Let’s Talk Money – Budgeting For Your Trade Show
Did you know that the largest group of exhibitors are spending between $50,000 - $250,000 per exhibition?
This is a lot of money in any ones language, in particular if you’re a small to medium sized company.
All to often we come across exhibitors that have blown their budget exhibiting at a trade show.
As with any business project keep a budget and stick to it.
One of the best ways to stick to your budget to make sure you treat your trade show appearance as a profit centre.
You’re actually best of keeping a P&L in order to keep financial control.
Make sure that you keep control on all the costs related to the show.
There is a risk of lines getting blurred and that show related expenses are being absorbed by other people’s budgets, e.g. travel and entertainment for staff and speakers, press conferences, product inventory for display or demo at the booth, pre-show promotions, post-show promotions and lead follow up.
Here’s a list of typical expenses you can use for budgeting purposes:
- Booth space
- Booth design and construction or rental
- Show services (set up, electrical, phone, cleaning and other extras)
- Transportation (shipping)
- Staff (salaries and transportation)
- Staff training
- Promotion and collateral (pre/at and post show)
- Research (pre/at and post show)
If you’re in the research phase and are looking for some overall guidelines as to what your budget would have to be let me give you a formula that can help you determine a rough budget:
- Space rent represents about 20% of total out of pocket expense without staff expense for staff expense you need to allow another 35 %
- The trade show budget needs to be about 4 times the cost of the exhibition space plus another 10% for add ons e.g. video demonstration and other gadgets.
Budgeting also is about saving money – so here are some handy tips on how you can get more out of your trade show attendance:
- PLAN AHEAD! Very often trade show organisers offer early booking discounts to encourage commitment. Air fares, hotel rooms, are usually cheaper the earlier you book
- Avoid missing deadlines – you risk being charged express fees for fast printing, courier delivery etc.
- Lay out your total event costs in one place.
- If show management offers discounts for air fares and accommodation – book through them.
- Audit your final trade show invoice – over billing does happen more often than you might think.
- Have the courage to NOT exhibit if it appears to be to expensive. Evaluate your attendance on its merits every year.
- Visit the trade show and work out what you would have to do in order for your attendance to be worth your money.
- Attend as a speaker.
- Be a sponsor of the event in stead of taking a booth