I love helping people achieve their dreams of solopreneurship. As a mentor, I always advise people to attend trade shows in their industry niche. Networking is so important in the business world. After all, it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know! The old saying is all too true when it comes to starting a company. You need to make your way into the inner circle of your industry. Find the biggest players, talk to them, and learn from them. Most importantly, put your company on their radar.
Every industry has their unique trade show or event. It’s where all the companies come together to connect with customers and each other. It’s the perfect chance for you to introduce your business and make a lasting impression. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of others trying to do the same thing. So, how exactly do you stand out and make a big impact? I’m glad you asked!
Plan the logistics – First of all, you need to understand that planning your trade show trip involves a lot of work. You can’t simply rock up and hope for the best! You need to plan your transport, hotel, and entrance to the trade show. Ideally, you should set up a stand or stall, which you’ll need to plan for. The team at Finesse Group can help you build a stunning exhibition stand to give you that professional edge. Start this planning process well in advance. You’ll want things to run as smoothly as possible when you get there.
Set a list of targets – Going to a trade show without an agenda is a recipe for disaster! Make a list of exactly what you want to achieve. Then, make a solid plan of how to hit those targets. Is your goal to introduce your business to key distributors? Is it to get tastemaker support for your product? Is it to build a team and headhunt new employees? Tie your trade show visit into your wider business goals.
Start networking before the event – The trade show will be a hive of activity, full of key people. However, you can’t just show up and start chatting to people. Well, you can, but you’ll make life very difficult for yourself. Start the networking process early and online. Reach out to the key industry folks you want to talk to. Try to set up a meeting in advance or at least put yourself on their radar. It gives them an extra reason to make time for you at the trade show itself.
Make sure they remember your stand – There are hundreds of stalls and exhibitions at every trade show. You need to make yours stand out. You need that extra touch that people will go home talking about. How about demonstrating your new product? You could even run a video game competition. Anything that gets people talking is a good idea!
Last of all, don’t forget to follow up when you get home! Make sure you capitalize on all the contacts you made! Congratulations, you just nailed your first trade show!