Ron Sievers had never been to a trade show before he started his landscaping and irrigation business last year. But the owner of R & D Irrigation & Landscaping Inc. in Apopka, Florida, decided a local landscaping show would be a good source of ideas and perhaps help him locate some new plant suppliers. He found what he was looking for and more--including a new Bobcat skidsteer loader--and is sold on the idea of attending shows.
"I was surprised at the number of vendors there," says Sievers, 59. "I didn't think much about what a Bobcat would have to do with landscaping, but it has a whole lot to do with it, and we bought one from the people at the show."
No matter what industry you're in, trade shows and conventions are an excellent source of information. Exhibitors are eager to show off their latest products and show you how such items can enhance your business. And for many homebased business owners, these shows may be your only opportunity to meet face-to-face with a sizable number of prospective suppliers and customers in a very compact amount of time.
Check with your industry and professional associations for information about upcoming shows. Ask for a list of exhibitors in advance, so you can decide which companies you definitely want to contact before you get there. Like Sievers, keep an open mind while you're at the show--you may find an unexpected sales or productivity tool. And, if necessary, be willing to travel to attend the right show. It could be one of the best investments of time and money you can make for your business.
R & D Irrigation & Landscaping, Inc.
1114 Sheeler Rd., Apopka, FL 32703
Business number: (407) 880-1863 Home: (407) 886-0780
Jacquelyn Lynn left the corporate world more than 12 years ago and has been writing about business and management issues from her home office in Winter Park, Florida, ever since.