While many people focus on the leads that can be generated during a trade show, there are often opportunities to form other connections that can help a small business.
Entrepreneur recently reported on several companies that got their big breaks at trade shows. While some of these organizations were able to find the right distributor or supplier at an industry conference, most benefited from getting sound advice from industry experts, investors and other exhibitors.
For instance, Scott Rousseau, owner of Beyond the Shaker, started a conversation with a fellow exhibitor during the slow hours of an event. Later, that business owner encouraged Rousseau to participate in a regional trade show, which netted him 15 new leads and another key connection that opened up other events and clients for him. Without the dialog with another business owner, Rousseau may have struggled to generate sufficient leads.
Tip: Take opportunities to mingle and make connections in an informal setting
In a recent interview, Lew Hoff, president of Bartizan Connects, stated that it was always important to socialize with others after an industry conference. Conversations off the sales floor provide opportunities to learn more about the sector, and consequently, event managers should consider the value of connections when organizing their shows. Encouraging the gathering of professionals from different aspects of the industry can help entrepreneurs develop meaningful connections that can help their businesses.
Hoff stated that meeting with others in the industry was extremely beneficial for young professionals, as more experienced individuals often want to provide advice and suggestions to others, while the Entrepreneur article noted that small business owners can develop mentors within their industry that can help open doors for them. These mentorships can provide advice and expertise for those just starting out, or mentors can help entrepreneurs set up meetings with others in a better position to help.
Tip: Don't be afraid to ask for help
Regardless of the industry, having the right backing can make a big difference emotionally as well as professionally. Knowing that someone else is willing to offer support and help you succeed can provide a lift to morale, but despite all of these benefits, many business owners fail to develop the right connections to help their companies grow. The source stated that leaders can not be afraid to go out on a limb and ask for assistance. Just arranging a private lunch to gain some advice can yield unexpected results.