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Cranmore Park Blog

Many young people are interested in furthering their learning of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, but do not always have the opportunities to do so, a new survey suggests.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology's 2014 Skills Survey poll, which questioned over 400 engineering and IT staff, revealed that 59 per cent of companies believe a lack of available engineers will be a threat to their business in the coming year.

At a trade show, you will typically find dozens of exhibitors all vying for attention. There are a number of different ways you can stand out from the rest, but one of the simplest - and most effective - is simply to offer some refreshments.

These don't have to be particularly elaborate; after all, most attendees will be able to get a proper meal from the venue's restaurant. But a few little snacks, sweets or drinks will be surprisingly welcome at most trade shows. You could use lollipops, bottles of water or small chocolate bars to achieve this effect.

Why exactly would your organisation choose to run training sessions away from your own business premises? This approach adds to costs, as you have to hire a venue - such as specialist meeting rooms or conference facilities - and transport your people to the alternative location. It also increases the amount of time employees spend away from their desks, which can lead to reduced productivity and output on the day.

From a short-term cost perspective, there seems to be a strong case for running training sessions on-site - essentially getting them done without incurring additional costs and then allowing employees to get back on with their work. But if things were so simple, why is it that so many organisations prioritise the provision of off-site training for their people? Why do these companies choose to use third-party facilities in a different location?

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.

The UK events industry is in an excellent place at the moment. Conferences, trade shows and other gatherings are being successfully held all around the country thanks to dedicated planning and the use of great venues. However, the government wants to push even harder to make the UK the best country in the world for business conferences.

This bold statement was made by Sajid Jarvid - the secretary of state for culture, media and sport - in a speech he made at the opening day of the World Travel Market on November 3rd. He told attendees of the event that the government will be joining up with the UK events sector.

Trade shows can be a busy, competitive experience. Everyone there is trying to get attendees to notice their product and visit their stand rather than the ones next to them, which can become a difficult task. It isn't like a local market; you will gain nothing by shouting over people!

Instead, you need to attract people naturally to your stand. This is usually done visually, and display work is a very important part of any trade show. However, ideally you will want to offer attendees something, giving them a reason to visit your stall without having to coerce or persuade them to visit.

If you're running a small business, you'll know all about the importance of having a unique selling proposition (USP). In order to attract customers and keep them out of the clutches of your rivals, you need to offer something a little bit different - a product, service or characteristic that sets you apart from your rivals.

If all you do is sell ordinary goods, at ordinary prices, in a non-descript location, how can you expect to build up a really successful business? In order to kick on, drive revenues and ensure more repeat custom, you need to be unique. Your USP is what grabs people's attention and then encourages them to keep coming back - you've got to have one.

Working out the costs of trade show marketing is crucial for any business, one industry figure has claimed.

Charles Beshears, the president of National Trade Show Displays, told TSNN that these events "can be a very positive and lucrative experience" for many companies.

It's an oft-repeated mantra in business that quality is better than quantity. This is especially true when it comes to a trade show. There is really no point in getting dozens or even hundreds of people to visit your stall if you aren't going to see any return on investment for your time.

You are at a trade show to sell your product, not simply to attract the attention of attendees. In some circumstances the best way to do this is to get as many people to come to your stall as possible in the hope that a decent percentage end up making a purchase. However, it often pays to be a bit more targeted.

Have you ever looked over your conference notes? Every time you attend a panel or seminar, you will almost certainly be covering page after page with text, trying to sum up what each speaker is saying. However, these are no good if you don't go over them afterwards.

You will struggle to retain much information if you do not use your notes to jog your memory. However, the main problem many people have at this stage is time. In a busy week, can you spare an hour or two to go over your notes and revise what you learnt at your last conference?

Digital marketing can help businesses maximise their return on investment (ROI) at trade shows, it has been claimed. Writing for Crain's Cleveland Business, Fathom's online advertising specialist J.J. Anderson explained how the internet can be used to companies' advantage and complement their exhibition strategies.

He claimed that, very often, manufacturers "lag behind" in the digital landscapes, with relatively few fully harnessing the power of online advertising. Anderson offered the view that this is a high-potential area for such companies, providing they are willing to investigate the use of web-based marketing tools.

Employers are to be provided with assistance in recruiting prospective staff with the highest value skills, in an effort to ensure companies are taking on the most suitable candidates from the outset.

The government has revealed that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is set to alter the way that the outcomes of education and skills for adult learners are measured, in a bid to enable employers and training providers alike to focus more closely on giving students the skills they need in order to land new jobs and progress.

What's the point in getting to know consumers at trade shows if you never hear from them after the event? If you spend time talking to people at your stand or booth, trying to convince them to become a customer, you've got to do all you can to connect with them in the future.

Not everybody will buy goods or services from you immediately. In many cases, people like to take their time to think about purchases. They might like what you have to say, and find your business offering engaging, but prefer to let the dust settle and contemplate making an order in their own time.

If you're exhibiting at a trade show, you may well speak to hundreds of different people on any single day. They may all be interesting individuals, people who are interested in doing business with you in the future, but the reality is you can't get to know everybody properly. If you get decent footfall to your stand or booth, there simply isn't the time to have extended conversations with everyone who expresses an interest in your offering.

The fact is that every person who approaches you - or you approach - could be the next potential customer. It won't necessarily be the person you spend 30 minutes talking too, convincing them about the benefits of your products and services. Because however hard you try to make a sale, they still have the right to leave at any point without buying.

You can get a lot out of a conference by simply showing up and putting as much effort as possible into learning and networking. You might think that you don't need to plan out anything, going with the flow on the day so that you can be available for anything that seems interesting to you.

However, while you might have a good conference with this attitude, you will almost certainly end up missing out on several element that you would like to have caught. This is where a schedule comes in handy, to make sure you get the most possible out of the event.

If your business is anything like the majority of UK companies, your workforce probably consists mostly of younger employees. However, these are kept in line by a range of older workers who have been with the firm for a long time, and are therefore able to share their expertise and skills.

Maturity, therefore, can be a valuable asset for a business. However, it is one that is certain to go away at some point as your older employees leave to advance their career or retire. Ideally, you will want most of your workforce to be older, but this is not possible. Most new workers will be younger and need to learn the ropes of your industry.