Yes, Work at Home Business People Do Attend Conventions!

By: twahsb
A convention is something that one usually associates with sales people working in corporate companies; but in fact, they are usually open to anyone who has an interest in their specific market. That includes small work at home businesses such as yours!
If you see a convention advertised that you think would be fun to attend because of its location, or because you've always wanted to visit that part of the country, or it coincides with a school reunion you're attending in that area, or whatever, then seriously consider requesting more information.

If you've never been to a convention in the past, then perhaps the first time you should go only as an informal visitor. Approach the convention like a school field trip. Do your homework - find out who will be there, what they will be demonstrating/exhibiting, etc. Find out what it costs to be there as a participant and what you get in return for that? Use any resources you can find to see whether or not it would be worth committing yourself to another convention - and whether you think you would make enough sales/contacts to justify the expense. However, networking is one of the best things you can do at the convention. That and finding out what's new in your chosen work at home business area, justify the trip for most people.

Before leaving for the convention, make sure you have a pile of professionally designed/printed business cards and a stack of brochures about your own company. Just because you aren't actually part of the convention itself on this visit, doesn't mean that you can't spread some publicity if the opportunity arrives. Keep in mind that many of the businesses at the convention will be well established and technologically ahead of the game so if you have a PDA that allows you to Bluetooth your work at home business card to another PDA, make sure that you have someone set up a business card on the PDA for you before you leave!

At the convention itself, attend as many different activities as you can. Make notes about any new developments in your chosen field. Also note down the names of any companies who seem to be up and coming. See what the other companies are doing at the convention and think about what you could do if you were a participant at the convention rather than a guest. Do you think it would be useful to your work at home business? Does it look like something that would increase your business?

At the convention itself, keep a note of everyone you meet - their name, company, and what they do. Make sure that you give them your business card when first introduced, but don't offer a brochure until you're asked, or they seem genuinely interested. Especially look out for any companies that could complement your own such as suppliers of materials you use. Once you get home from the convention, send off a quick email reminding them of your meeting and asking them for more information about their products.

Once you've tested the water and seen how it's done and what it's all about, decide whether or not you think it would be a profitable experience for you. If you aren't sure, why not give it a go and see what happens? All of the expenses for the convention ought to be tax deductions anyway! If you decide that attending a convention in a more formal way wouldn't really benefit your work at home business and would just require a lot of effort and cost, then don't do it. But don't forget the experience either, and make a note to try and attend a convention every year or so in an informal capacity as it will help you keep your company fresh with current ideas - and that's never a bad thing!
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