Entrepreneurs are always on the lookout to learn new stuff so they can grow their companies faster, beat people to the market and get the edge on everyone else. Having the best tools to do the job is the difference between a unicorn and a horse.

One way that many of us catch up on things is by reading articles, watching online videos and listening to podcasts. While this allows us to learn things at a rate faster than ever before, it can be terribly impersonal.

Recent studies have indicated that while people are becoming more educated, their social skills are lacking. Workplace happiness is on a downward trend worldwide. Key leadership skills are being missed.

Fortunately, there's a simple solution to counteract that. Annual conferences, something that was considered uncool (likely because their price tags were out of reach) for the entrepreneur have started to become a viable option.

Community-feel conferences have started popping up around the world in all sectors, with tracks specific to the type of leadership, growth and personal development that entrepreneurs need to create culture in their organizations.

As a side effect of this, those larger, traditional conferences have started to take notice. Some partner with these community efforts, adding them as side-events to their main tracks thus allowing entrepreneurs access to the larger event at little to no cost.

So which ones are worth going to?

As a speaker myself, I have the honor of being invited to speak at too many conferences to list here. Here are ones that I think are worth spending your time and money on.

Workplace Culture

October 31st, London UK

From the guys who bring you Devoxx UK (another conference series that's amazing in its own right) comes this series of culture-oriented events, which is designed to "help people to be better people, so you can make better teams."

June 20-22, 2018, London, UK

Not to forget you HR people out there, this is an international conference that helps you to understand the latest technologies coming down the pipeline both to run HR but also to help you make culture decisions.

Business Savvy

May 24 and 25, 2018, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Next Web conference is the giant of all festival-style conferences. 18 tracks of talks with amazing speakers from around the world, this is a can't miss.

1st-3rd October 2018, Boston, MA, USA

This annual conference, originally conceived by Joel Spolsky and Neil Davidson, is now run by Mark Littlewood.  With a focus on the "hallway networking" rather than having to see it all in person, you can find some real gems in their previous events.

Personal Development

April 21, 2018, Kalamazoo, MI, USA

This tiny, one-track Ted-style event in Michigan has been consistently called by attendees the most important, can't-miss event they go to every year. What started as a technical conference for developers has turned into the premier personal development event in the Midwest, with topics from past years such as dealing with imposter syndrome, overcoming grief and trauma as a solopreneur, and having an invisible illness in the workplace.

This is real business people, sharing both their failures and success stories in a no-holds-barred setting.

Truly inspirational.

December 8-11, 2017, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Hive isn't so much a conference as it is a life-changing experience. After the three day summit, you will be part of a network of change leaders ready to make real, social impact on the world.

If these aren't enough, or nothing is close to you, check out Conference Radar to find other great conferences to attend. 

Published on: Oct 27, 2017
Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.