Whether you are a solopreneur, a corporate ride or die, or a small team of six, Denver Startup Week is the must-attend business event of the fall season for your Colorado team. The five-day long event, September 24-28, 2018, 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 eighth annual event is looking to rival last year’s with more than 20,000 professionals in attendance and more than 300 FREE sessions and networking events to partake in.

Looking for ways 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 re-engaged enthusiasm and direction for your business! 

Prepare Your Schedule in Advance

With 376 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 3 full days and then play the others by ear. Burnout from Denver Startup Week is real!

Finally, don’t forget to register at denverstartupweek.org for the overall event and for the sessions you’ll be attending on the schedule.

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 have a place 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:

Your Best Leads Are Right Under Your Nose

No matter what type of business you’re in, sales are the most pinnacle part of company growth. But in the busy life of an entrepreneur how do you find time to network and create new connections while trying to run a lean business? In this session learn how to take your existing customer base and create aggressive growth opportunities from your already established clients.

Social Media Strategy for Startups

(Yes, this is our session – shameless plug!) This hands-on workshop builds the foundation for a successful social media strategy within a growing business. Social media has become a primary marketing tool and we know if you’re not using social media effectively, you’re losing business. A quick overview will introduce the concepts and then hands-on time allows you to begin your strategy while we are there to help!

The Product Marketer’s Playbook

Every business owner knows that marketing is the key to expanding your customer base and spreading the word about your products. Getting started with product marketing can be an overwhelming prospect. In this session they’ll cover product messaging, how to build buy-in product marketing, campaigns for user acquisition, and creative ways to continue your product promotion efforts.

Move Fast And Break Your Process

Sometimes as an entrepreneur, you get “stuck”. Stuck in old corporate habits, stuck on rules, or stuck on how the process should be done. In this session, you will learn from three experts who shifted away from the process for speed and flexibility. Sounds scary? Or maybe liberating? This is a must attend to see if a change is in order for your mindset or business.

Attend Sessions Outside Your Interests

While you may be inclined to stick within the session track most related to your business, or struggles you are currently having in 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 oftentimes 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 central business 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 walk in more than 20 minutes late for your next session. (Awkward!)  If you’re going to be walking back and forth throughout the business district 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:

  1. Denver Startup Week Opening Block Party
  2. Women Who Startup Rally
  3. Downtown Denver Coloring Party
  4. Denver/Boulder AdTech Meetup

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 Denver entrepreneurial community and a new set of contacts that will hopefully turn into clients and long term connections.

Attending Denver Startup Week? Connect with us on Instagram, we’d love to follow along with your #DenStartupWeek experience on social media and possibly meet you in a session!

Looking for more resources regarding Denver Startup Week? We’ve also blogged about the Top 10 Denver Startup Week Sessions for Digital Marketers and the Top 5 Denver Startup Week Sessions for Product Based Companies.