Trade Shows – Not Just Fun and Games


I am preparing to head to a regional trade show for promotional product consultants next week. It is one of two trade shows that I attend each year.

In this day and age of finding everything online, having an amazing search engine dedicated to the promotional products industry, and even an online trade show, why do I take time out of the office and money out of my bottom line to attend? (Not to mention the aching feet and back at the end of the day.)

Attending a trade show, whether it is a local tabletop show, a regional show, or a national convention is one of the best ways to get professional development and forge relationships.

Most trade shows offer some sort of educational component. In many cases, this can be the route to professional accreditation. In my case, I am working towards my CAS ( Certified Advertising Specialist). I will sit for the exam in January at the other trade show I attend. (Wish me luck!)

The educational offerings are a great way to learn about what’s new in your industry, to brush up on any rusty skills, and to find out about new and impending legislation that could impact the way you do business. Whether a professional accreditation is involved or not, professional development is the way to stay at the top of your game so you can offer the most value to your clients.

As for forging relationships, a trade show gives you the opportunity to put a face to the person you’ve only dealt with over the phone or via e-mail. It allows you to meet people who face the same types of challenges you have in business and to share ideas with them. How about meeting a new supplier that you might never have known existed? You never know when a current supplier will drop the ball, or a client will need something that you might not know how to source – meeting new suppliers and making the right contacts at a trade show might just help you save a sale gone wrong or make a new customer for life!

Look into the trade shows offered in your industry and make a commitment to attend at least one each year. The business you save may be your own!

Giving Holiday Business Gifts


Yes, it’s only August, but now is the time to start thinking about your holiday business gifts. So, in honor of that sentiment, I am resurrecting a post from last year:

While most people believe that the best time to give holiday business gifts is in the week or two leading up to Christmas, there are several compelling reasons to choose either Thanksgiving or New Year for business-related gift-giving.

Although Christmas is traditionally a time to give and receive gifts in our culture, there are several reasons to choose a different time:

1) Many offices close or individuals choose this time to take time off. Your gift won’t get to them if they are not there. Worse, if it is a food gift, it may even spoil before it is received.

2) Not everyone celebrates Christmas. While a gift of appreciation is always welcomed, the fact is that we don’t want to alienate anyone by not recognizing that people do have different beliefs and celebrate those at various times of the year. In light of this, why not take advantage of other holidays throughout the year to show appreciation to your clients, employees, referral sources, vendors and others who have made your business a success over the past year?

3) By giving your business gift when everyone else’s is delivered, you run the risk of getting lost in the deluge of baskets, boxes and cards.

By giving your business gifts either at Thanksgiving or just after New Year’s, you are guaranteed to beat the holiday rush of gifts that become a jumble of items and baskets with no one quite remembering what came from who. You will either be amongst the very first gifts to arrive (if not the first), or one of the very last; making you stand out among the crowd.

What better time to give a gift in thanks of new business, continued business, loyalty from employees, appreciation of referrals and/or great support and service from vendors than Thanksgiving? The sentiment will be well appreciated at this most appropriate and American of holidays. Since Thanksgiving is about one month before most people’s gifts arrive, yours will never get lost in the shuffle, giving you that extra wow factor.

Are you afraid that it will look like the recipient was an afterthought on the gift list if you opt for a post-New Year gift? It won’t if you treat it as a gift in thanks for their business last year and the anticipation of yet another successful year working together.

Need help choosing the perfect business gift to give to your employees, clients and/or vendors? Keep checking back to this blog, or contact us at