How to Get the Most out of Shopify Pursuit: A Conference for Growth, Connection, and Community

How to Get the Most out of Shopify Pursuit: A Conference for Growth, Connection, and Community

 Pursuit: How to get the most out of a conference

With Shopify Pursuit, we’re focused on delivering a conference that inspires growth and learning—but what makes Shopify Pursuit different from any other growth or ecommerce conference? And how can you get the most out of going?

Shopify Pursuit provides a platform for Shopify Partners to connect with Shopifolk and meet with other partners, whether that’s to showcase your expertise, grow your business, or collaborate on projects or clients. Pursuit brings you the unique opportunity of being surrounded with like-minded folks, and provides a full day of presentations, office hours, and networking opportunities. On top of that, there’s an evening meetup and limited seating master class, to give you a high impact learning experience.

To show you how to make the most of your experience at Pursuit, we spoke to several Shopify Partner businesses across the world, to see how they’ve gotten the most out of Shopify conferences in the past. Here’s what they recommend.

Get your tickets to Pursuit

Looking to grow and connect with other like minded partners? Get your tickets to Pursuit today—and don’t forget to add in a master class ticket for a richer experience.

Buy Pursuit tickets

Embrace the fast-paced learning that happens in office hours

Shopify Pursuit: How to get the most out of a conference

Office hours are 30-minute bookable windows of one-on-one time with a Shopify team member or Shopify Expert. How can you best use this alloted window? Our partners share tips on how they’ve used office hours to discover the next steps to grow their business, operate as an effective partner, and get their head around the platform.

1. Plan ahead

One partner who has gone on to become a highly successful Shopify partner is Kurt Elster, founder of Ethercycle. Kurt was a mainstage speaker at A Day With Shopify last year, and this year will be offering his time during office hours, to advise other partners at Pursuit on how to grow and conquer their biggest problems.

For Kurt, the secret to getting the most out of office hours is to plan ahead. “Make sure to book office hours in advance, and know what you want to get out of it. This is your chance to sit down with someone who’s a bigger agency or has conquered the same problem you have right now. This conversation can be the key to get past it.” Kurt says. “Have a concise positioning statement to help whoever your office hours person is better understand your business. It can be hard, but use a description of what you do in 10 seconds. Also, please don’t book office hours to pitch anyone your business!”

Have a concise positioning statement to help whoever your office hours person is better understand your business.

Kurt Elster, Ethercycle

2. Be open about challenges

Mohammadu Mifras is a freelancer turned one-man business owner with his agency Shop Trade. He found huge value in attending office hours at the Bangalore event last year, by using his time to talk out his biggest problems in developing and building an app. This year at Pursuit, he plans to sign up for office hours again.

“Office hours was helpful because I was just getting started with building an app,” Mohammadu explains. “Talking through my biggest problems with someone who had done exactly what I wanted to achieve helped immensely. I had a lot questions for the app development team, and this uncovered so much about the process that I did not know already.”

Mohammadu also explains that office hours are an opportunity to tackle problems you may not even be aware of yet.

“You might be struggling with things you don’t not know you don’t know! This time spent with an Expert will uncover so many roadblocks you hadn’t even considered or thought about yet. For me, that was hearing that building an app is the easy part, scaling one is difficult.”

By sitting down with an Expert during office hours, Mohammadu was able to identify challenges coming his way in the future, and plan for them in advance.

You might also like: Announcing the Speakers for Shopify Pursuit 2018 (and 3 Reasons Why You Should Give a Lightning Talk).

Make connections at evening meetups

Shopify Pursuit: How to get the most out of a conference

Pursuit evening meetups are an opportunity for Shopify Partners to network over food and drink. Whether you’re looking to break the ice, swap clients, hire a superstar for your agency, or chat with a featured speaker, an evening meetup helps you get familiar with like-minded partners and meet Shopify Merchants.

1. Spark partnerships in the community

Parker McMahon from Klaviyo a huge fan of the networking that happens in the partner community at events like Pursuit. He stumbled across the evening meetup by chance, and it was one of the best accidents that happened.

“One of the perks of the evening meetups is facetime with key Shopifolk,” Parker says. “I was talking with Martyn Boddy from Shopify and got some great insights from him. Later that night, I ended up chatting with Mute Six—they were at A Day With Shopify, but weren’t a Shopify Partner yet. I introduced the VP of Sales at Mute Six, Greg, to Martyn from Shopify and suggested they become Shopify Partners. Flash forward a few months later—they’re now on the Shopify Partners platform, they’re building stores, and they’re growing rapidly. I was stoked to hear about their success and felt like I helped a really great partnership!”

Paying it forward ended up having a huge ROI for Parker and Klaviyo.

“We have an integration with Recharge, but the first time we met in person was at A Day With Shopify. Meeting Chathri Ali, Head of Growth and Marketing, laid the foundations for a partnership that resulted in a dedicated Slack channel, co-hosting events, and 300 shared customers.”

You might also like: How 4 Shopify Partners Stumbled Onto the Unexpected at Unite.

2. Find mentors and insight

Ross Beyeler, founder of Growth Spark, was a speaker at A Day With Shopify in New York. He found that getting to know partners across the ecosystem was one of the best takeaways from Pursuit. He now has a network of Shopify Partners he can rely on to discuss problems and exchange solutions with, all met through business networking.

“In the evening meetups, yes, you discuss the event over with partners, like mainstage talks and changes to the Shopify platform—but it’s so much more than that. It’s those between-event moments, like walking from the hotel to the venue, where the best conversations happen. Those moments of ultimate business transparency have helped me build an inner network of partners. I have a group of fellow partners I can call upon to discuss tackling our biggest problems, like hiring and what to look for in a great account or project manager.”

It’s those between-event moments, like walking from the hotel to the venue, where the best conversations happen. Those moments of ultimate business transparency have helped me build an inner network of partners.

Ross Beyeler, Growth Spark

3. Take advantage of being surrounded by your peers

Emily Moss, cofounder of Alt and Dot, found that meeting in person bred opportunity and created a partnership that took her business to the next level.

“The evening meetup was great because it’s a structured environment to have conversations. I got to connect with a partner in person, Ben from Privvy, and that helped grow Alt and Dot. We found a way to take both of our businesses forward. I can honestly say that that partnership wouldn’t have bloomed if I hadn’t attended the evening meetup.”

Being in a room with like-minded professionals is a great opportunity to spark connections, build partnerships, and source solutions to complicated problems.

Shopify Pursuit: How to get the most out of a conference

Networking the right way

Networking is a core reason Shopify Partners attend conferences like Unite and Pursuit. But to take full advantage, you need some networking tips and tricks to win friends and influence business relationships.

1. Don’t panic if a conversation doesn’t work out

Atul Poharkar, co-founder of Plobal Apps, was at A Day With Shopify in Bangalore. He recommends getting out of conversations that aren’t working.

“When you start a conversation, it can be a struggle to get that chat going. Often, that means it’s not a good fit because there’s no personal common ground or ways your businesses could work together,” Atul explains. “It’s better to meet more people than stay in a conversation for too long because you’re afraid of appearing rude. Time management in networking is important. Get some key or important points about people, write it down, and then catch up later after the conference.”

Time management in networking is important. Get some key or important points about people, write it down, and then catch up later after the conference.

Atul Poharkar, Plobal Apps

Kurt from Ethercycle echoes these sentiments about being focused on having valuable conversations.

“Sometimes you get into conversations where you feel you’re struggling to find common ground, but social pressure and stigmas can stop you from walking away. It’s hard to implement, but don’t feel like you have to stay in a conversation just because you got into one. A solution is to divert the other person or group to another group by saying something like, ‘Hey, that group over there are app store developers who can help you with that.’ This way you’re able to exit the group in a thoughtful and helpful manner.”

2. Make a plan of action

For Parker from Klaviyo, being proactive is the trick to successful networking. He uses his time travelling from Boston to New York to grow existing relationships with partners he wants to meet and merchants he wants to work with.

“If you’re going to Shopify Pursuit, know who is in your region and know who to reach out to. For instance, if you want to find more Shopify partners, go on the Shopify Experts or Shopify Plus Partners page and filter by location. Look at businesses in that region that you really want to learn from and connect with, and proactively reach out to them on LinkedIn. Ask them if they’re going to Pursuit. If they are, suggest meeting at the conference, or for lunch or coffee around the event.”

Parker also uses his time to focus on customer success and account management and retention, by meeting current or existing customers face-to-face. He has found that this kind of meeting can carry so much value.

“Be sure to book some time with your merchants, especially if you’re in the city. The closer we stay as solution and service providers to our merchants, the better we are as organizations. Maybe you can find a merchant that needs some love, or they’re a star merchant you can use in your marketing materials. Shopify hosts Pursuit in ecommerce-heavy locations, so definitely carve time out in your calendar for some account management.”

Be sure to book some time with your merchants, especially if you’re in the city. The closer we stay as solution and service providers to our merchants, the better we are as organizations.

Parker McMahon, Klaviyo

A community feel for all

Shopify Pursuit: How to get the most out of a conference

You might get the vibe that Shopify Partners use events in the ecosystem solely for growth and business development, but this isn’t always the case. Our partners recommend also view the community as place to connect and make friends.

Emily from Alt and Dot recommends developing a networking style as a partner that connects on a personal level.

“Just be genuine,” she says. “Try and connect with the person first—even if you have an objective to partner with or learn from them. We’ve all received cold emails that have been shotgunned and show no signs of the sender having done any legwork. The same applies to networking in person. Forget the elevator pitch and making a deal on the spot—you don’t need to achieve it there and then. I’d much prefer to get to know someone first.”

Forget the elevator pitch and making a deal on the spot—you don’t need to achieve it there and then. I’d much prefer to get to know someone first.

Emily Moss, Alt and Dot

When Mohammadu from Shop Trade moved from Sri Lanka to India, he was facing an uphill battle to make friends in a new country. By attending A Day With Shopify last year, he was able to turn some of his business partnerships into genuine friendships. It’s the exact reason he’s attending Pursuit in Bangalore this year.

“When I moved to India, I knew no one. After attending A Day With Shopify, I left knowing everyone!”

When I moved to India, I knew no one. After attending A Day With Shopify, I left knowing everyone!

Mohammadu Mifras, Shop Trade

A year on, Mohammadu looks back on his experience. “Networking has always been important to me. At the evening meetup, I got a lot of intros to partners that I ended up becoming friends with. I focused on not just chatting about business, but making connections. Making friends first helps everything pan out long term.”

And in the end, that’s what it’s all about—connecting with like-minded peers facing similar struggles as you. Ecommerce is a unique niche to belong to, so building these connections are one of the best ways to grow.

You might also like: Grow Your Freelancer Network: Solve Problems, Get Clients.

An opportunity to grow

This year’s Pursuit will be full of the same opportunities partners have experienced at previous A Day With Shopify events. Join us to meet with partners, merchants, Experts, and Shopifolk, and start building strong, mutually beneficial connections in your community. We can’t wait to see you there.

Get your tickets to Pursuit

Looking to grow and connect with other like minded partners? Get your tickets to Pursuit today—and don’t forget to add in a master class ticket for a richer experience.

Buy Pursuit tickets

About the Author

Adam Rogers is a Content Marketer for the Shopify Partners Program. He loves writing, but he's sure it hates him. He's a lover of books, music, guitars, and his wife Lacey.

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