Exhibiting at trade shows can bring a huge boost for businesses – none more so than the cupcake company that secured a contract to supply its produce to the 2012 London Olympics after being spotted at a show.

Frost and Snow, a Birmingham-based organisation, that creates training and job opportunities for people who have been made homeless, won a lucrative deal to supply its confectionery to the Olympics after exhibiting at the Good Food Show at the NEC.

Company founder Sarah Frost explained that she received a call from a buyer who had picked up one of her fliers during the show. Snow and Frost was then invited to a ‘meet the buyer’ event and later learned they had won the prestigious contract.

Attending trade shows are a tried and tested way of reaching potential customers, enabling business owners to showcase their brand, reach new markets and generate sales leads.

They can also help entrepreneurs to build up a client list and showcase their products and services in a short space of time, amongst thousands of prospective customers and industry professionals.

However they can prove costly, particularly some of the larger, more prestigious shows. Here are some tips to ensure you make the most of attending a trade show:

  • Do your research – Check out all of the trade shows in your sector, consider the logistics of getting there, transporting equipment such as display stands and allowing staff to be out of the office for several days, factoring in overnight stays that may be required.  Also check out how many people typically visit the show and their profiles and if your competitors will be attending
  • Generate leads – be prepared to meet people to discuss industry trends, set up meetings and develop new relationships. Be approachable, chatty and welcoming and try to attract any influential people in attendance to your stand as you could secure positive publicity on the back of it


  • Build your image – think carefully about the image you want to project to help prospective clients remember you. Ensure display stands, business cards and brochures are eye-catching and consistent in design and include all of your contact details.
  • Introduce new products – Trade shows provide the perfect opportunity to introduce new or existing products or services via brochures, videos shown at your stand or demonstrations. Exhibitors could also produce a press release announcing the new product or service and ensuring that any journalists in attendance receive a copy
  • Follow up leads – After the show follow up any leads whilst it is still fresh in people’s minds and calculate the costs of attending the event, compared to the benefits it brought