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As small business owners, preparing for a trade show or exhibition can be a very daunting experience. So here are a few ideas and concepts to employ at your next exhibition.

1 – Have an Assistant... Never go to a tradeshow alone, you may want to wander off, have lunch, go networking or listen to a keynote speaker, and this can be difficult with no-one to watch your stand. Especially if you've not spoken to the businesses close to you at the expo.

 2 – Add Games... Whether it’s a quiz, puzzle, trivia or other, make your BRAND stand out. 

 3 – Get the look... – Level the playing field at an event. Make your MESSAGE clear, use bright colours to attract people. You could be a small brand, but making a lasting impression really counts at an exhibition as it's the first thing that people remember! Be creative. 

 4 – Sponsor the Event... Most events have several sponsors, so become one and get your brand showcased across all of the marketing and advertising services that the EVENT offers.

 5 – Videos and Slideshows... People love to watch videos, watch slides and experience a visual feast, so make sure you've got a laptop, tablet or VR system to showcase what you do.

 6 – Food Goodies are Always a BIG Hit… Cupcakes are very cost effective, and once you add your logo you've got a fantastic edible gift for each person that visits your booth.

 7 – Welcome your Visitors. Always smile when you meet someone, don't be grouchy as 1st impressions last, along with this try not to open with ‘So what do you do’ Try, ‘How will your business benefit my business?’ This then keeps the answers short and decisive. 

 8 – Choose your Tradeshow Space wisely… Many businesses like to book early so that they can choose the best traffic position. This has a lot of benefits, but you can also book in a little later to make sure you’re not next to a competitor. So choose the position carefully.

9 – A Bowl of Sweets is NOT an Enticer... Think more creatively and make people want to stop and talk to you. Offer something different, Spa Day, Afternoon Tea for Two etc!

10 – Always take your own tablecloth… If you can make it the same colour as your logo, even better, 1st impressions do really count and you want your brand to stand out at expos.

Sonny Cutting is the MD of NetXp, which organises business shows and conferences in Sussex. Email Sonny at

Twitter @1NetXP



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