Written by: Peggy Swords
When you are heading to your first trade show, there are likely many different things going through your mind. You might be worried about how you are going to look next to the industry giants, you may be nervous about social networking, or you might be worried about the cost alone! If you are going to be attending a trade show for the first time, make sure that you take a moment to take a deep breath, and to check out these great tips for surviving intact, and getting the most out of rental exhibits and networking opportunities.
Go to the Trade Show
Not everyone can do this, but the truth is that this is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. Your trade show is going to have a lot of things going on, and before you present there, it is always a good idea to make sure that you know what is coming. Walk around the trade hall and see what is happening among the many rental exhibits on display. What kind of booth are you going to need, and how can you make yourself stand out from the crowd? This is something that can make a huge difference to your own trade booth when you are ready to move forward. Be aware of the caliber of people who are presenting at the show, and also remember that you need to be seen as someone on the same level. This can help you decide if the trade show is even for you.
Stock Up on Brochures and Cards
One of the big reasons to go to a trade show, if not the most important reason, is to get your name out there. Prospective customers and investors may be seeing hundreds of different people and companies over the course of the day, so the last thing that you want to is blend in. If you cannot give them a tangible way to remember your name, you are not going to be getting many calls. Make sure that you have plenty of brochures and business cards on hand, and double check them before you head out the door.
Quality over Quantity Socializing
At a trade show, there is a good chance that you are going to get invited to some parties or get-togethers afterward. While some people are all about partying after a great event, there are plenty of people who just want to crawl into the hotel bed and sleep! If you are one of the latter, do make it a point to stop by, say hello, and thank the host for their invitation. On the other hand, there is no reason to stay much longer. If you know that you are going to be tired, it is worth heading back to your room. A little bit of quality socialization is far better than a long spate at a party where you get progressively more exhausted.
Let Everyone Know Where You are Going to Be
If you are a small business, chances are great that you are on a fair number of social media sites. With that in mind, make sure that everyone knows where you are going. You never know who is going to want to meet up, and this can provide you with a fantastic opportunity for sailing ahead with your business. A little bit of networking before you even get to the trade show itself can mean that the show is very profitable and lucrative for you.
About Peggy Swords
Peggy Swords is the founder and president of Excalibur Exhibits, a $10 million Houston-based exhibit manufacturing and production corporation. Excalibur Exhibits designs, builds, delivers, assembles and disassembles as many as 300 exhibits per year. Swords was named as a finalist for NAWBO Houston 2003 Woman Business Owner of the Year and 2005 Enterprising Woman of the Year Finalist. Additionally, Excalibur Exhibits is a five time member of the Inc 5000, a three time member of the LSU100 and a two time member of the Houston Fast 100, a list of fastest growing privately held companies.