Many companies decide to exhibit at a trade show for all the right reasons (grow the business, find new leads, see current customers, etc.). But when it comes to planning the exhibit and the trade show, it often falls upon someone who already has a full plate. How can you handle this additional responsibility while still performing your regular duties and responsibilities? It isn’t easy, but here are a few tips to help make it more manageable:
- Research the show. Every show has a website, and most have a Quick Facts page. The quick facts will be very useful in planning your show.
- Plan your budget and get early approval. This is a huge time saver because you will not have to ask for approval every time you make a purchase or commitment. Waiting for approvals can often be a hidden time waster that is not included in a timeline, and can lead to rush charges, expedited shipping and added stress.
- Create a timeline. Planning a successful trade show can be overwhelming. There is so much to do, but since it’s a full year away, don’t fall into this trap! Take a few moments to create a timeline. Begin with the dates of the show and work backwards. This way you can break everything down into manageable chunks with deadlines to keep yourself on target.
- Prioritize. Once you create your timeline you can prioritize and tackle. Since you have created a timeline, assign deadlines for each task, and stick to them!
- Spread the love. If you are lucky, you may be able to delegate some of the tasks. But if that isn’t an option for you (as it’s not an option for many), schedule yourself a calendar reminder/task (daily, weekly, monthly, or whatever works for you.) Spreading out the responsibilities will prevent you from getting bogged down, and will help to give you a fresh perspective as you take time between segments.
- Build in time for the unexpected. Things happen. Emergencies come up. Shipping is delayed. The last person required to approve something takes vacation. You get the gist. Build in a little wiggle room so that you have a little breathing room.
- Work with a vendor that you trust. Does your vendor have access to designers, artists, and installers? Can they work with you to provide solutions that fit your specific needs? Does your vendor have 24-hour support? And most of all, can you rely on them to be there when you are on the trade show floor setting up and you need a tool or you are missing a part.