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Cranmore Park Blog

Creating the perfect trade show stand can give your business a real boost, in terms of attracting new customers and boosting revenues. But there are a number of common pitfalls you'll need to avoid if you're going to make the best possible use of your advertising space. Here are ten big 'no-nos' for your trade show marketing:

Exhibitions and large trade shows are a great place to advertise your business. Usually, this means getting a stand together and showcasing whatever it is you have to offer, whether that means showing off the services you offer to potential customers or trying to get retailers to stock your wares.

This can be a great way to grow your business, but there are several challenges you must overcome first. Trade shows will not consist of just your stand and a swathe of potential customers; there could be dozens if not hundreds of competitors there with the same goals as you.

So you're running training sessions, but your employees don't seem to be taking the information onboard. What can you do to make your learning and development programmes more effective, ensuring employees gain new skills, acquire knowledge and are better prepared to do their job to the best of their ability? Here are eight tips for making the most of employee training:

The automotive industry has been a constant fixture in the West Midlands for decades, and that is still true today, with many of the world's leading car manufacturers having a presence.

At one point, the West Midlands used to be the "Workshop of the World", with Mini and MG Rover leading the way forward for great British car brands, and this strong tradition has continued with the likes of Jaguar Land Rover.

A lot of attention is paid to how exhibitors can make the most out of their trade shows, but people often forget that it is not easy to be an attendee either! As soon as you arrive you will be greeted by dozens of stalls, all trying to attract your custom with the many weekend deals they have on.

You need to make sure you are not suckered into a bad deal, but at the same time you need to be on the look out for products and services that will help out your business. This can be tricky at times. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of whatever trade shows you attend:

Only at the most casual of exhibitions should you ever wear jeans. It is always better to look smarter than necessary than it is to look scruffy, so go for something a bit more upmarket. If you don't want to wear a suit, then khakis and a shirt or polo will do.

You should also think about picking out something with plenty of pockets. Your jacket might have a few, but you are going to need all you can get. You will probably be carrying a mini-office around with you in your pockets, so go for practicality over style in this area.

Organising a trade show costs money, and sometimes significant amounts of it, depending on the size and scale of the event.

As an organiser, you may well make the original investment back with relative ease - and turn over a profit - but it's important to ensure costs are covered as soon as possible.

It costs money for businesses to run training sessions for their employees.

As well as the cost of hiring facilities, paying for specialist instructors and provisioning the required training materials, there are also the lost man-hours to contend with. If employees are in training rather than getting on with their jobs, this can have an impact on productivity in the short term.

Meetings are a necessary part of every company. However, they can so easily go wrong. One of the main problems many businesspeople have is leaving meetings with the feeling that they haven't really achieved anything. Sometimes, it can seem like you don't know why you met in the first place.

This is generally caused by not having a strong brief or agenda going into the meeting. If you are not 100 per cent sure what your aims are when you get your fellow staff members together then you run the risk of the discussion going around in circles, without ever arriving at a satisfactory conclusion.

To many people this might seem like an odd question, but how will people see what you have to offer at your trade show stall if they aren't able to attend the show itself? You might think they have missed their chance, but thanks to the internet they can still be a target market for you.

All you need is a video camera and an internet connection and you can stream your trade show live to an online audience. There are pros and cons to this, of course, but if you prepare well and do everything professionally you might be able to significantly increase your brand exposure.

If you're staging a meeting or a training session, you'll welcome the opportunity to lay the room out according to the optimum design.

It may be that you need a 'boardroom' set-up, with everyone around one table, or that you require more of a 'classroom' set-up, with chairs and desks facing the front of the room.

If you're staging a meeting or training session away from your normal business premises, there's no point hiring a second or third-rate facility. If you're paying for the use of a meeting room, then it needs to be fit for purpose. As well as being equipped with all the necessary furnishings and fittings, it needs to give off a strong, professional vibe. If the meeting room doesn't achieve this, you may as well save your money and use the staff canteen instead.

So what exactly makes a great meeting room? Here are ten must-haves for a facility you'll be happy to use time and time again:

If you're planning a conference for the first time, you might not realise what a big job you've undertaken. Even if it's going to be a relatively manageable event in terms of numbers on the day, or over the period of the event, there's still an awful lot of preparation to be done in advance.

You want to make the best possible impression with everyone who attends, in order to build a strong reputation which will stand you and your organisation in good stead in the future. In order to achieve this, you've got to hire great facilities, organise high-quality events, book the right speakers and ensure everyone's needs are met.

If you are organising a major event - such as an exhibition, conference or trade show - one of the most important aspects of the planning process will be the risk assessment.

You need to ensure there is an exciting programme of events, and that high-profile organisations are in attendance, but your first priority has to be ensuring the safety of everyone on-site.

Trade shows can be a hard slog at times. You work for a full day, most of which will be spent on your feet, meeting anything from a few dozen to hundreds of people. You will be expected not only to be polite to all of them, but to give your best sales pitch as well. It is no surprise that most people find themselves collapsing on the sofa for a well-deserved rest afterwards!

However, the end of a trade show does not mean you can put it out of your mind. All of the contacts you've made and leads you have acquired will need to be followed up on, which can be hard work; sometimes it's an even tougher job than the original exhibition!

At the next conference you attend, you will almost certainly be given a notepad or something similar to write on. These aren't just for doodling in the margins; note-taking is an important part of every conference. Without it, you will struggle to retain the information you learn and end up with only a vague memory of what was said.

If you want to be able to take the skills and knowledge you learn at your next conference back with you, you need to find the method of note-taking that works best for you. There are plenty of different options; here is a short guide to a few of the most common.