If you decide that you are going to organize a trade show, be prepared for a lot of work. It may seem easy, but there is a lot to do to have a successful show.
Date/Location – The first thing you need to do is pick a date and decide where you aer hosting the event. Some people like to host at home to keep the costs down, others like to rent a hall and host the event there. Of course, location is going to have a bearing on the cost for your vendors.
Advertising – Decide on the type of advertising you want to do. Figure out what it is going to cost you before you establish your table costs. The type of advertising and the cost associated with it is going to determine the cost of your table.
Information – Figure out any rules/conditions/requirements of your vendors. This means – do they need to contribute a door prize, is there going to be electricity available for them, do they need to provide table cloths – basically, anything that you think that your vendors will want to know. The more information that you provide, the less questions you will be asked.
Find Vendors – You likely already know people that you plan to invite to your trade show, but depending on the location, you may need to find more people to join the event. There are several ways you can do this but the best method may be word of mouth. Invite those vendors you know and ask them if they know anyone else to invite. You may want to tell them what companies you already have so that you do not get vendors with the same company inquiring.
Pre-payment – One of the last things I recommend is getting pre-payment from your vendors. If people have already paid for their table, they are less likely to flake on the day of the event. I did one show where the organizer did not get pre-payment from the vendors and half of them did not show up.
Keep in touch– Keep in touch with the vendors once they have signed up, especially if you are organizing the event a few months in advance. This is especially important if you have not dealt with these vendors before as they want to know that the event is still on and that you will not just run away with their money.