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4 ways to make the best of trade fairs

How to take advantage of trade fairs to help put the word out about your growing business.
By Rafael Santos |

One great way to help grow a business is to gain more awareness for the product or service you are offering. Marketing promotions go a long way to help a budding business to gain good buzz, but another effective way to do this is through joining fairs and industry trade shows to showcase your wares.

According to Marilyn Gomez who owns handicraft export company Pinoy Pride Inc., trade shows offer entrepreneurs a good venue to attract new customers. She narrates how joining a trade show transformed her business from one that primarily served the domestic market, to the exporting firm it currently is.

"We started the company in 2001, and we were growing steadily for two years. Then in 2003, we joined our first trade fair and we were lucky enough that customers liked our products and our sales boomed. It was great timing on our part, because we had a firm grasp of operations and our production capabilities," she said.

Gomez's sentiments are echoed by Julius Orallo, a marketing executive for trade fair organizer Target Events. According to him, having the right attitude and checklist before joining a trade show can help an entrepreneur make the most out of their participation.

"Trade fairs give you a chance to demonstrate your product or service to customers face-to-face. It can also be a direct way to test new markets or launch new products and services, or a chance to find out what customers want. It is also great for networking with potential suppliers and customers, who are concentrated in one place," he said. Orallo shared some pointers on how to go about setting up your first trade fair stint:


See if it's the right fit
Attending an exhibition can involve a large commitment of time and money. By preparing thoroughly in advance you can ensure your business maximizes the potential benefits and the return on your investment.

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Apply for your space at trade shows as early as possible. Since most shows assign space on a first-come, first-served basis, you will improve your location at the show by signing up early. Once you learn where your booth will be, figure out how you can increase your visibility there.

"Find out if that particular fair is really for your business. Make sure that your target customers or suppliers will be there. A good way to measure this is to investigate the track record of that particular fair, and track the companies who participated in previous years. A track record is important, because you want your first fair to be run by a professional company with a good record of completion and service," Orallo said.

Once you get hold of the exhibitor list, go online and research about individual companies to get a better grasp of your targets or competitors, Orallo added.


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