training.

TIP: Don’t make these talking head sessions. Look for experiential activities to elevate the topic and encourage engagement. Half-day is plenty.

We are passionate about the power of event design and strategic planning. When done correctly, events can grow your business and help you achieve the resolutions and goals you have set for it.

And if you need a little bit of help, we are here for you!



eventfully angela

Eventfully Angela is a premier independent event management partner specializing in Corporate Events and Event Branding. Based in Charlotte, NC, Eventfully Angela fills the resource gaps of businesses both large and small, with premium and customized services. Specialties include full-service planning, sourcing and venue selection, on-site day of support, consulting and contract audits, event marketing and branding, experiential event design, and fully customized event registration websites. 704-754-2627 angela@eventfullyangela.com