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Cranmore Park Blog

Conferences and trade shows can offer a multitude of opportunities from a networking perspective. If you're willing and able to put yourself about, and track down the important people in the room, you can add some valuable names to your address book. It could be the leaders of another business involved in your industry, or somebody you'd like to invest in your enterprise. It might be a thought leader, whose insight can add value to your business and help you take it to the next level.

But what you have to remember is that important people also tend to be busy people. You won't, by any means, be the only person who wants to network with them. As such, if you do manage to pin such individuals down for a conversation, you've got to make it count. And this means making a great first impression.

The traditional nine to five office job could soon become a thing of the past, with new research suggesting that just 14 per cent of UK workers want to work in a traditional office in the future.

A new report by PwC, entitled ‘The future of work: A journey to 2022’, shows that 53 per cent of people believe that technology will significantly change the way people work over the next five to ten years and force business owners to reconsider company structures.

At any trade show or exhibition, there are good booths for advertising your products and services, and there are great ones.

Ideally, you want to tie down one of the latter - some prime 'real estate' at the event where you are prominently-placed and guaranteed footfall.

If you're hoping to enjoy a successful trade show, you've got to ensure your booth or stand looks as professional as possible.

In order to give the right impression to attendees - the people you hope will become your customers following the event - you've got to achieve the right set-up.

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.

Whether you're conducting a training session or giving a presentation at a conference, stepping in front of an audience can be incredibly nerve-wracking. With a sea of faces staring at you, it is all too easy to feel like nobody is listening and your speech is falling flat, even if that is not the case.

We all want to make an impact with our presentations. However, doing so can be difficult. You certainly don't want to end up staring into your notes and stammering your way through an embarrassing performance! You need to impress your audience, which is easier said than done.

The Birmingham area has long been touted as one of the best places for conferences in the UK. Its relatively central location and good travel links make it easy to get to for international meetings, and there are many fantastic conference venues in and around the Birmingham and Solihull area that organisations can take advantage of.

If proof was needed of this, one needs look no further than recent statistics from Birmingham's hotel industry. The sector has seen a major boost in occupancy rates recently, and the number of conferences being held in the city is thought to be why.

Have you ever had a trade show that was a failure, but without any clear reason why? It could be that you had very few people come over to your stand, or that the people who did talk to you rarely ended up making a purchase. Often, this is because you got one thing wrong: your positioning.

This seems like a very tiny part of a successful trade show experience, but it is actually incredibly important. Where you sit or stand plays a large part in how approachable you seem, as well as whether you come across as relatable or distant to the attendees. So, where do you usually position yourself?

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:

When you get back from your next conference, you will almost certainly be doing so with a bundle of business cards in hand. If you have organised yourself properly, these will already be sorted and you will have a plan of action for each contact. However, you will still need to make that all-important follow-up call for them all!

If calling people isn't really your thing, then sorry! You are going to have to be on the phone a lot in the days - or even weeks - following a conference. However, the payoff is definitely worth it. Good follow-up work leads to a whole range of benefits for your business, so don't neglect it!

Every business owner knows that keeping your employees happy with their careers is key to ensuring you have the best people working for you at all times. If you have an unmotivated workforce full of people who are convinced they are stuck in a dead-end job, you will soon end up losing them.

This is rarely a good thing. A high staff turnover looks bad for your company, discouraging the most talented people from applying for a job there. When you employ somebody with the potential to have a huge positive effect on your firm, you want to ensure they stick around rather than jetting off to another business.

If you're organising a trade show, conference or exhibition, your main concern is to ensure everything goes smoothly and the event is considered a success. Both exhibitors and attendees - whether they are individual consumers or business representatives - need to go away satisfied with the experience, knowing they have been properly catered for. So long as you achieve this, they will be happy to return again next year.

One of the first things you need to get right is the venue. Choosing specialist conferencing/exhibition facilities in a central location, close to strong transport links, is a no-brainer. You want exhibitors and other attendees to arrive with ease and be in comfort for the whole day. This means selecting a room or rooms with sufficient space and ensuring you don't go over capacity. If everyone feels cramped and crowded, this will impact on their experience.

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.

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.

If you're interested in marketing your business' products or services at a trade show in the coming year, it might be in your interests to commit at soon as possible.

Registering early can help ensure you get the best possible deal, meaning you've got more financial resources left over to spend on your booth display and promotional materials.

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.