How to Work a Tradeshow

The Chicago Business Opportunities Fair (CBOF) was held this past week at Chicago’s Navy Pier, providing Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) the chance to meet with corporate and government agencies looking to identify diverse suppliers.  The Women’s Business Development Center’s Annual Entrepreneurial Woman’s Conference isn’t too far off at this point either – Wednesday, September 22nd at McCormick Place West.

So, what’s the best way to work a trade show and maximize the benefits for your business?  Here are the basics:

Choose the right show – This is critical for small businesses because of the time and money spent to attend a show, so do your homework.  Think strategically – is it better to attend one expensive show or have a presence at several smaller events?  Seek input from your business peers and mentors.

Detail what you what to accomplish and make a plan – There’s nothing worse than hitting the trade show floor without an action plan – most likely the day will end in frustration.  Are you looking to build contacts?  Sell a product?  Get in front of a certain buyer or supplier diversity representative?  Decide what your goals are before you even hit the event, and you will be much more likely to achieve your desired results.

Be prepared – After you determine the right show and create your action plan, make sure you are ready.  Be on time.  Look the part.  Bring the right people.  Make sure all of your materials are professional and include current information.  Think success.

For more information on upcoming trade shows visit your industry association’s website or check out:
Trade Show Week
Trade Show Exhibitors Association

For information on the 24th Annual Entrepreneurial Woman’s Conference and Business & Buyers Mart, presented by the Women’s Business Development Center, please visit


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Filed under Established Business, Marketing

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