Exhibiting Tips for Small Businesses
Most one man band business owners would never consider taking on an exhibition stand. However don’t dismiss the idea out of hand. Here are some secrets that could ensure your exhibiting success.
Professional Image – On Display Always
For many one person businesses, exhibiting may not be an immediate option. But let’s work on the basis that you have decided to brave the world of exhibiting and have found a great show to exhibit at.
First things first
The first time you decide to become an exhibitor it can be quite daunting. There is so much to consider not least of all the cost involved, but more than that you want to make sure you look as professional as you can. This shouldn’t be a problem for you as you will be used to being on display when business networking or doing face to face selling.
Exhibitions provide an opportunity for the world to take a good long look at you. Some of the people that will see you include of course not just the attendees, but the contractors who work on the many tasks such as putting the electricity into play, delivering the tables and chairs etc. Then there are the exhibition organisers and of course your competition.
Even if your competition is not there as an exhibitor, they can easily walk the exhibition, or failing that your neighbouring exhibitor could be one of their clients. You just never know so it is very important to always have your most professional image on display.
A Big Myth
For a great professional image many people incorrectly believe that size is the answer. The belief is that an organisation takes a large size exhibition stand with some colorful images and really that’s all they need.
Well this couldn’t be further from the truth. Size can be associated with financial stability of an organisation but as we know that doesn’t always hold true (think of all the recent liquidations).
However, stemming from this there is an issue for some exhibitors especially individual based businesses, when they think of what their stand could look like. You can solve this by using some of these tips and punching above your weight.
A great idea to overcome a size issue is to become a stand sharer. Quite simply you share a stand with another organisation and pay them for the part you occupy. You would effectively have the same relationship as a Tenant to a Landlord. Considerations: Make sure you know the following:
How much you will charged by the Stand Holder,
What space will you have for a table/chairs, magazine racks etc.
Will there be space for any graphics/posters that you can display
Has the Stand Holder been given permission by the Exhibition Organiser to have stand sharers (some exhibitions do not allow this but most are reasonable when asked)
If there is an opportunity for you to be featured in the Exhibition Directory that is issued to all attendees, then make sure that the Stand sharer has not missed the copy deadlines.
Basically ensure that you have an agreement between you and the Stand Holder of just what is being provided on each side.
If you choose the right Stand Holder to partner with you could get some get marketing benefits for you especially if they are getting lots of people to come to the stand. In some instances you as a specialist coach could be the draw for the main Stand Holder so make sure that you have a reciprocal agreement that benefits you both.
A Smaller Space (That’s all Yours)
You could of course decide to take a small space of your own and have a simple decor well that’s fine too. It all depends on how you want to project your professional image.
You could take a smaller space or even a larger one and also hire some assistants for the duration of the exhibition. There are many agencies that supply hostesses that will walk the floor with your marketing materials or they could be at your stand allowing you time to have appointments elsewhere.
Another option is to use students/other volunteers. They will jump at the chance. In this economic climate when experience is beginning to matter as much as a paid position there are no end of people that will work with you. They can fulfill the same function as the hostesses but do remember they may need more supervision.
Getting the Most from Hostesses/Volunteers
Whether you hire people or use volunteers it is important that they understand your expectations and what you offer to the exhibition attendees. As importantly they need to know why you are exhibiting at the show. Is it to develop the branding, is it to take as many names as possible or is it to launch a new service/product? You can guarantee that if you cannot answer this basic question you will not be able to evaluate the return on your investment of the exhibition.
If the exhibition is running education/networking seminars you could offer to be the coach for these and in return the exhibition organiser might be able to offer you some stand space free of charge. In many situations there is room for an agreement that can benefit both parties.
Exhibiting at a show can be lots of fun and thoroughly worth the investment of time and money. It works best when you know why you are going and what you are expecting to achieve. Do not underestimate the costs that can quickly mount up and do have a good look at the anticipated demographic profile of attendees that are likely to turn up (the exhibition organiser will be able to supply this). Above all please don’t exhibit just because your competition is going to be there You don’t have to take a big stand or pay lots of money to have a great exhibiting success. Just keep thinking outside the box as many other ideas are sure to follow. Go on and punch above your weight.