Business First Steps had avoided the limelight as long as it could. I was a protective mother who thought her baby wasn’t ready for the real world – maybe a few playgroups i.e. small exhibitions. The Prysm Guys found my URL via Google and gave me a call, they said my business will be good for the show and the show will be good for my business.
Well after much ado (two years actually) we said yes, an alliance was formed and the panic began. Business First Steps had never exhibited at the Business Show before, what is expected? What do we offer? How can we stand out? As one of the late entries to the show, we were lucky to get a good stand near the entrance – helped a great deal. So we decided to give The Business Show Olympia 2012 a go.
The Lessons Learnt
I am a firm believe that aims and objectives are very important for any step in life. I made a long list of what I wanted my business to achieve at the show and choose the two most important ones. Then I had to decide on how we will achieve these goals. We weren’t looking to sell our services but to create awareness of what we do. I think we achieved that, judging from the feedback we are still getting now.
We were lucky to have some great visuals which became the focal point as the day went on. A lot of people who came to our stand started using our strap line saying “please navigate me; I want to start a business”. I have the founder of mumsclub – Jane Hopkins to thank for her tips; she knows how to set up a great stand; in addition to the graphic designer at We Create Media.
Get people who love people to help out at your stand. Business First Steps is a small business but I was privileged to have two great guys at my stand engaging people all day. They did an even better job than I ever could.
I learnt that you should showcase your best products or services and not all of them as people do get confused with too much going on. Then be ready to answer questions all day. I felt as if I had an internal record on repeat, I have never talked so much in my life. It was an absolute thrill to be able to interact with so many people and talk about what we do. We also gave out a lot of advice too, as you never know if you will see them again. I hope they make good use of the information we shared.
Wear comfortable shoes. I saw a lot of ladies in heels on both days, initially I felt under-dressed in my flats but my back thanked me for it later. It is a long day and you must be prepared to stand for a long time, we were so busy we didn’t have time for lunch on the first day. I guess we were extremely thrilled too, that kept the adrenaline pumping and hunger at bay.
The exhibition hall was surprising warm too, considering the low temperature outside on both days. So we were able to dress up nicely with no fear of the weather outside.
On the first day I was so hungry and decided to have a few sweets but each time I turned around someone showed up. So eating at your stand is a no-no especially if you have a busy stand. A little bit of chocolate can boost your mood though, so I learnt to sneak off for a bite during the quiet moments. Luckily, the cafe was just behind our stand so we could grab a bite pretty quick on day two.
I was privileged to hold one of the seminars, which was packed with people standing outside too. Some of the people who attended the seminar had circled the seminar as a ‘must attend’…good booster for us!!! It was a great opportunity to speak to so many people about navigating their business first steps and also showcase what we do.
Selling might not work as much as sharing information and giving people the opportunity to keep in touch. People were receptive to what we had to offer as long as we weren’t asking them to make a commitment and part with their money. Quite a number of people have been in touch afterwards which made the exhibition worthwhile for us.
Now that Business First Steps is no longer a Business Show virgin, we feel confident that the next opportunity will be even better. The question is will we exhibit again at the business show? Oh Yes We Will!!
Will love to hear from you if you are a business show virgin or veteran. Tips are always welcome.
Wishing you good success