Laying the Foundation

In Inspiration and Motivation, Pursuit of Happiness on March 7, 2010 at 7:44 pm

It can be difficult to set expectations when venturing into the unknown because there is no basis for comparison.   Sometimes we set our expectations too low and end up pleasantly surprised.  Sometimes we set our expectations too high and end up disappointed.  In either case, all we are left with is the results that we get.  It is what we do with those results that really matters.

This past week I attended a tradeshow for a new venture that I am working on.  I only found out about it within the past month, so there was very little time for extensive planning, and a very limited budget to work with.  Because I had never attended the tradeshow before, I didn’t really know what to expect once I got there.

As the saying goes…“you only get one chance to make a first impression.” This tradeshow happens every March, so I had a few choices in how I was going to approach things.  I could have gone as a quiet observer, taking notes and coming up with a long-term plan to implement in March of 2011.  Had I known about the show a little bit sooner, I may have had the opportunity to be an exhibitor at this year’s show, but it would have been a stretch both creatively and financially.  My final choice was to use some creativity to make my presence felt with a limited budget on a tight deadline.  I chose the latter.

There is no doubt in my mind that the show would have yielded better results if I had an exhibit booth.  However, sometimes you have to be ready to answer the door when opportunity knocks, even if the conditions are less than ideal.  Waiting until next year would have allowed me to make a bigger “splash” in the industry, but it would have cost me valuable time.  More importantly, it would have cost me the opportunity to gain valuable insight into the needs and challenges of my target audience.

In business, as in life, the highs and the lows can often times be felt within the same day.  This tradeshow experience was no different.  While I feel that I was able to make a noticeable impact with my creativity and drive to succeed, I don’t feel like the results were as good as I expected they would be before the show began.  Clearly, there is more work that needs to be done.  But rather than dwelling on the results that fell short of my expectations, I have chosen to take the positive aspects of the show and use them as building blocks to help lay the foundation for future success.

Based on my return on investment for attending the tradeshow, it was absolutely worth it to attend for the following reasons:

  1. The cost to attend was relatively inexpensive (free admission, package travel deal using Travelocity, little to no expense for food).
  2. The knowledge that was gained during the course of the show will be used to improve the venture, and help fill a void in the marketplace.
  3. The marketing that was done on a shoestring budget was very effective, and helped get the word out about the venture to a mass audience.
  4. Plans have already been made for increasing my presence at the 2011 tradeshow next March.
  5. New ideas for other revenue streams were conceived during the course of the show.
  6. Contacts made will help make this new venture a success sooner rather than later.
  7. Last, but certainly not least, a number of companies have signed on to be a part of the new venture.  And while the number is not as high as I had anticipated, I am much further ahead than I would have been if I didn’t attend the show.

“A journey of 1000 miles begins with just one step.” Attending this tradeshow was a huge step in the right direction.  And though there is a lot of road left to travel, at least I know that I am on the right path.

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