Why to attend Trade shows
If you participating in a trade show as an exhibitor, you can indulge in some serious brand building activities by demonstrating your products/services, hosting seminars and availing of sponsorship opportunities. If you are launching a new product/service, a trade exhibition is the best place to go.
You can get a lot of media exposure and you will have ample opportunities of showcasing your product/service to the maximum possible range of potential clients.
You can also get a peek into the products/services of your competitors. Evaluating and mapping the competition is crucial to the success of your business.
If you are on the lookout for building/expanding your supply chain, you can find the chance to meet new distributors or suppliers at a trade fair or exhibition. You can also make potential regional partners and meet importers at a trade event.
If you are in a knowledge intensive business like IT or Education, you should attend seminars compulsorily at periodic intervals to enhance your grasp of the subject. You will find that seminars are an excellent source of new idea generation.
How to make the most of trade events?
If you are running a start up with only a few (or none) employees, you might feel that you don’t have enough time to devote to events. However, considering the strategic long term benefits of attendance, you should get a smart employee to do this networking on your behalf.
You can even hire on someone on a temporary retainer basis. Make sure the person is thoroughly knowledgeable about your business and products before he/she starts networking.
Pre register at the show, especially if you know that there is going to be a rush. Keep your goals clearly in mind and know exactly what you want to accomplish at the trade event. Make a mental list of the kind of vendors you want to visit, types of purchases you are interested in and what new product lines you would like to view.
Do rounds of quick inventory mapping before you leave for the show. See exactly what your business requires and group your intended purchases so that you can avail of discounts on bulk orders. Above all, remember to invest only as much time and money as required in these events.
If you develop any contacts or are interested in meeting up with a particular vendor, store their contact information carefully for future reference.
Bring a lot of business cards. Don’t shy away from initiating conversation but also avoid wasting too much time in a single booth.
bThe other important aspect is to choose the right trade show or event to attend. You have limited time as a small business owner and you need to make sure that you don't waste your time. Do proper research into who is attending and wether they are likely to be potential customers of yours.
Try and find others who attended in previous years, find reviews online, speak to the organisers. Make sure its a good fit with your business.