International business fairs and tradeshows offer immense promise for business growth and international expansion.However, there are certain caveats that even experienced businesses overlook. While it is important to leverage the opportunity for international exposure, not all events offer the same kind of relevance and potential that your business needs. Here are some of the most important factors you should consider.
A Long-Term Approach
When attending an international business fair or trade show for the first time, adopt a long-term approach. Few businesses, if any, are able to strike up a good list of contacts or business deals on their first international business fair participation. It takes multiple visits to establish a presence and gain the trust of the local business community. So, when budgeting for an international trade show or event, make sure that you are considering its attractiveness for multiple visits. Chalk out a 2 to 3 year program for visiting local businesses and business events, and meeting local suppliers and vendors.
Understand Local Business Customs
Before planning a trade show display for an international business fair, make sure that you are familiar with the local language conventions. English may be the international language of business and commerce, but in many countries it may be customary for local or regional languages to be used in business communication, particularly at international events. Therefore, you should do some research and ensure that your signage, trade show display and promotional materials are multilingual where necessary. It may also be beneficial to bring an interpreter, or hire one locally, as your resources and budget permit. This will help you strike up a rapport with local businesses easily.
Use Local Media
Using the local media to publicize your presence is very important. Remember, you are one of many hundreds or thousands of businesses attending the event. Use local media and PR companies to get word of your participation around in the community. Social media is another powerful tool that can help spread your message in very little time. You can sponsor a local publication for a supplement about your company and its activities, as well as details of your participation at the international business fair. Sponsoring a television spot may be very expensive, but it is also a useful tool to establish your presence in a big way.
Measure the Return on Investment
Measuring the ROI is a critical factor in assessing the impact of your international business fair participation. Consider the traveling costs, the cost of time staff will spend away from regular work duties at the fair, and the costs of hiring space at the venue. You can reach out to the trade investment body of your country and see if they offer any support with the expenses of international fair participation. Every step you can take to control costs can go a long way, because international business fair participation is notorious for overrunning budgets all the time.
Alignment with Strategy
Finally, make sure that the international event aligns with your growth strategy. An event may be very exciting and glamorous, but it might not be the right one for you. There are several things you need to look at when deciding whether to attend a particular international trade show. For example, the location of the event and whether that would bring you closer to new markets for your products. Is there going to be local, regional or international participation? One is not necessarily better than the other, but you need to decide if the event offers the best opportunity for your business. Secondly, the demographics of the visitors should also give a clue into how viable this event would be for you.
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