Summer is almost here, and for many online-based businesses that means it is time for summer shows! Whether you will be doing craft fairs, local gift shows, or large wholesale shows, here are some friendly reminders of things to do to get ready for the big day!
Prepare and Print Marketing Collateral
If you prepare any catalogs, handouts, line sheets, or coupons for summer shows, you will want to get those ready ahead of time. Start by figuring out what you want to print for the show and design and get it ready far before the deadline. If you aren’t incredibly handy with Photoshop or other design programs, think about hiring a professional to create templates or designs for you. As a handmade artist it is easy to want to make everything yourself, including your marketing materials, but you may be taking on way more stress than you need to do! Outsourcing some of the work can help you meet your show goals earlier than later.
Inventory Your Products
Figure out your entire inventory ahead of time and make sure you have a good system for keeping track of it on show day! If you are selling products at the show and not just taking orders, it is a good idea to have an inventory system in place so that you don’t end up stressing about what is or isn’t there. If you are looking for a simple solution that you can maintain on your own, check out the various inventory apps that are available for your smartphone. You can also create a simple Excel spreadsheet if you don’t need anything too detailed or technical.
There is nothing worse than showing up to a show, only to realize you don’t have enough change in the cash drawer to get you through the day! Organize your cash ahead of time and make sure you have plenty of small bills handy. Also, if you will be accepting credit cards make sure you have the right equipment and that it works! If you will be taking orders at the show and processing payments later bring all the necessary supplies such as a receipt book, order forms, or anything else you might need.
Create a Checklist
Only you know all the things that you need in order to have a successful show. It is a good idea to make your own checklist that you can print off and go over, item by item, as you pack everything into your car. This way you will avoid the panic attack that is sure to occur if you arrive at the show and realize you forgot to bring a chair to sit in and the event is over eight hours long. Not a fun scenario! By having a checklist handy you can assure yourself some peace of mind on the day of the event (plus it should help you get a restful night of sleep, since you won’t be running through your mental checklist all night). Speaking of being able to rest easy the night before a show, that brings us to the next prep item:
Pack Your Car The Night Before
Show day will be here before you know it and a lot of stress can be avoided by packing up all your inventory, materials, and booth requirements the day before. While you are at it, also make sure to pack snacks, water, a first aid kit, and a small tool kit. You might not need a hammer or duct tape at the show, but someone likely will and you can be a good neighbor to your fellow showmates, should their need arise. If you do end up needing these supplies you will be more than glad to have them handy!
Plan you Setup Ahead of Time
Don’t wait for show day to plan out your booth design! Decide how you will setup and do a practice run before show day comes. Setup times seem to go by quickly so you can avoid the stress of beating the clock by knowing what you want to do and how long it will take you. Need a few ideas for cute display items or booth design? Check out Pinterest to get inspired, but don’t be afraid to let your own sense of style show through.
Above all, have fun at your shows this summer! One of the greatest things about doing shows is you get to be in person with your customers instead of just meeting them through the screen. Enjoy the event, have fun, and make lots of sales!
Photo: Nate Burgos on Flickr