Over the Years… Thanksgiving Edition

Click her to view the full FB Displays & Designs, Inc. November E-Newsletter.

Up until the time we had the pleasure of working with Sefar Inc., I had never been to New Orleans. To say that I’m thankful I went would be just a bit of an understatement (to say that my coworkers were thankful to have another “T-free” day as a result would be even more so). Happier still was I that the airlines didn’t have flights available for me to do my usual “One Day In/Out” routine, thus forcing me to fly in the day before the install. This in turn forced me to spend the day enjoying myself while I walked up and down Bourbon Street and all the other streets that intersect it. It’s a fascinating place, and I highly recommend that you try to get there at least once in your life. I mean, where else do you think you’re going to find a park dedicated to the likes of Louis Prima and Al Hirt?

In general, traveling has become one of the great pleasures in my life that, while growing up, I never thought would be. Back then, I was very much of a homebody, and I looked forward to being able to one-day purchase the house directly next to my folks – assuming they wouldn’t allow me to build one directly on top of theirs. But now, I almost dive at any chance I can get to travel. On the one hand, it allows me to see a new place, feel a new vibe, experience a new kind of person. And on the other hand, it allows me to ensure first hand that our clients are being well taken care of. They deserve to be. And while I don’t have a third hand, if I did, on it I would mention that I enjoy traveling because absence actually does help to make the heart grow fonder. In laymen’s terms – it’s when I go away that I realize most clearly how important my family is to me.

I am looking forward to spending another Thanksgiving with them – my personal favorite Holiday of the year. It’s my favorite because there’s no fuss nor muss to it. Unlike other holidays, there’s nothing to do and nowhere to run off to. Just a warm house, cozy slippers, good food, the people you love and giving thanks for whatever it is you happen to be thankful for. Personally speaking, among other things, I am thankful for you. It’s you who help me to provide the warm house, the cozy slippers and the good food (well, the food at any rate. It’s actually my wife who makes it “good”). It’s through your partnership with FB Displays & Designs Inc. that we can continue to do what we do best. I just thought you should know that, and that we’re thankful for you as a result.

I hope you all have someone in your life that is able to make food good, and I hope you all enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Troy Stover is the Operations Manager for FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

The “Bum’s Rush” Can Cost Big Bucks

“What you see is what you get”. This is especially true with regard to exhibitor behavior at both public and industry trade shows. It’s easy to tell immediately which companies put obvious time and effort into their exhibiting strategy. The company’s exhibit will offer a welcoming feel and booth staff will positively interact with visitors, taking the time to ask questions and provide answers.

The flipside of the “what-you-see” truism is, “What you don’t see is also what you get”. This is referring to all those exhibitors who just have to get a head start on tear down and be the first out the door towards the end of the show.

When an exhibitor leaves early, they are still showing… but what?

Disregard for neighboring exhibitors. It is very difficult to engage a potential client in serious discussion when your neighbor is dismantling their exhibit.

Disrespect for visitors trying to navigate the aisles. Early tear down leaves a poor impression of the show in the minds of visitors. It is also potentially dangerous to have people milling around unsecured booth parts and equipment.

Disdain for show management. An exhibitor may think he or she is sending a message to management that the show wasn’t successful. Instead, this individual looks unprofessional, disrespectful and risks the chance of not being invited to future events. Most show managers discourage, and in some cases prohibit, leaving early. There are often severe penalties for breaking this part of the exhibitor agreement including loss of priority points or poor location for future shows. Yet there are always a few exhibitors who think the rules were written for everyone else.

Unfortunately, exhibitors who tear down early don’t realize whom they are hurting most… themselves!

To neighboring exhibitors, show visitors, and show management, tearing down early is usually just an annoyance that will soon vanish, but these exhibitors run the risk of doing serious long-term harm to their companies. These people are not only missing sales on the show floor, but also future sales from missed opportunities with potential clients.

Research has shown that 30% of all show floor sales are consummated during the final two hours of exhibit time. Many buyers use the first segments of a show to preview products and develop specifications for purchases. The actual purchase is made at the end of the show. It’s not uncommon to see a visitor walk away angry when he or she returns to a particular booth to do business only to learn that the exhibitor has “left early”.

It is difficult to understand why a company would spend money for show space, an exhibit, staff travel and lodging expenses to come to an event where clients and potential clients pay to visit them, and then leave potential dollars for the competition!

The next time you are tempted to leave a show early, remember that patience and perseverance are as necessary to success as an exciting booth and well-trained staff. Waiting (and working) for every client at a trade show is what separates winners who care about their customers from losers who give them the “bum’s rush”.

SOURCE: Jim Lynn, ShowSell.com

Woman-Owned Businesses are Coming to Power

This article was written by Devanny Novak and originally appeared in the 11/2/11 Exhibit City News headliner.

In an industry where most businesses are owned and operated by men, it is easy to overlook woman-owned companies. Most professionals, when searching for an exhibit designer or furniture provider, don’t even think about the difference between doing business with a woman-owned company versus a predominately male one.

For those woman-owned businesses, however, the concept of supporting other predominately female companies is a factor that plays into every decision.

DJ Heckes

“I focus on buying from other Women Business Enterprise (WBE) members to support each other as a first option,” said DJ Heckes, owner of Exhib-it!, a New Mexico-based tradeshow marketing company. “Then I go through the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) secondly.”

For a company to be registered as woman-owned, it must meet the credentials set by an organization like WBE or NAWBO. The certification process defines a list of criteria the business must meet, such as being at least 51 percent woman-owned and completely operated by a woman. Some organizations, like the Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), assign a case worker to visit the company and verify the credentials.

But jumping through the hoops of a certification process is worth the hassle.

“I have worked with many WBE members, and it has improved my overall business,” said Heckes. “The WBE Membership Program provides government-owned agencies a tool to help meet their Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) contracting goal of five percent. Additionally, restricting competition to qualified WOSBs increases our success.”

Becoming a certified woman-owned business also helps boost most companies’ clientele.

“It is valuable,” said Freddie Georges, owner of Freddie Georges Production Group (FG|PG). “It’s contributed to business growth via access to Fortune 500 companies who may otherwise not consider doing business with FG|PG.”

Although it is important for women to support other women, it’s also becoming vital for others to work with predominately female organizations. In a recent article from TIME Magazine, Belinda Luscombe touted the “She-conomy” – America’s migration to a knowledge-based economy where women make up the majority of the workforce.

“In the U.S., women hold sway over 51.3 percent of the nation’s private wealth,” she wrote. “In 2007, women were $90 billion worth of the $200 billion consumer-electronics business. They’re $105 billion of the $256 billion home-improvement market. They’re 44 percent of NFL fans.”

Amanda Helgemoe

Luscombe goes on to say that there are few industries that do not recognize the female dollar, and therefore, female buying power, which women have a lot of.

According to a study from the Boston Consulting Group, women control $12 trillion in the overall $18.4 trillion in global spending.

With all of this power and spending money in the hands of women, it seems like a foolish thing to ignore woman-owned businesses in the tradeshow industry.

“Most of our customers are initially skeptical about whether or not we are really woman-owned and operated,” said Amanda Helgemoe, owner of Nuvista, a Texas-based tradeshow services provider. “Once they give us an opportunity, it becomes clear to them and they are very respectful of what we are trying to accomplish in this industry.”

Working with a woman-owned business is not only a great idea because of the buying power, but it helps promote gender equality in the workplace. Walmart’s recent strategy to aim new programs and more spending toward women-owned businesses and female workers is helping women all over the world improve their standing and become equal with men in the economy.

“Walmart’s global women’s initiative has the potential to be a game-changer for women and for economic growth,” said Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues. “By tapping its core competencies as a global retailer, Walmart will empower more women to access markets and develop careers in the global supply chain, transforming their lives and the lives of their families.”

With the idea of promoting woman-owned businesses becoming more mainstream, it is only a matter of time before the tradeshow industry follows suit.

“Working in a male-dominated career field can be challenging,” said Heckes. “What I feel has been the biggest benefit, as well as a competitive advantage, is my attitude toward having an open mind. Women have the ability to be strategic and tactical when needed for adopting change in their environment.”