It’s trade show time for us, We use trade shows to find merchandise and to make contacts with new vendors. It’s a big deal for us, and we look forward to each trip. But, we just can’t go and hope for the best. We’ve got to plan for success.
How To Plan
We use a 6-step process for planning events or our part in them. The template goes like this.
- Consider the Task.
- Consider the Resources.
- Consider the Alternatives.
- Create and Write the Plan down.
- Execute the Plan.
- Evaluate the Plan and Execution.
This provides a clear roadmap for us to make a successful plan, and to make it better and better each time we go.
- The Task is the Goal or Objective for this Plan. Without a clear statement of what we are trying to accomplish, our plan can get derailed right out of the gate.
- What Resources do we have? What Resources do we need? Time, Money, Manpower?
- What are the Alternatives or various ways we can use our resources to accomplish the task? What are the various approaches we can use to cover all the booths? What special events or seminars will we attend? What will we do in the off-hours?
- Then we Write the Plan Down, If we work from memory, we’ll forget within the first couple of hours. After viewing a couple hundred booths, we’re tired and likely to wander aimlessly in a fog. With a written plan, we can get back on track.
- Showtime! Time to actually do this thing. This is the most important step, because if we don’t do it, our year will be wasted.
- Finally, after the show is over, and we have had a chance to recover, we Evaluate how we did. Did we execute according to the plan? If not, why not? Was there anything we didn’t do, but should have done? Was there anything we did that didn’t work out? What should we do differently next time?
Notice that there are decision points after each step. This to ensure we narrow our focus to the essentials and not leave any essentials behind.
The Trade Show Plan
Since we’ve made this trip several times in the past, we actually start with the Evaluation from the last show. Since we’re trying to improve our results, this should give us a good starting point.
Our goal is to find new products and vendors, and to make profitable buys from these new contacts and from our established vendors.,
We have plenty of money and credit, but only 3 days to see as many vendors as we can. We’re old, so our stamina is lower than when we first started. We’ll have to pace ourselves. We’re taking my Service Dog, so we’ll have to work in water and potty breaks to the schedule. We have software to help us make buying decisions.
I’ve also examined our past sales and inventory, so we have some idea of past winners and losers. Do more of what’s working, and less of what’s not.
I have previewed the Exhibitor list and noted down which ones look promising, along with a few notes of what we hope to see with each.
We used to fly each year, but this year, we’re taking our motorhome. This involves a whole set of plans on its own, We load that into our GPS dealy.
With our calendar, list of vendors and inventory, we have a pretty good plan in place.
Obviously, we’ll have to do it. In spite of the hours and miles of walking, we actually look forward to it each year. No problem getting it done.
We’ll Evaluate when we get back.
Plan for Success
We use this template for most of our new or involved projects. Tou can use it, too. If you fail to plan, then you are really panning to fail. You might get by for a time on your charm and good looks, but that will only take you so far.
Plan to Succeed.