Let me share with you why I attend trade shows and the benefits that make it worth the expense.
ELEVEN WORTHWHILE REASONS
• Keeping abreast of the latest styles, trends and technology.
Trade shows are a great venue for learning of any new, innovative products that create a unique look or solve your customers’ challenges.
Trade shows also keep you on the leading edge of the industry by providing information on the latest design trends. You can pick up many new, creative style ideas to “wow” your clients and to keep a fresh outlook.
• Develop a network and buying power.
Many people attend trade shows and do not take advantage of one of the greatest benefits of a gathering with their peers: networking. This single benefit can make it worth attending a trade show.
Unfortunately, many attendees are too shy to walk up and introduce themselves, so they miss this terrific opportunity. The benefits of networking include forming information sharing groups, creating bulk buying power, problem solving and many more.
• Cultivate new friends and a support system.
It’s always uplifting for have friends in the same business with whom you can commiserate about common problems.
• Find answers to problems and collect advice.
Learning from others who have more industry experience saves a lot of heartache, time, money and aggravation. Any trade show is full of people of all levels of experience. Seek advice and help from those with a level of experience higher than yours.
• Share your knowledge.
If you are one of those with more experience, it’s time to give back to the industry. Attend trade shows to help others.
I’m sure you appreciated good counsel back when you needed it, and no matter how long anyone has been in a business, they always can learn more! New technologies are continually being developed and new designs are constantly being created.
• Find resources.
Trade show booths offer a plethora of resources for educational materials, supplies, tools, equipment and services. You can find product lines that you don’t currently sell and add them to your offerings to increase your profitability.
• Attend classes.
Classes offer education on a wide variety of topics to help you work easier, better and faster.
You can learn about industry issues, standards and associations.
You also can learn how to run your business better and more profitably.
• Have fun.
Yes, there can be lots of that, too! Get acquainted parties and receptions help break the ice and provide an opportunity to let your hair down with your peers.
• Reunite with old (and not-so-old) friends.
Trade shows provide the ideal gathering place to spend time with friends and family from all over the world.
• Save money.
Trade shows offer several ways for you to save money. Many trade show vendors offer show specials on educational materials, supplies you use every day and pieces of equipment you’ve been wanting to purchase.
Some vendors have inventory in their booths that you can take with you, saving you the cost of shipping, which sometimes can be quite a savings.
Learning timesaving techniques also will help you save money.
• Be inspired by industry veterans.
Every industry has its esteemed, seasoned veterans who offer help, write articles, produce videos, author books, provide training, make speeches, oversee discussion forums, etc. Trade shows are the perfect place to meet all those people whose work you have been reading, or about whom you have been reading. It is truly inspiring to meet your industry heroes.
Cheryl Strickland is owner of Professional Drapery School, Swannanoa, NC, and is an internationally acclaimed speaker with 20 years experience in the window coverings industry. She is the publisher and editor of Sew WHAT?, an international monthly newsletter for professional drapery workrooms.