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Pt2 - A Fair To Remember - Surviving Your First Trade Fair

P2 – A Fair To Remember – Surviving Your First Trade Fair

Part 2 – Setting Up Your Stand

Exhibiting at your first Trade Fair can be an exciting and profitable experience. With proper planning you can gain valuable exposure in the market and skyrocket your growth and profits. In the previous article we discussed how you can plan and prepare for the Fair. In this article you will learn from some of the experiences we had in setting up for the Fair.

Setting Up At The Fair:

Once you arrive at the Fair, if you have planned carefully you will save yourself a lot of stress. Here are some tips that we learned that may help you.

• ALWAYS, ALWAYS plan in advance for the unexpected: including having access to fast and efficient transport and know where the nearest hardware stores are in case with all your intense planning something unexpected should put a spanner in the works.

Below are two experiences that we had.

  1. Experience 1: Out of Oil But Not Out Of Luck Thanks To Prior Planning  Before we could even begin setting up our stand we had our first experiences with Murphy’s Law. We bought a clapped out van and drove 1000 kilometres to get to the Fair. We had taken the van to a mechanic to fix a number of things to get it road-worthy as it was unregistered. We ASSUMED that they would have also serviced the van as we were going on a long road trip. They hadn’t. Half way along the trip, the red light indicating that it was out of oil flashed. Luckily, as part of our preparation, we had paid for the highest cover for roadside assistance. We couldn’t locate how to get to the engine (I am not mechanically minded) so we called for roadside assistance. In the meantime, we discovered how to get to the engine by pulling up the passenger seat in the cabin. We filled the engine up with an almost entire bottle of engine oil. We learned never to ASSUME as it does really make an Ass Out Of You And Me.
  2. Experience 2:  Parking Nightmares: When we finally arrived at the Fair before we could begin we had to enter the car park. Only problem was, that the height restrictions on both car parks meant that our van with it’s roof racks just didn’t fit. OK, we were in a bit of a dilemma, I didn’t have the right tools to remove the roof racks but at least we had the fast and efficient means of getting to a hardware store to buy the tools we needed. If anyone knows Sydney, it can be a nightmare to get anywhere at peak hour. So two hours later we had gone to the nearest hardware store, dismantled the roof racks, and were finally back at the venue and ready to begin setting up!

• Always allow yourself more time than you planned to set up: Luckily we had two days to set up and we hadn’t wasted a moment getting there early on the first day. Just as well, as ever optimistic as I am I had planned that we would knock it over within 2 hours. 12 hours later we were completing the finishing touches. As a general yardstick, however long you think it will take to set up the first time, multiply than figure by at least 3.

• Always be flexible: We were floored: Things don’t always work out exactly to plan. We had planned to lay down Masonite on the floor in case the exhibition floor was uneven. However, because our stand was not square to say the least, and even though we made the panels smaller to allow for variation, it still wasn’t enough – this meant that we ditched the Masonite panels and lay the carpet on top of the existing carpet which in the end worked out better anyway.

Falling to pieces: We had planned to Velcro the panels to the carpeted walls but this didn’t work so well. In the end we added screws, but after much deliberation.

In the next article I will discuss how you can make the most of the time during the fair.

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