for a Successful Trade Show
by Janice D. Byer, CCVA, MVA
autumn is almost upon us and with the onset of this season comes cleaner
air and colourful outdoor scenery and, it is also prime season for trade
shows. Sure, trade shows happen all throughout the year but, with many
areas recognizing small business month/week, there is a greater
opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase their products or services to
their target markets.
small business owners, especially those in the start up phase, preparing
for a trade show can be a very scary and frustrating time. What do we take
and how do we present it?
first need to find out the specifics of the trade show you are registered
for or considering exhibiting in. If necessary, contact the organizers of
the event and get details on the type of visitors that the show attracts
and the layout of the area you will have to display your business. Be sure
to find out the size of the table you will have, whether there is wall
space for your company sign, if there are electrical outlets available,
and anything else that may or may not be included (ie. table cloth, etc.)
the show space specifics have been established, then you can move on to
thinking about and deciding what and how you can ‘show your stuff’.
The following are just a few ideas to help you get ready for that all
important trade show. (Note: most of these ideas are based on being in the
service industry but will work for products industry companies as well)
the table you have does not include a tablecloth, be sure to get one
that compliments your display and represents your company’s image
and colour scheme (without being overpowering). Even if a tablecloth
is supplied, bring your own or something to add some depth to your
table (ie. table runner). Your table will definitely stand out in a
space will allow, erect a stand-alone presentation board. On the
board, you can show how clients can benefit by using your services. Be
creative and make it stand out. Include pictures, if possible, and be
sure your company name and logo are more than obvious.
there is wall space, but your budget is minimal, use your trusty
desktop publishing software to create a template of your company name.
Use the template, along with bristle board, cardboard, or foam core to
make a sign that you can put up on the wall behind your booth.
a PowerPoint presentation to display on your table (if an electrical
outlet is within reach of your booth). You can make it on your desktop
computer and transfer it to a laptop, which you can rent or borrow if
you don’t already have one. Your visitors will find this visually
appealing and will draw in their attention.
a portfolio of your work available. Print off some of your best
projects, put them into plastic sheet protectors, and put them into a
binder. Then lay out the binder where visitors can flip through the
plenty of giveaways, such as business cards, brochures, pens, magnets,
and anything else that has your company name and/or logo on it. Most
people who attend trade shows are expecting to take home some goodies.
And, be sure to use display racks for showing your flyers, specials,
brochures, and such.
something a little different… FOOD. I displayed at the Bridges to
Better Business trade show in Brampton and included a basket of Girl
Guide cookies on my table. They were a big hit… I wish I had brought
more. If you can, package your food in a way that will allow you to
have your company contact info on it.
Gift Certificates for some of your services. There’s nothing better
than getting a deal and, when they ‘cash in’ their certificate,
they will see how valuable your services are and will come back for
a drawing for a prize. Offer a prize that, in some way, compliments
your business if possible, and appeals to anyone. Have visitors and
entrants sign a guestbook, fill in a ticket, or drop their business
cards into a fish bowl or gift bag. You can then use this information
at a later date to make a follow up contact.
the show will be on for an extended length of time, be sure to have
assistance in manning your booth so you can take a break. If you
don’t have the option of having someone take over for a bit, be sure
to put up a note that tells people how long you will be gone or when
you will be back.
importantly, be friendly and inviting. Say hi to those that turn and look
toward you or your booth. Strike up a conversation and be sure to have a
short introductory speech ready. And…have fun!
is so much more involved in being a part of a trade show and making it
successful. We invite you to visit our ebooklets page to pick up our new
booklet, Tips for a Successful Trade Show at http://www.docutype.net/booklets.htm
Janice Byer, owner of Docu-Type Administrative & Web Design Services
provides professional, creative and affordable virtual office
assistance and small business website design. She is a Certified
Canadian Virtual Assistant (CCVA) and Master Virtual Assistant (MVA).
She is also the author of Surfin’ The Net - Docu-Type’s Virtual
Collection of Links, (http://www.docutype.net/SurfinTheNet/linksebook.htm) which is filled with the secrets of her success. Visit her website for more information and to get your copy.