This week I attended two business fairs; the first was the Ely Celebration of Business Event at Ely Cathedral on Tuesday and then the Huntingdonshire Business Fair on Wednesday at Woodgreen Animal Shelter. Although there was not a huge footfall at either event, would I say that the business events didn’t work for me?

When I set up at Huntingdonshire Business Fair I was prepared, I brought my own three circle tables, each had a table cloth in my company colours; orange, green and blue. I had considered the attendees at the events and had suitable leaflets designed and printed for the event, I had the three brand colour pen pots with free pens, mints in brand coloured bags laid out in the shape of the logo, three chairs in the brand colours and a bottle of champagne to win. I also had three pop-up banners – one gave an overview of my company while the other two shared testimonials of local businesses that had worked with me.

Next to me was another stand, they used the table that the organiser provided, put a white table cloth on it, some A4 paper leaflets / documents and a pull-up banner behind the table so the bottom part of the banner and their message was lost. They then sat down behind the chairs, one on their laptop and the other on her phone.

As the event went on the business at the table next to me told me that the business fair wasn’t very good, that it hadn’t been very busy and business fairs didn’t work for them, adding that obviously my business was easier to sell than theirs.

I kind of smiled and nodding a vague form of agreement, but as I left I realised that business fairs work for everyone; it just depends what you want and how you try to get it.

I went with the hope of raising our brand awareness and seeing some old faces / reminding people in that area that although we are now in Peterborough we are still here and able to work with them. As it happened we picked up some new clients but also got extra work with past clients and existing clients too.

We were busy talking to people throughout the day and 75% of the day somebody was at our stand, of not more than one person – it was a good event for us… or was it just a good event because of how we did it?

You can’t sit behind a table and hope people will come to you if there is nothing exciting to entice them. You can’t also complain when people don’t come over as there is nothing to entice them.

Business fairs can work for everyone; when you do them right!