The Ultimate Guide to SMB TechFest for MSPs
In less than 30 days, experts and leaders from the worlds of business and technology plan to gather in Irvine, California for SMB TechFest. Now in its sixth year, the SMB TechFest is a top-50 channel conference for the tech industry that will occur on January 22 and 23, 2020. The January 22 and 23 conference is the first of four SMB TechFests to occur this year.
From A-list session speakers and panels to a large expo hall containing notable companies in business and tech, the conference is a terrific opportunity for industry practitioners to learn new trends and network with their peers. It is especially relevant for managed service providers (“MSPs”) who wish to take their businesses to the next level.
Whether you have attended SMB TechFest before or are making your first appearance, this guide is designed to help you get the most out of your time at the conference. In this guide, you will learn more about the festival itself, why MSPs should attend, and fun things to do in Irvine.
An Overview of SMB TechFest
Started six years ago, SMB TechFest is a quarterly technology conference that provides solution providers, MSPs, VARs, cloud providers, and others with access to industry expert speakers and relevant content. According to the conference organizers, many attendees belong to the MSP/cloud and security categories, yet there are also a good number of telecom and IT professionals who attend.
The overarching goal of the conference is to help technology providers make connections and learn about current and future technology trends. Along with the substantive discussion, SMB TechFest features a large IT mixer, hosted bar, entertainment, and prizes.
SMB TechFest host Dave Seibert and his team aim to provide the perfect mix of education, networking, and entertainment. They are clearly on to something, as SMB TechFest has been named a top 50 channel conference in publications like ChannelPro, Small Biz Thoughts, VAR Guy, and CompTIA.
The pre-day for the conference is January 22 and the main day is January 23. Both days of SMB TechFest occur at the AV Irvine Event Center in Irvine. The AV Irvine Event Center (which is a new location for this year’s festival) is only 15 minutes away from John Wayne Airport. If John Wayne Airport isn’t an option, you can also select from four additional airports which are approximately 90 minutes away. If you are traveling to the conference, there are many hotel options (which can be found here).
Who Should Attend?
Ultimately, most (if not all) attendees of SMB TechFest attend the conference in order to learn about technology trends and connect with their peers. But having said this, SMB TechFest is a particularly compelling conference for MSPs.
Many of the topics discussed by speakers and panelists are valuable for MSPs. This is because many prior speakers at the conference have been MSP founders, consultants, and coaches. Simply put, these speakers have extensive experience helping MSPs create value for their clients. They are attuned to current and future technology trends, allowing MSP owners and employees to see what’s occurring around the corner so they can be best positioned to leverage these new trends.
Along with the speakers, SMB TechFest is a terrific opportunity for MSPs to find new clients. According to the conference organizers, many conference attendees have a significant amount of buying power. Specifically, 74 percent have final decision authority and 22 percent have influence. 48 percent of attendees are principals and 22 percent are trusted advisors. Whether MSPs attend the conference primarily to find new clients or are hoping to do so serendipitously, SMB TechFest provides unique chances for MSPs to build relationships with soon-to-be clients.
Looking at the SMB TechFest testimonials shows that MSPs find real value by attending. As one MSP put it, “The topics and content were informative and relevant to our IT landscape as an MSP … The panel speakers, trends and their techniques were very impactful. I also enjoyed my time networking with like-minded professionals.”
What is the Agenda?
The detailed agenda for the upcoming SMB TechFest has not yet been publicly released. That said, a very brief agenda can be found here. The pre-day of the conference (which is invitation only) contains a series of roundtables and workshops. The main day has a variety of sessions, a comprehensive expo hall, an IT mixer, and refreshments throughout the day/
Like at prior SMB TechFest conferences, there is a long list of renowned speakers and panelists discussing the latest news in technology and business. For instance, at the October 17, 2019, SMB TechFest, attendees could sit in on a presentation called Top 5 Successful Cyberattacks and How to Prevent Them. The presenter was Eric Rockwell of inSOC and he discussed five critical security controls that would have prevented the most successful cyber breaches from the past two years. Another speaker from RapidFire touched on why internal cybersecurity is your next big revenue generator.
These are just some examples, but the fact remains that this quarter’s conference will present knowledgeable speakers and panelists on relevant topics like cybersecurity. With these insights in mind, MSPs can provide more value to their clients and grow their businesses.
Things to do in Irvine
Whether you are looking to take a quick break from the conference or extend your trip a few days, there is plenty to see and do in Irvine.
While it may depend on your preferences and available time, you can take advantage of California’s warm weather by hitting the beach. Crystal Cove State Park features 3.2 miles of beach, along with many opportunities for camping, hiking, surfing, or biking. Balboa Pier Beach is another great option if you are looking to get out of the building and enjoy California’s natural elements.
If you are looking for some high-quality shopping, look no further than Irvine Spectrum Center. It is a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex that is only a ten-minute drive from the conference. Whether you are looking for a gift or a great meal, you will find it here.
Finally, don’t hesitate to check out the Lyon Air Museum. It is an aerospace museum that contains military aircraft and other vehicles (especially from World War II). It is a fantastic museum for both kids and adults. Whether or not you are a history buff, it is definitely worth your time.
Why MSPs Should Attend
Ultimately, SMB TechFest presents a terrific opportunity for MSPs. As referenced above, the plethora of knowledgeable speakers can help MSPs create even more value for their clients. Along with the knowledge gained from speakers and panelists, the conference is a great opportunity to connect with peers and potential clients. Walking the expo hall or speaking with a conference attendee at the IT Mixer, there are plenty of chances for MSPs to make interesting connections. And better yet, the conference is fun. It is a great opportunity to get out of the building and be immersed in the conference’s entertainment.
In sum, MSPs should take advantage of this conference. It may be the catalyst for new and exciting things for their businesses.