Working With Trade Shows

By: George Meszaros

Select your top priority vendors prior to your arrival. All trade shows have websites listing the exhibitors. Research the product offerings of all, and have list of must visit booth numbers. Arrive with your trade show plan in hand. As an attendee on a mission, you will come away with a better understanding of the market.

Trade shows are a great way to meet manufacturers, touch and feel their products first hand, and place orders on the spot. Traveling to trade shows is a significant investment, but you can deduct the cost of your trip from the business. Trade shows are excellent for networking and learning from others in your industry.

Most business owners only visit trade shows within the U.S. If you are interested in placing large orders, look into trade shows overseas. China has become the factory of the world in the past few decades. Trade shows in various parts of China are becoming larger and more popular every year. The Canton Fair is one of the largest trade shows in mainland China with hundreds of thousands of attendees and tens of thousands of exhibitors. It is such a huge show that it has two phases, each one week long.

Manufacturers at Chinese trade shows expect larger orders than exhibitors at U.S. based trade shows. A huge international trade show is an exhilarating experience. It may be your best option to find an inexpensive manufacturer for your products. Be careful about protecting your product. Patent it before you take it to China for manufacturing. Make sure the factory understands that you have a protected product, and they are not permitted to make the same product for any other company. Taking the manufacturing of your product to an inexpensive overseas factory is risky business, so consider it carefully.

Every significant industry has some trade publications targeted manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers. They are packed with sales advice, industry trends, business profiles, and advertisements. Many offer business directories that list suppliers and other key players. You'll find information about industry events such as trade shows and conferences. You can even call the publication and ask for advice over the phone.

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