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Business plans help companies prepare for trade shows

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Before you pack up those lightweight suits, comfortable shoes and a bottle of something comforting for your hotel room, remember that in many respects you get out of a show what you put into it. Make some notes about what your objectives and your company’s needs are before you go, and bring some notes about what you’ve found back with you. As with any investment, you should have a business plan:

  • Meet at least one expert; make at least one new friend; attend at least one “first-time” trade show event. And offer at least one “thank you” to a speaker or vendor or committee member.
  • Get help with at least one regulatory issue. Explore at least one problem-solving case in depth; identify at least one new best practice.
  • Discover at least one valuable new Web link; find at least one product on the show floor with great sales potential for you; pick up at least one novel advertising idea; identify at least one technological breakthrough for your business.
  • Send at least one inspirational message to your staff back home, and gather at least one set of notes for your co-workers and staff back home, so that you can share the benefits of your trip with everyone.

Don’t forget to offer to share your own expertise and leadership at least once during the show. You’re the expert on your business; join a committee, serve on a panel, or help to organize next year’s event. And when you run into a magazine editor that isn’t holding a glass of wine …or maybe one that is … tell her everything you know, immediately.

Galynn Nordstrom is the senior editor of Specialty Fabrics Review magazine.

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