February 20-26 is Build a Better Trade Show Image Week. This is a week for small business owners and corporate marketing professionals to get ready for business expos and tradeshows. Trade shows and business expos are a great way to get your business seen. However, if you do no prepare you run the risk of compromising your brand.

1. Review Marketing Materials – now is the time to dust off your marketing materials. Throw away any damaged items. This includes anything bent, wrinkled or faded. Review the content on your business card and brochure. Is it still accurate? Ensure you have your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn information on your marketing materials. There are various websites that allow you to download icons that are niche specific. You will want to ensure that your marketing materials reinforce your brand. Use the colors from your website and blog for your marketing materials. You will also want to use your professional headshot and/or logo in your materials to continue branding your business. It is a good idea to contact the trade show director and ask how many people are expected to attend so that you do not run out of marketing materials.

2. Plan Your Display – your display can make or break your business. If your display looks tired or outdated attendees will assume your business skills are outdated. Small business owners must have a budget for display items. This includes a table cloth, banner, flat screen monitor or digital picture frame, white board, raffle box or basket and give away items. Your display makes your first impression. This will attract or detract prospective clients and customers from visiting your booth. I recommend placing your display table to the back of your booth area so that people must enter your space to see and learn more about your business. Ask yourself, “Can my display sell my business if I am not in attendance?”

3. Rehearse – Many business owners do not like to be the focus of attention. However, a trade show is not the place to sit behind the table and play with your cell phone. If you are an introvert you will want to practice what you will say to people as they walk past your booth. If you do not know what to do with your hands I suggest you hold a brochure or have lollipops to hand to young children. It is best to make eye contact with the parent first and ask if it is ok to offer the lollipop to the child. This opens up the avenue for you to engage the parent in conversation. I have seen this used and it works. It takes the focus off of you, the business owner, and places the focus on the parent and child. Be prepared to answer questions. Look through your email account to see what questions you are most commonly asked. You may wish to prepare a frequently asked question sheet with your contact information on the bottom to hand to people when they begin asking questions.

When you properly prepare for a trade show or business expo your booth will sell your business. I encourage you to take a few minutes this week to review your marketing materials, plan your display and rehearse what you will say as people approach your booth. These tips will ensure that you have a high return on your investment.

Author's Bio: 

Dream Catcher, Business & Life Coaching is a Veteran Owned Business. Coach Jaynine is a retired United States Marine and former psychotherapist who works with Veterans and those on Active Duty. Jaynine will show you how to increase your visibility while developing your expertise. Whether you are a Veteran Business Owner or still on Active Duty, Coach Jaynine is the coach for you. She will teach you the systems and strategies needed to grow your business, have a successful military career, or transition into civilian life. You can start turning your dreams into reality by signing up for her free ecourse My 5 Secrets to Networking Success http://networkingdetox.com/