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Go to them. Speak at them.
Having an online business is great! Buying and selling within the comfort of your own home, or on the go can certainly make your life a little less complicated and a bit more relaxed.
For smaller businesses, the cost and time of attending, sponsoring or showing at a trade show can be costly and requires a lot of time and planning. In addition to the costs your business will incur, there is also the daunting aspect of being surrounded by your competition. Tradeshows are aimed at a targeted audience who are either involved or interested in your industry, so be prepared to see a healthy mixture of suppliers and buyers.
AWARENESS: As a secondary reseller of retail merchandise, exhibiting trade shows is a fantastic opportunity to advertise your company and create brand awareness to your market audience. Being face-to-face, you’ll have an opportunity to humanize your brand and reach audiences on a deeper connection.
INTEREST: It’s common to find the press and buyers at Retail trade shows – both are obviously beneficial to the growth of your business. Getting your business to stand out to the press can give you great exposure beyond the tradeshow resulting in future leads and standing out to buyers in attendance can help generate sales either same day or within the days to follow. So, collect business cards. Hand out business cards. Treat everyone as if you’ve known them for years, and give everyone your complete attention.
CONNECTIONS: Some swear by networking to climb the ladder, and they’re not wrong. Forging relationships with retailers and resources can be quite powerful as you’ll learn from their mistakes, gain or share business and lean on when times may be tough. Besides, learning what your primary competition is doing from those connections, or through attending the trade show, can be enlightening to see how you stack up against them and evaluate how best to support your business.
EDUCATION: Aside from networking, tradeshows are a great resource to learn from the available workshops they offer – a lot of these will even be hands on! Regardless, every trade show will host a number of seminars and panel discussions to allow you to learn from others within the industry. Go to as many as you can in order to meet new people and see how they are conducting their business. Take away what you think they are doing right and wrong to better adjust your business. It’s an opportunity to identify new ways to shape your business into an even more successful business.
TRENDS: By attending tradeshows you can gain exposure to new industry trends, merchandise and resources your business could benefit from for the upcoming season or year. Even if your company is thriving, attending trade shows can be validating to ensure you’re headed in the right direction – and you never know, you may get inspired to up your game to be even better!
If and when you attend a tradeshow, remember to have fun. You’re there to work, yes, but you should also have a good time while working to maintain a positive working relationship with your peers and partners.
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