Before I launched MagnoGrip I attended an Ace Hardware trade show in Dallas that was strictly for vendors and Ace members. Though I wasn’t a member, I was able to secure a guest invitation by volunteering to help my local Ace Hardware store “work the show.â€Â While there, I made contacts in the industry that later proved helpful when it was time to go to mass production. The show also helped me when it came time to figure out my pricing and distribution strategies.
Attending trade shows is a must for anyone who’s serious about taking a product to market, and it’s a great way to learn about your industry and build your network.Â At trade shows you’ll have an opportunity to meet other manufacturers, distributors, manufacturer’s reps and potential customers.Â You’ll also get a glimpse into the inner workings of your industry — the good, the bad and the ugly.
As with friends and family, I think it’s important to engage the local businessmen and women in your community.Â Here again is another wealth of information that is readily available and accessible — you just need to ask.Â If you’re not sure where to begin, start by visiting your local S.C.O.R.E. chapter.Â SCORE is a nonprofit association made up of retired executives, business owners and corporate leaders who volunteer to help entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Tell us what you think. What is your strategy when attending trade shows? What are your surefire techniques for generating leads?
Inventors Insider: 7 Things to Do Before Filing a Patent
Next week, Andre discusses how to access prospective manufacturers. And for more about Andre and his invention, as well as taking your own idea from concept to creation, pick up the November 2010 issue of Black Enterprise and read the cover story, Code Name: Inventors.