We already talked about why your small business should go to a trade show, but I have to apologize: while I laid out all the whys and shoulds, other than plugging our own appearance at the New York City Small Business Expo, I didn’t list any other trade shows. Ooops! That is not good blogging.
To make up for all my wrongdoing, let’s call this “Part Two” and I’ll lay out all the best small business trade shows to attend. Now we can go back to being the best of friends who never fail each other.
Small Business Summit
This summit, held by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in partnership with MetLife, emphasizes a focus on business leaders and CEOs of the small business world. “We hope you’ll join us to share your story,” they state on their website, and the summit’s location in Washington, D.C. makes it the perfect place for entrepreneurs to take them up on that offer.
While not geared exclusively towards small businesses, this conference encourages all businesses, no matter their size, to connect and grow from one another. It’s perfect for the newer, smaller stores who want to learn a thing or two in a space designated for it.
LAUNCH prides itself in bringing in vendors from all around the world, and each year they have two shows in Sydney and San Francisco. Plus, any business with a competitive streak is welcomed to participate in the LAUNCH 1.0 or LAUNCH 2.0 competitions, which allow you to present certain products for the first time ever with a large audience to witness you.
Whaaaaaat? I know, I bet you didn’t expect to see a festival better known for music and film on this list, but South by Southwest brings together different forms of media to create the ultimate experience for the entrepreneur.
The Austin-based festival offers sessions on branding and marketing with a unique focus on the young business owner, and anyone who’s ever considered themselves a game changer will appreciate the intersectionality of different industries at one very cool festival.
Any of the Small Business Expos
If you Google “small business trade shows to attend” (which is what I did as I began my research on this blog post, shhh) these guys will pop up. And that’s not a bad thing! With locations in 15 cities across the United States, Small Business Expo is free for everyone and has always been accessible to folks who can’t necessarily afford or get to other trade shows.
I think that’s the Small Business Expo’s best quality: that it’s free, unlike a lot of other trade shows. Trade shows are a great investment, but they can also be quite pricey, to the point where it’s almost laughable. In my research, I’ve noticed some of them cost upwards $1000 for a ticket! What the fudge!
By the way, SumAll will be at the New York City show next week, which is pretty exciting. I can’t wait to make a fool of myself! But also make valuable connections, meet some of our customers, show off how sexy my business cards are, and perfect my tabling skills. Plus I have an award-winning smile! Strange men on the street say so all the time.
A trade show really does have something for everyone. It’s a place to grow, learn, connect, create, and have fun. If that seems like a great use of your time (which I assure you, it is!) find a trade show near you. You’ll be surprised by what you’ll get out of it.