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September 6, 2007, 08:30 PM
Do you have a checklist Bea?

What "deposits" will you lose if it DOESN'T happen?

In that size of city, you'd think getting 20 Businesses to participate would be a piece of cake...however...

They start thinking about man hours, expenses, costs...so your job would be to sell them on the benefit of participation...

Depending on the businesses, you could point out that ONE customer could have a LIFETIME VALUE to make it all worthwhile.

If it were me...I'd secure the hall...knowing I might lose the deposit if I can't pull it off. But without a place, you don't have any show, right?

Consider the time, how much leeway...what else is happening, holidays, potential snow storms in some areas...and conflicting events...so the city you have chosen would have an events calendar, or the CofC would have one...check on it. Maybe you can coordinate it with something that is happening.

In my little city of about 100,000 there is going to be a Christmas Tree lighting...and the whole day has planned activities. IF I were wanting to attract families, I might consider renting a hall nearby this event...if it is freezing cold and snowing... maybe the families will want to escape for a while.

I know there will be Ice Skating, Santa will show up, the mayor lights the tree at 5 pm...and then another skating show. This day's events begin in the morning...

See Bea, I'm thinking about the traffic. Would these people be a good target for the Showcase. It could dovetail nicely with the city's planned event and I cash in on their bringing people downtown.

So you want to set a date. Secure the hall. Have some sort of theme, or "reason" for the event.

You'll take the hall and layout the floor plan on paper. How many could you get in if each had a 3 by 5 table or a 10 square foot "booth"...

HOW could you make it more...give a bigger size for 1.5 x the money... for example.. I get 10 square feet for 300 bux, but I get 20 square feet for only 450, a SAVINGS OF 150 dollars...that is how I'd consider selling the space...have an upsell.

OK. Say you get the space and it is in a location people are not afraid of...in some cities, even smaller ones, there are areas that people don't want to go to for events. If this isn't a problem, consider parking and traffic flow.

So you have a spot picked out that is conveniently located. You sketch it out, create a mock up ala Don Alm...to show to the prospects. IF you offer corner locations or other prime space, you might get a premium for that too.

Does the place allow you to bring in food? If so, a popcorn vendor works nicely or ice cream person...who charges a small price and you pay him/her for the event. FREE is even better.

Can you save some time by hiring the local high school cheer team to decorate it the night before for a couple hundred bucks?

Anything that frees you up to sell the spots.

WHY would a business want to get a table? If I did this, I'd probably target families and not new people...not enough family events...and you'll find a lot more businesses who would prefer to get families than a new person...the exception could be the professionals...but even then, they'd probably like mom and dad and kids all in one place.

But if you are thinking Welcome To _______ then the question I'd ask you would be:

How are you going to get the new people in town to come? How will reach them? What is their incentive for taking time out of their day to come and listen to a bunch of sales pitches? Which is what most people think of when they hear business showcase...isn't it? I could be wrong.

Bea, I'm not DOWN on the idea, I just want you to give it careful consideration. It could be a gold mine. I don't know.

Just take the time to think through everything. Get a checklist started. IF the event is 120 days out, what do you need to do right now?

At the 90 day mark, 60 days, 30 days, 15, 10, 9, 8, etc.

The place, the tables, the table skirts, chairs to sit on, electrical outlets?, coat racks or lockers.

Chairs or tables for people to sit, food?, or just a "cake" and punch...plates, forks, napkins, cups?

What is your budget. IF you get 300 per at 20 that is 6k right? Would 150 cover your expenses? Leaving you with a 3k gross profit?

What about signs, set-up and tear down, check in for vendors?

The more details you have figured out, then you can simply spend your time on the PITCH...getting the breakeven number as fast as you can...would that be 15? If so, go get 15 to commit, with their money.

If you can't reach the breakeven number, you can always give their checks back...and you'll be out of pocket just a little.

I'm not trying to discourage you Bea, if anyone has ever spoken to me in person or on the phone, this is what I do.

I ask questions. NOW, there are times you just have to DO IT as Pete said...but it has been my experience that a well thought out and planned DO IT works better (sometimes) than a jump in the deep end and find they drained the pool.

OK. Find a place and see if you can get a "tentative" commitment for the place, say for 14 days before you have to really get it or longer if you can. Then you swing into action and get in the faces of the businesses you want to participate, and I'd start asking for the checks right up front...and hold them until I knew it was going to happen.

But that's just me, fair enough?

Go get em Bea.


PS. And DOCUMENT your every step, problem you encounter, unthought of happening or question..so the next time you do it, you'll have a successful template to follow. After 2 or 3 you could have regular EVENTS that DO make you some substantial coin...and that should get hubby's attention, ya think?

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