Upcoming Shows

May 27-31

Xylexpo NEW

FieraMilano Rho Fairgrounds

Milan, Italy

www.xylexpo.com

Aug. 20-23

IWF 2008

Georgia World Congress Center

Atlanta, GA

www.iwfatlanta.com

Oct. 23-25

SIBO 2008

Place Forzani

Laval, PQ Canada

www.sibo.ca

March 18-20, 2009

5th Annual Closets Conference & Expo

Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel

& Convention Center

Schaumburg, IL

www.closets-expo.com

March 25-27, 2009

Texas Woodworking Show and

National Cabinet Conference

Renaissance Hotel (Conference)

Dallas Market Center (Show)

Dallas, TX

www.texaswoodworkingshow.com

For a complete list of upcoming trade shows & events, visit our Industry Events page.

Money’s tight and the dollar’s weak. You’re scrambling to stay busy, and lucky to be breaking even. So how can you justify spending hard-earned funds to attend trade shows and network with other manufacturers?

Better question: How can you not?

In today’s economic downturn, it is vital that you take the steps necessary for your company to progress — or run the risk of perishing. Columnist Tom Dossenbach likens this to survival of the fittest. In this month’s column he writes, “Right now is the best time to make up your mind to fight back and do everything you can to strengthen your position in the marketplace — choose to be one of the survivors in hard times.”

Survival does not come about from sitting still and hoping that the situation will improve on its own. You must be proactive — and implement ways to improve your company’s productivity and ultimately its profitability, whether through new technology acquisitions or ideas learned through networking with others.

Staying in the Forefront

One of the best ways to improve your company’s worth is by learning about the new technologies available in the marketplace and networking with industry peers through trade shows and conferences. Trade shows, in particular, also provide a perfect opportunity to view and compare products and services, all in a single venue.

Also, attending trade shows can stimulate creative thinking and give you the needed momentum to improve your business. Another reason to attend: It helps you maintain your presence in the marketplace. If you’ve attended shows in the past and suddenly stopped going, it sends a negative message about your business to your clients, your suppliers — and your competitors.

Maximize Your Time & Effort

Even if only for a day or two, the time spent at an industry trade show is well worth the effort. Listed below are some tips to help you maximize your time and efforts:

• Plan in advance. Every major trade show lists on its Web site the exhibitors, the products offered and contact information. Make appointments ahead of time to avoid walking aimlessly and wasting valuable time.

• In addition to business cards, bring a notebook and take lots of notes. Even if you can’t afford that new CNC machining center or finishing system now, plan for the future.

• Take a moment and talk to finance companies, economic development agencies and associations, etc. Ask them what other companies in your field are doing to help get through these economic tough times. Also, ask for their perspective on the future.

• Sign up for the seminars. Most shows have a conference track, featuring top industry experts. Make a point to meet the speakers and perhaps follow up with questions at a later date.

Just remember, the knowledge gained at these events, and from meeting industry colleagues, will prove invaluable — to you and your company.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.