10 Inexpensive & Easy to Follow Tips for Trade Show Success

Trade shows are often times a necessity for many industries, but can be a daunting task to plan and implement. The upside to doing a trade show is that it is the most cost effective approach to market to a huge crowd. There are many social media and viral efforts for marketing, but trades shows are the only face-to-face marketing today. If you market wisely, trade shows can bring hundreds of motivated potential customers to you. Unfortunately, many exhibitors don’t make the most of their trade show participation because they don’t adhere to these simple rules:

Consult an exhibit or display expert

Believe it or not, there are some cost effective services that assist exhibitors in creating a relatively inexpensive display while increasing marketing potential and getting the message to people passing by. Reputable exhibit firms offer free design consultation and will create the right display while staying within your targeted budget. Don’t spend too much on design. Trim the fat to save money. Sometimes less is more.

Study the Floor Plan

You don’t have to make use of the premium spaces. They are typically at the entrance, expensive and unavailable. Choose areas that can be just as effective. Areas near restrooms, business centers, or food and beverages make awesome locations and are easier on the pockets.

See the Light.

Lighting is very important. Most venues offer booths with electricity. Pay the extra fees for a well-lit display to draw more attention.

Spit Out the Gum!

Train your staff on booth etiquette. Attendees are priority and should be approached and treated in a professional manner. Have the trade show giveaways ready in hand to distribute once a potential customer approaches the exhibit. No gum chewing, eating, sitting, relaxing or personal conversations at the booth. Most of all, NO Texting!

Get Leads & Follow Up

Take advantage of the tracking system that trade shows often have. If they don’t have one, create a system to capture leads. Offer free products through a sweepstakes. Get potential customers to enter to win the product or service you’re offering, by filling out cards with their contact information. Then follow up!

Invest in Great Marketing Materials.

They say pictures are worth a thousand words. Make use of great graphics to get your point across and put it on durable materials. One large image targeted to how your business can help the customer can say a thousand words. It can cost less, but say a lot more.

Dress for Success

Everyone recognizes a clean and professional look. A small investment in logoed apparel for your team can create a nice uniform company image. Printed or embroidered polo shirts, t-shirts or aprons etc. create a polished look.

Roll Out the Carpet

Rent or buy carpet with comfortable padding. Trade show venues usually get rid of carpet remnants after a huge show. This would be a good time to negotiate good carpet to secure for upcoming trade shows.

Secrets to Success in Hiring Interns

Summer is a great time to look for interns to fulfill painstaking duties that have been put on the backburner or just to have assistance to get you above all the paper. Many students are looking to make money and could use the extra credit that goes toward their degree. Hiring interns, however is not one of the most thought provoking ideas for many entrepreneurs. Interns are hired much the same as any other employee with two major exceptions to the rule. First, major training is necessary because of the intern’s inexperience. Second, the hard work of training goes into an individual who’s job has a definite end. Even with what may seem to be disadvantages, hiring interns can prove to be a win-win scenario and a rich opportunity that excels both of you.

Eagerness, Energy and Ideas

Most interns are “fresh out the box” and are willing and eager to learn in order to advance them to the next level even before their career actually starts. Their energy levels are typically higher. Their ideas may seem far-fetched, but keep an open mind with the ideas they bring to the table. Their non-traditional experiences can open doors and present advantageous challenges that can steer old thinking into a new direction. Both you and the intern can benefit by bridging old and new schools.

Hiring Tips

When hiring interns, look for the same characteristics you would in any other candidate. Most interns will not have as much experience under their belts, so look for good attitudes, willingness to learn, commitment, technical experiences, social skills and they should be able to receive constructive criticism well.

Interviews are great for you and the intern. It gives the intern a great start in what to expect as their career unfolds and it grants you the opportunity to assess their professionalism, demeanor and articulacy.
Collect many resumes and look for those who have experience working small jobs, like babysitting and working with community organizations. In these cases you get the best references because the work relationship is usually more intimate.

Where to Find Interns

Do your homework. Actively recruit local high schools, junior colleges, universities and organizations. You can post openings on college websites or develop relationships with counselors in your field of interest. The most organized students sign up early and usually make the best candidates.

Many organizations helping battered women and homeless teens are looking to place individuals, who are in school to obtain their GEDs, as interns. This is a great opportunity to help someone less fortunate learn the tools of the trade and become potential full time employees.

Check with your colleagues. As always, personal references work best.

Exercise Patience – Mold a New Professional

A new relationship can be difficult for an employee, but even tougher on an intern. Practicing patience and understanding is a key ingredient to the success of the intern program. After all, hiring interns will make you hone in on your management skills and in many cases force you to raise the bar.

First, it is essential to spell out expectations early on in the process. If you have a company manual, tweak it for the intern program or create one. Highlight dress code, company ethics, email policies, lunch breaks, office procedures, etc. Look at the program as an opportunity to clone you or help a young professional get her feet wet as their first time in the working world.

Don’t expect too much and set goals that can be measured and are attainable. Build a relationship of trust and be prepared to have the intern shadow you. Monitor performance and give feedback. Stress punctuality and timelessness and test it by setting timelines with assigned tasks.

Communication is crucial. Lay out a specific plan of attack for the needs of your company and spell it out for the intern. Be sure your intern knows specifics and details of the assignment. If his job is to merge mail, pack promotional products or transfer data to Excel, direction should be thought our carefully to enable the intern to present quality work. Be open to answering questions. Work with them to increase their strengths and grow in areas that need work.

Finally, praise them with a job well done. Interns are typically working for credits or minimum wage, so treat them to lunch on occasion. Send them off with a letter of reference to use for their next internship or first job in their field. The result of a successful internship program could be a young professional will have the tools to shine in any industry. Your company can also mold itself into a great place to work in your community.

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