Small Businesses and Events

8 questions to ask before deciding whether your small business should attend an event



My entire career has been about events – whether they be trade shows, conferences, roundtables or awards programs. I’m often asked if smaller businesses can benefit from getting involved in industry events. My answer would be yes – but they need to know what they are getting themselves into so they do not waste their time and money.

In my career, I have worked with and helped many Hispanic small businesses use trade shows to grow their companies. How? By finding customers they would not have been able to find without these programs. Events can take you out of your comfort zone – and expose you to customers that may not be on your radar. They also are a great way to meet face-to-face with current customers.

Here are the things to consider when considering whether to participate at a trade show or conference, answer these eight questions:

1. Who are the attendees to the event? What is their profile and are they likely to be interested in your product or service?

2. What are their titles and/or job functions? Are they decision makers or influencers?

3. Is the event in a region of the country that is important to your business? For example, if you are trying to reach decision makers in the financial industry, New York or San Francisco would be a good choice whereas Miami would probably not be.

4. Are your competitors exhibiting? Now this is a catch 22. If they are, it likely means
that this event makes some sense for you if all of the other questions are answered positively. But, if they are not and the rest of the questions are answered positively, you would be at an event where you are not dealing with competition and the customers would only have you to consider in your category – this can be a great thing!


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