Posted: 29th November 2017
You may have blinked and missed the Farm Business Innovation Show (Farm Show) in Birmingham on 8-9 November. To me, it was 6 months of planning, stress, uncertainty, joy and relief. Why? The Farm Show was my first step into exhibiting. I was introducing Blue Ninja Business Support to the Rural sector. What made it so much better was knowing that WIRE had a group of members attending who really supported each other.
The reason behind me exhibiting was that I knew I needed to get in front of my new sector of rural entrepreneurs and small business owners. As an administrator, we are very often not seen and often not heard. We deliver work in the shadows, like Ninjas, if you like! Taking a step out into the world of trade shows was not one I had initially thought of when I first established Blue Ninja, but now that I’ve done it I can see the benefits of doing it again.
Exhibiting can be expensive, and for me this time it was, and took a lot of time to plan, so don’t step lightly into it. I got the chance to talk about my experience with the other WIRE members and found I wasn’t alone in the tactics of the organisers for making sales for this type of show. I also felt pressured to take the package presented to me, with a caveat that I had to make the decision that day. By talking to other members I had some clear points to go back and speak to the organisers about their sales tactics. My one tip for you if you’re considering exhibiting is to not let yourself be bullied into something you’re not ready for.
What wasn’t apparent to me until later in my planning was that WIRE was a sponsor, which was brilliant to see. I joined WIRE independently of the show earlier this year as I wanted to start connecting with like-minded individuals and women business owners. WIRE has connected me to a great group of women, and its been a great step into the Rural industry. Shows like the Farm Show bring those that have good ideas but really want guidance and support to step up and ask for help, and get some support. I hope if you did attend the Farm Show that was the experience for you.
The WIRE members corresponded and had a call a couple of weeks prior, and it was invaluable. I no longer felt isolated or like the show was going to be as terrifying as it initially was to me. I strongly urge you to get in contact via WIRE and post your shows and events and connect with other WIRE women. It wasn’t until about a month or so prior to the Show that I really felt like it was going to be a success, and it was!
As I know many WIRE members run businesses on their own, as I do, so you need to have confidence that whatever you do will be successful, but shows are unpredictable. You won’t know who will turn up, what the atmosphere will be like, (also what your booth neighbours will be like) so you walk in with a level of uncertainty. By knowing you have people around you when you do will make such a difference to your attitude. You know your business inside out, like I do, but by having a network and building support it can only make it better.
To see a video I prepared of my time at the Farm Show go to https://youtu.be/nEzPeqxj_bQ
The photo is of WIRE rep Emma Cantillion and Louisa Stewart at the WIRE booth and Louisa standing outside the entrance. Big thanks to Emma, Fiona, Megan, Anne, Kate and any other members who stopped at booth 386 and said hello.
Louisa is CEO and Founder of Blue Ninja Business Support – blueninja.co.uk