Preparing For Your First Trade Show As A Small Business Owner

tsHow do you prepare for your first trade show as a small business owner? In order to decide what you need to have in your booth, you have to evaluate what you want to achieve at the trade show. Once you have defined your goals, then you can explore your display and layout options. Also, knowing ahead of time the aims of the booth will help you prepare whatever staff you have on hand for the event.

Define Your Goals

What do you want to get out of the experience of having a booth at the trade show? Do you simply want to introduce the attendees to the range of products you provide? Or do you want to try selling products at the event? The answers to these questions can determine layout of the booth and how many assistants are needed.

Once you have figured out what you want to achieve at the trade show, you can prepare your literature for those ends. Having hand-outs that display your logo is a good way of staying fresh in an attendee’s mind. Be sure that the logo on the literature matches that of your booth signage. A one-sheet catalog of your products with contact information for ordering can get you a lot of after-show business.

Choosing a Booth Layout

If display and information distribution are all that you are aiming for, you can display a wide range of products in the space. Provide hand-outs and inexpensive take-aways on tables across the front of the booth. Your staffers will be able to move about freely to bring forward something that an attendee wants to see more closely.

If you intend to sell products, however, you may want a layout that allows attendees to step into the space so they can check out multiple samples. Depending on the size of the booth, you may need to set aside one corner for a cashier location. You can control the flow of traffic into the space by limiting the number of people who can enter the booth at the same time.

Manning the Booth

If you are limited in the number of people you can have working the booth, you should still try to have three people per shift, especially if your booth is larger than 8 to 10 feet across. But count on two people as a minimum. You want to designate one person to be in charge of any financial transactions, so that there is no confusion after the show is over.

Make sure your team is fully informed on all products you have on display. They will have only a short time to make an impression, so they are your front-line sales people. Don’t let the attendees walk away thinking that nobody in the booth knows what they are doing.

Also, make sure your booth workers stay rested and hydrated. You want everyone to stay enthusiastic and peppy about your business, for that is attractive to passersby. Fatigued and thirsty personnel will lose that bright edge. Enthusiasm, energy, and knowledge are the key elements to good booth staff. Have everyone well prepared before the exhibit hall doors open.

Above all, be proud and enthusiastic about your business. You may be small, but be mighty in presence.

Jason Kane has been attending trade shows since you were in diapers. He recommends using for all of your event management needs. Image courtesy ThinkGeoEnergy

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  1. Great advice on staying fresh in your customer’s mind. With so many other businesses competing for attention, you want to make sure you are being remembered.

  2. Great information you put out here for us first timers at the trade shows. I will be attending several shows this fall. We have considered attending trade shows but have not yet committed to any. I had thought of most of your points , it comes down to cost-effectiveness. I am bookmarking your article.
    Thanks again for being out there with this helpful information.

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