Whoever said that being an exhibition manager was easy, lied! Rather, it should be classified under the tough and demanding job category. But along with being tough, it’s also fun, exciting, exhilarating, stimulating, and never, ever boring. You have the opportunity to go to exotic places, stay in luxurious hotels, and experience life from a totally different angle. Who could ask for anything more? For those of you ready to shoot me at this point, know that I fully understand your pain!
The purpose of this article is to look at ten skills that help make a super successful exhibition manager, and how you can take this expertise and use it to enhance the great job you’re already doing.
1. Planning and organising
The most common reason exhibitions go wrong lies in the simple fact that not enough time is devoted to adequate planning and preparation. And many of those exhibitions that are believed to have been successful are often more by chance than through actual organisation. Super successful exhibition managers have a strategic exhibition marketing and tactical plan of action. They then use the following five basic questions as their foundation before making any arrangements:
- Where does this show fit into our corporate marketing strategy?
- Why are we exhibiting?
- What are we exhibiting?
- Who is our target audience?
- What is our budget?
2. Taking care of details
So much of putting a tradeshow together means taking care of the details, and there are usually more of these than you care to think about. Being detail-oriented is a definite plus. The key to an exhibition manager’s success is having a system that works. Creating checklists is one of the best I know. With the hundreds of pieces that make up the tradeshow puzzle, the only way to put them together and keep tabs on all the details, is with a checklist. Become a checklist fanatic and consider having a checklist for each checklist. I’m getting dizzy just thinking about it.
3. Practicing savvy marketing
A significant part of a successful exhibition manager’s role involves developing a pre-show, at-show and post-show marketing plan. Most exhibitors fail to have a plan that encompasses all three areas. Your budget is naturally going to play a major role in deciding what and how much promotional activity is possible. Super successful exhibition managers know the importance of developing a meaningful theme or message that ties into their strategic marketing plan and that will guide their promotional decisions. They know and understand their target audience and plan different promotional programmes aimed at the different groups they are interested in attracting.
4. Being a team player
Super successful exhibition managers know exactly how to work together as a team, helping each other out whenever and wherever necessary. They help everyone get acquainted, develop a level of trust, and familiarise and understand each other’s strengths. They know what it takes to create an environment of camaraderie where the staff, as a whole, pulls out all the stops to succeed and set themselves apart from the competition.
5. Knowing how to manage time
Super successful exhibition managers have mastered the art of managing their time. They are well organised and have essential information at their fingertips, which means that their work environment is orderly and efficient. They know their priorities, don’t over commit themselves, and can differentiate between important and urgent tasks. They are superb delegators and are not afraid to ask for help whenever they need it. Finally, they don’t procrastinate; on the contrary, they practice the “do it now” habit.
6. Negotiating skillfully
Skillful and savvy negotiators know exactly what they want. They spend time doing their research so that they know as much as possible about their opponent. They are prepared with strategies and tactics, questions and possible concessions. They are masters at finding alternative ways of talking about, reacting to and solving problems. They use their talents of intuition, flexibility and concern for others to reach an agreement where both sides win. They look to create a feeling of co-operation to build a mutually beneficial working environment.
7. Applying a positive attitude
Research successful people and you’ll find that having a positive, “can do” attitude ranks high on their list of characteristics. Not only are they positive and upbeat, but they also surround themselves with naturally positive and successful people. Give it a try and see if their attitude rubs off on you. When you focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t do, expect to find solutions to your various challenges. Try changing your vocabulary to reflect your optimistic thoughts and feelings, and see what happens. People find you more attractive and want to be around you, especially when you focus and direct your conversation to the outcomes they want.
8. Evaluating results
Any master continuously looks to improve on his/her performance, and a super successful exhibition manager is no different. Create a system to evaluate your results. Ask exhibition stand visitors and your exhibition stand staff for their feedback. Find out what they liked about your display stand and general show participation, and what would they like to see improved. In addition, ask yourself what you thought went well and what you would do differently if you had to organise this show again. Chronicle all your data and keep accurate records so that you can refer to them the next time around.
9. Being a perpetual learner
We live in an information age and are inundated by more stuff than we can possibly cope with. However, successful people love it, since they are perpetual learners. They know the pitfalls of relying on what worked in the past as a guide to what will work in the future. That’s why they constantly look for new and improved ways of doing things, learning from the masters and staying open and willing to try different approaches.
10. Keeping a sense of humour
If you don’t laugh, you might cry. In the exhibition and event industry there’s no lack of situations where it’s easy to shed a tear. Keep your sense of humour. It will definitely help keep you from getting mad, annoyed and frustrated with incompetent and disorganised suppliers. Learn to laugh at their mistakes, as well as your own, to maintain a saner perspective on life. If nothing else, remember that laughing is good for your health. It helps reduce both your stress and blood pressure levels.
People always dream of starting their own business and being their own boss, but striking it out with your own venture isn’t easy. To guide you through the labyrinthine steps, here are our top 10 tips to starting your own business.
Tip #1: Do what you love
Running a business takes a lot of time, energy and effort. Building it into a successful enterprise would require even more. Since you need to put a lot into your business, you better make sure that you love what you to make it easier and more fulfilling. Besides, doing something you love means you already know your product or service in and out, eliminating the steep learning curve that first-time entrepreneurs normally encounter.
Tip #2: Start your biz while employed
It’s not easy to find financing for a budding enterprise, let alone an unproven business idea. You can look for angel investors and venture capitalists or file for a loan, but the best way to start a business is to stay in your job and do your business in your spare time. It may take a while before your business actually starts making money, so you should remain employed to keep money in your wallet while going through a start-up’s lean early stages.
Tip #3: Research, research, research
Despite doing something that you love, which should make you an expert on your product or service, you still need research about your competitors, find out if your business idea is viable in your area, learn about your customers, and study the many details about running a business as opposed to merely enjoying a hobby.
Tip #4: Prepare a business plan
What you find out in your research is what you’ll be putting in your business plan. A business plan typically includes the following:
- Details about your business (i.e. corporate structure, number of employees if any).
- A marketing plan that specifies minutiae like pricing, product/service details and promotion strategy.
- An operational plan, which describes supply chain requirements and staffing needs.
- A financial plan that goes over current financing and cash flow projections.
- A risk analysis that analyses market operational, staffing and management risks.
Tip #5: Don’t forget the legal stuff
Don’t wait for the need to disentangle legal problems. Organise all the regulative requirements concerning your business, including the business name, structure, Australian business number, goods and services tax, insurance, permits, payroll taxes—everything that could cause a potential concern if not addressed early on.
Tip #6: Have an online presence
It has become necessary for a business to have an online presence. Here are a few reasons why:
- Going online gives you a fast and efficient medium for marketing.
- It’s a cheap way to reach and communicate with new markets.
- Lets you run your business anywhere.
- Gives your business a persistent global presence.
- Allows you to automate many of your business processes.
Tip #7: Hire professionals
See to it that you hire accountants, lawyers and any other necessary professional to handle any administrative detail that you’re not qualified to perform, so that you can concentrate on running your business. Anyway, you might end up spending more money than you have to if you do these functions yourself because it could get you in trouble since you’re not skilled in doing them.
Tip #8: Always be professional
Your start-up may be small, but this shouldn’t stop you from treating it seriously. This means you should always be polite, considerate and professional in all your dealings. To add further to your credibility, don’t forget the necessary paraphernalia such as professional-looking business cards, a dedicated phone and a business e-mail address that doesn’t use a free webmail domain.
Tip #9: Try guerrilla marketing
Sometimes, non-traditional approaches to marketing are better suited to small businesses. For instance, instead of paying for an expensive magazine ad, try viral marketing in social networking sites or introducing your product to people waiting in line for something, making them more receptive. Thinking out of the box would give you new ideas in promoting your business.
Tip #10: Start selling
Once you actually (or figuratively) show the Now Open sign, you should be ready in giving your sales pitch—just make sure you’re enthusiastic or at least look enthusiastic when delivering it. You also need to find out how to keep them coming back (tip: it starts with new products and promotions, and great service). Remember that you’ll face rejection too, so be ready to deal with it.
Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is known as the secret to a successful business. It plays an important role in today’s business world but what exactly can BPR do for you?
BPR means understanding the processes which are involved in your company. BPR is a management approach aimed at improving your business by means of elevating efficiency and effectiveness of the processes that exist within and across organizations. The key to BPR is for organisations to look at their business processes from a clean slate perspective and determine how they can best construct these processes to improve how they conduct business.
BPR can also be known as Business Process Redesign and Business Process Change Management. BPR has become a viable way of implementing lean structures.
BPR is important to businesses for a number of reasons such as it is the organisational process, which is required to align people, processes and technology with strategies in order to achieve business integration. BPR can also be thought of as taking a business in its current state and forming an organisational and operational blueprint in order to redirect skills policies, information or data, cultural values, organisational skills and processing as well as incentives towards making targeted improvements to the business.
Below are some quotes from the best and most experienced people surrounding BPR:
Hammer and Champy (1993) define Business Process Reengineering as
o “… the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service, and speed.”
Thomas H. Davenport (1993) is another example of how well-known Business Process Reengineering theorist uses the term process innovation, which he says:
o “encompasses the envisioning of new work strategies, the actual process design activity, and the implementation of the change in all its complex technological, human, and organizational dimensions”.
Additionally, Davenport (ibid.) points out the major difference between Business Process Reengineering and other approaches to organization development (OD), especially the continuous improvement or TQM movement, when he states:
o “Today firms must seek not fractional, but multiplicative levels of improvement – 10x rather than 10%.”
BPR, if implemented properly, can give huge returns. BPR has helped giants like Procter and Gamble Corporation and General Motors Corporation succeed after financial drawbacks due to competition. It has also helped American Airlines to get back on track from the bad debt that was hanging over their company practice. BPR is about the proper method of implementation within a company.
So where is the best place to approach in order to gain full benefits from Business Process Reengineering? I recommend that you talk to a finance business, such as an entrepreneur and investor business who will be able to help you with your BPR.
When designing your business office layout you want to make sure you give the right image to your clients.
Finding an interior designer that can understand your business needs and has experience in this sector is of huge advantage and can actually save you money in the future.
There are many things you need to consider when creating your office space including thinking about future growth, is this layout going to suit our office and can it incorporate our future business needs. If you have to add furniture and other additions to the office in the future the current layout can restrict or not allow for changes to the office environment.
Other things that need to be taken into account are how staff and visitors can work within this office layout, can they work efficiently, has the office been laid out to take the reception desk, conference rooms, kitchens and fire exits into consideration. A good interior designer will take all these factors into account.
Noise. Yes noise can cause interruptions in the workplace, think about how sound travels around the office between departments, if you have a sales team what effect is that going to have on the other members of staff.
Finally, the price versus quality. Although you’ll have a budget to work towards, taking the cheapest option may not be taking into consideration the best use of the office space and future proofing the office layout and by spending a little more at the outset can save on operating costs too.