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A Startup’s Guide to Trade Shows

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You can never cheap a trade show.

I dare you to try it. Actually, I double dare you. You could have all the best ideas for saving money – trust me, I thought I did – and you still end up paying hundreds of dollars for basic necessities. Electricity and Internet for the 21 total hours we spent exhibiting cost us twice as much as my monthly bills at home. And, if you aren’t careful, bellhops, booth carpet, trashcan rental, and displays will easily drain your budget. Basically you can and will be charged for everything but air at a trade show, which leaves you with 2 choices:

1. Eat the costs: This is the recommended route – your finance department will hate you at the beginning, but if you bring in some customers (or qualified leads) it will be worth the investment.

2. Go it alone: Try to implement your amazing ideas cheaply and see what happens. Keep in mind there are lists of rules and restrictions that even the most savvy marketing pro can’t navigate. You run the risk of having a shoddy booth that actually drives people away and could have been prevented if you spent a little extra money.

Bottom line: You have already committed to attend, don’t cheap it.

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