Microsoft are hosting a 5 day Small Business Summit at Redmond from March 19 onwards. Forget the airfare, I think you should make time and attend. It's free, but more importantly, you won't need to travel and you can pick and chose which presentations you want to listen to. All of the sessions are available online. Of course it's all Pacific Standard Time, so it won't even take much time out of your working day, although it might ruin a few evenings. It's obviously aimed at an American audience, but a number of the presentations look useful.
At the very least you should attend Guy Kawasaki's first day presentation on the Art of Innovation. If you don't know Guy, you should. I follow his 10/20/30 rule of PowerPoint, and have read his "The Art of the Start". His session is described in the programme as follows:
"Entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and author Guy Kawasaki explains why it's essential to innovate"”and how to do it. Based on his book Rules for Revolutionaries, Guy's presentation will lay out the strategic steps to create new products and services. You'll come away with a renewed commitment to the innovation mindset that fuelled your early days in business. The author of eight books, including The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way, Guy is a managing director of Garage Technology Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, and a columnist for Forbes.com."
Don't tell too many of your friends. Online places are limited, and I'll be really upset if somebody pinches my seat.
Watch the first few minutes of this to give you a taster, or spend 40 minutes and hear "The Art of the Start":