With the new year on the horizon, it’s time to start planning for 2020. There are lots of great marketing conferences and small business events happening around the UK next year. If you’re looking to improve your small business and build on your skills, get your diary out and have a look at these events.
From business advice and networking opportunities to introductions to the latest technology – conferences, trade shows and events are a great way to get inspired. Here are a few of the best small business events to look out for over the next 12 months.
When: 4-5 August 2020
Who: small business owners and founders
More info: turingfest.com
Turing Fest is always one of my favourite small business events of the year, and I can’t wait for the 2020 edition. The two-day event, which is based right here in Edinburgh, brings together some of the best names in tech.
Expect lots of insights and inspiration from world-leading experts, covering everything from marketing and HR to engineering and product development. You’ll be able to pick up tips for every aspect of your small business.
2020’s speakers have yet to be announced, but previous Turing Fest speakers have included Oli Gardener from Unbounce, Rand Fishkin from Moz, Jono Alderson from Yoast, Amy Zima from Spotify, Rebecca Moore from Skyscanner and Meri Williams from Monzo.
Festival of Marketing
When: 7-8 October 2020
Who: marketers and small business owners
More info: festivalofmarketing.com
The Festival of Marketing is one of the biggest and best events dedicated to marketing in the UK. If you’re a small business owner or marketing professional, this event should definitely be in your calendar.
The festival has 12 different stages, full of inspirational keynote speeches, debates and panels. There’s also a “Festival City” which is the perfect place for networking, taking part in workshops and getting hands-on with interactive experiences.
The line-up for the Festival of Marketing 2020 hasn’t been released yet, but if it’s anything like this year’s festival, we’re in for a treat! 2019’s speakers included top names in marketing from brands such as Visa, Tesco, Made.com and Benefit Cosmetics. Although this isn’t a dedicated small business event, there are plenty of tips you can pick up for your small business from the big brand experts.
Scotland’s Trade Fair
When: 19-20 January 2020/20-21 September 2020
Who: product makers
More info: scotlandstradefairs.co.uk
If your small business sells physical products (rather than services), a trade fair is a great opportunity to connect with buyers and wholesalers, and network with other businesses.
Scotland’s Trade Fair takes place twice throughout the year, with the Spring version held in January and the Autumn trade show in September. Both are held in the SECC Glasgow and are the perfect small business events for creative businesses with handmade or artisan products.
Whether you produce homeware, clothing, accessories, art, gifts or even food & drink, this event will get your small business in front of the right people.
When: October 2020
Who: startups and entrepreneurs
More info: startup-summit.com
Another one of the great local small business events to add to your list is Startup Summit. The date and line-up are still under wraps, but keep an eye out for announcements as you won’t want to miss this event if you’re a startup or entrepreneur.
Providing plenty of inspiration as well as practical advice, the speakers will talk you through how to survive in the startup world and turn your idea into a thriving business.
Past speakers at Startup Summit included names like James Watt from BrewDog, Marie Owen from LS Productions, Josh Littlejohn from Social Bite and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
When: 16-17 April 2020/1-2 October 2020
Who: SEO and marketing people
More info: brightonseo.com
Brighton SEO is one of the most popular marketing conferences in the UK, and it’s one of my personal favourite small business events. Demand for tickets is always high, so book as far in advance as you can. Don’t worry if you miss out on tickets for April, as there’s another conference in October – and live videos from the event are also available online.
The event brings together some of the best experts in the world of search and SEO. The first day is dedicated to training courses, while the second day is full of talks on a variety of topics from SEO experts.
Speakers at past events include Fernando Angulo from SEMrush, Steve Rayson from Buzzsumo, Taneth Evans from The Times and Kaspar Szymanski from Search Brothers. The training day includes courses on everything from Google Analytics to copywriting and mobile SEO.
Digital City Expo
When: 11-12 March 2020
Who: small business owners and marketers
More info: digitalcityfestival.com
Part of the Digital City Festival, Digital City Expo is a two-day event for ambitious people who want to discover new ways to grow their small businesses.
Digital City Expo includes several strands, such as Marketing Show North, eCommerce Show North, Tech Show North and the Media Zone, to help you grow no matter what type of business you have.
Marketing Show North, in particular, is one of my favourite small business events to attend. It’s currently the biggest marketing expo outside of London, and there will be over 120 exhibitors at the event.
Expect seminars and talks from leading professionals and industry experts at the 2020 event. Previous speakers and exhibitors have included brands like Just Eat, Moonpig, Channel 4 and the University of Salford.
When: 21-22 October 2020
Who: social media and marketing people
More info: socialmediaweek.org/london
This is a key event to look out for if you’re interested in social media marketing for your small business. With five days of talks and workshops, you’re sure to find something to suit you.
If you’re a social media professional or a small business owner looking for the best way to utilise social media for your company, SMW is a great choice from all the social media-focused small business events in the UK in 2020.
Big names have attended previous events, including representatives from Google, Pinterest, Facebook, Shutterstock, Twitter, BBC, Hootsuite and lots more.
Where: Newcastle upon Tyne
When: 27-28 April 2020
Who: small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups
More info: atomicon.co.uk
Atomicon describe themselves as “the UK’s most epic business conference for small business owners who want to grow.” If you’re looking for some great insights from the digital marketing industry, and a fun atmosphere, this could be the small business event for you.
Topics covered during the conference will include everything from video marketing and SEO masterclasses to how to raise your prices and how to start attracting better clients.
2020’s speakers include Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith, best-selling marketing author Drew Davis and many more. If you miss out on any of the keynote talks on the day, they’ll all be recorded so you can watch them once you’re back home.
When: 19 March 2020
Who: event-based businesses
More info: eventit.org.uk
If your small business is based within the events, meetings and hospitality sector, EVENTIT is one of 2020’s must-visit small business events. With keynote speakers, networking opportunities and an exhibition showcase, it’s the perfect place to learn and make connections.
As well as hearing from industry experts and event leaders on everything from the latest technology to culinary magic, you’ll also be able to network with hundreds of Scottish events suppliers and event organisers.
The Event Showcase exhibition is also a great opportunity to sell your products and services to over 900 attendees from the industry who will be sourcing suppliers for upcoming events. Make sure to register now to take part!
To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
The Best Networking Events & Clubs to Join in Edinburgh
6 Tips for Exhibiting at a Conference or Trade Show
Where to Get Small Business Support in Edinburgh
Edinburgh’s Best Work-Friendly Cafés for Small Businesses