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Many small businesses have a mountain to climb when it comes to getting recognized. They don’t have the endless resources that some big businesses do, nor do they possess the household name that a brand will often carry.
All businesses have to start off somewhere and if you’re heading to your first conference event as a business, then it’s important to get it right. Setting up a stand and being a prominent presence at a business event is a great way to boost your company’s name and hopefully acquire many opportunities as a result.
With that being said, here are a few tips on how to make your first small business conference event experience, a success.
First and foremost – plan ahead. This is by far the most important stage within the process because you want to ensure you’ve put everything in place to make it a success. When attending your first conference as a business, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve filed all the relevant paperwork with the organization behind the event itself.
Consider what else you’ll need, whether that’s funding to place a stand at the conference or a sponsor to help ensure you’re advertised in some way, shape, or form at the event. Planning all of the logistics and details ahead will make sure that your small business gets seen and has the best chance of success.
Become an Insider
Pick the right spot if given a choice
For some conferences, businesses can pick where they’re placed in the space. Some conferences will be placed in one giant space, whereas others may be spread over the venue itself. Whether that’s an office building or a big manor house for example.
Conferences take place in all sorts of places, which is what keeps it interesting. To help ensure get the right spot, see if you can request it ahead of time. Some may have the opportunity of being selected if you’re one of the first few to get signed up and added to showcase as a business at the conference.
Bring with you the right team members
With any conference, who you bring with you is important. You want to make sure that the people you have on your conference team are the ones who’ll work hard. Some conferences may only be brief, say for a day or two, while others may be a week long. You may wish to switch out your team to give everyone a bit of a break during the duration of the conference.
However, you do want to make sure that someone is managing and overseeing the entirety of the conference from start to finish.
Only bring with you, the most organized and driven team members for this conference, especially if it’s your first one. It’s important to make the right impression on those who’ll be looking at or interacting with you for the first time.
Set up your stand to attract attention
The stand is a point at which anyone interested in your business, will approach for more information. When it comes to business conferences, there are a lot of stands usually. This makes it more challenging to get noticed and to remain the stand that draws attention to those walking by.
It may be worth dressing up your stand with the appropriate decor to look more appealing. There’s also the use of technology that can help draw attention to your stand. For example, an Ipad rental for a conference or tradeshow might prove useful for helping create small slideshows that can be played as guests walk by.
Be open and warm as guests approach you
When it comes to your guests, you want them to feel like they can approach you, if they’re interested in your stand in particular. The worst thing you can do is look like you’re busy doing something else or have your arms folded to give off that ‘you’re not welcome’ vibe.
Make sure that you’re open and warm to guests as they approach you. Keep your arms loose and to your sides or whatever feels natural. Remain open and greet everyone with eye contact and a smile. It’s the little things like this that will make a big difference when it comes to acquiring an interest in your stand.
Have opportunities to collect leads
Make sure you’ve got plenty of opportunities to collect leads and data at the event. From tablets to mobile phones and laptops to just simple pen and paper.
By getting sign-ups to newsletters or asking interested leads to fill in their data on a Google form, conferences can become a gold mine for those who want to use these events for lead acquisition.
Give out freebies if possible
Who doesn’t like a freebie? A lot of conferences and events where businesses are exhibiting will tend to offer freebies or discounts as a way to get more people to come to their stand. From going around with leaflets to simply offering freebies out in front of the stand itself, it’s a great way to help draw attention and get newcomers to the business to instantly attract your brand.
Most freebies are relatively cheap to acquire and these could be free pens, tote bags, or other useful branded items.
Network with others at the event
Conferences are another type of business event that is crucial for building connections. If you’re looking to boost your company’s presence and awareness on the market, don’t forget to connect with other businesses while you’re there.
You may want to focus on acquiring new customers but you may find that other businesses there have some worthwhile opportunities worth exploring. Don’t be afraid to network at these conferences and to perhaps organize some social opportunities to get to know these individuals or organizations.
Making your first small business conference event experience count is important. With that being said, make sure you’ve planned ahead, acquired everything you need to attract attention to your stand, and above all, have fun.
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