Recessions are the best time to build your client base.  To build a client base, you need to get out and market your business.  Exhibiting at Chamber events, local business fairs and other regional functions is a low cost way to be seen. 

Tabletop displays and retractable banner stands are very affordable exhibiting options that you can use almost anywhere.  When exhibiting in non-standard exhibit spaces, exhibit size flexibility is critical.  For example, I am a member of the Gresham Chamber of Commerce.  Twice a year the chamber hosts a business showcase for new members.  There are usually about 40 businesses exhibiting in a small meeting hall.  The tables are only 18″ x 60″.

The challenge you face when exhibiting at smaller events is the balance between professional image and over-kill.  Attendees at small business fairs are much more likely to stop at every booth.  Your exhibit should convey the basic information about your business.  Don’t try to answer ALL of your prospects questions with your backwall.  Also, keeping your display general will allow it to be useful in many different types of venues.

Small, portable displays need not cost and arm and a leg.  If your budget is between $50 and $200.  Your best option is a cardboard tabletop display board (available from most office supply stores.)  Create your business message on your computer and have them printed on paper.  The cardboard display and paper graphics are only usable once, but you entire presentation can be produced for very little money.

Vinyl banners are a good next step.  Keep the size to no wider than 6′.  A standard 2′ x 6′ Vinyl banner with grommets can be found for as little as $120.  Hanging the banner in some venues may be a big challenge, but in a pinch, you can always hang your banner from your exhibit table.

Hosting you local Chamber of Commerce business meeting is another way to get out in the community and be seen.  For example, in the East Portland Chamber of Commerce, in addition to a ten minute presentation, the Chamber also helps you with internet marketing in advance of your meeting.  Smaller events must try harder to bring in exhibitors.  More often than not you can find excellent deals.

The most important factor for exhibiting in small venues is be creative!

Ed Bejarana
Zenith Exhibits, Inc.

For more information about trade show solutions, please call me at (503) 709-1454 or eMail me at ed@zenithexhibits.com

Click here for a two part article on dealing with recessions.