Exhibitions can be a fantastic method of raising awareness for your brand or service. You have a captive audience to sell yourself to, and get noticed! Otherwise it’s just a waste of time, money and resources. A successful exhibition requires maximum effort and a clear branding message, you need to set yourself aside from the rest. It also takes lots of preparation, a last-minute job will not suffice and you’ll just look like an amateur not to mention unprofessional! You need to understand what will draw passers-by to your stand and how you can try and convert these people into potential sales and new customers.

Deliver A Clear Message

Exhibitions are becoming increasingly popular amongst both B2B and B2C environments, this means there’s some tough competition out there. The last thing you want to do is blend into the crowd and blend in. You need to deliver a strong, solid message to your audience, and it’s all about your branding!

So how do you get this right?

It’s all about consistency. Every message you push out there needs to be consistent as does all elements of your branding. This entails everything from your logo to any marketing collateral and signage that you might be using. You need a solid flow, even down to the font and colour scheme. Think of your exhibition as your shop front, what will catch people’s eye? Whatever your goal may be, the bottom line is you need to be catching the eye of passers-by. Promotional materials such as banners, flags and bunting are a really effective way of promoting your brand name and message. You can also look into a custom designed exhibition stand for your company. It’s an extra expense but you’re sure to reap the rewards by getting the edge over your competitors with a professional and slick stand design.

Knowledgeable Staff

Your staff are an extension on your branding, they’re the face of your company and should also encompass your brand message and ethos. You can have all the fancy marketing materials in the world, but if your staff aren’t best representing your company, will you be making sales? The answer is no, probably not. You need to ensure that a sufficient amount of time is taken to train and mentor staff that will presenting your company at exhibitions. They’re going to be the first point of physical contact for your visitors, so not only do they need to be able to present information they need to show a good level of enthusiasm. The exhibition won’t be worth its while, cost and time if your staff are miserable! You should also look into the dress code for your event, is it formal? Are staff expected to dress in a certain way? You want to be presentable and professional!

Less Risk!

If you’re planning to attend an outdoor exhibition then there’s always going to be a certain element of risk with the weather. Unfortunately no one can predict the weather and it really is just a matter of luck…or not so lucky! It’s important that elements like this are considered so that you can try your best to prevent them! For example, what about invest in a marquee to keep your stand sheltered from any potential downpours? Not only will it draw people in from the rain it will also keep your staff nice and dry!

Don’t forget, whilst an exhibition is about selling yourself, there might also be good opportunities to interact with likeminded individuals and network! You never know what connections you could make.

Applying for a small business loan can be a very tricky affair as financial institutions are known to be extremely picky and like to make certain that their investments are well protected. Applications for loans, however small, could get into rough weather unless you know what exactly to avoid that will kill the chances of success. Here’s what you should be aware of.

Past Misdemeanors

Not only your loan application but your personal history will come under scrutiny when you apply for a small business loan. Every bank will conduct a review of the project, your financial statements and projections, and a complete lowdown on your credit worthiness, and credibility. Lenders, especially financial institutions, will make it a point to obtain your credit report from multiple agencies, and track your repayments over a considerable number of years to find out whether you are in the habit of delaying or defaulting on your loans.

Having a bad credit history even if there had been a valid reason such as severe illness, deaths or marital-relationship problems, is almost sure to knock out your application from consideration. You should make it a point to obtain all your credit reports, and analyze them to find out your creditworthiness. If there are major errors, have them corrected before applying for a loan else if the reports are correct, consider other sources of finance that may not be as sensitive to poor credit scores.

Inadequate Cash Flow

Upon analysis of your business finances, if local lenders discover that the cash flow is patchy or completely inadequate for the business to perform as projected, they will spend no time rejecting the loan application. The health of your business and the sufficiency of cash flow is the assurance that no financial institution can afford to ignore. This is because the magnitude of cash flows is an indicator of the health of the enterprise and tells the lenders whether the borrower will be able to service the monthly payments. Experts advice business owners to keep a strict watch on the cash flows and get their houses in order before approaching lenders for loans.

Weak Business Plan

When would-be-borrowers make applications for business loans, the documentation required to be furnished include a detailed business plan, financial statements and projections for the next three to five years. In order to evaluate the merits of the application, the loan officer expects the business owner to present a detailed and organized business plan with numbers that are consistent, realistic and in keeping with the prevailing market conditions. The more vague and inconsistent the business plan is, the more the lenders become alert that the business is not being managed professionally and this acts as a disincentive for funding.

Small business owners also tend to overestimate their revenues, profitability and growth figure thinking that this will appeal more to the lenders. However, the loans department is manned by experts who have more than a passing knowledge about business operations and market conditions, so projections that are out of line significantly will result in applications being rejected outright.

Not Being Organized

Many small business owners make the mistake of being too casual when approaching financial institutions. Before making the formal application, they should do their homework thoroughly regarding what the requirements and expectations of the lender are. It is necessary that you provide all the documents that are required to support your application. Remember to check off all the items mentioned in the checklist provided by the lender, and if in doubt call the loan officer and get a clarification. You can also refer to a highly-detailed checklist prepared by the Small Business Administration for potential borrowers. Incomplete applications are more likely to be rejected because the lenders simply do not have time to waste following up with lackadaisical borrowers.

Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) win the favor of many car owners, and why not? These beasts are durable vehicles, making them the best fit for road trips and harsh driving condition. Just merely looking at them makes you feel safer than when you are in a smaller car. However, a bigger car comes with a heavier price—literally. SUVs are expensive cars and maintaining them is just as pricey. Hence, it’s very important to take care of your SUV to prevent further damage and save you a lot of money.

The following are tips for maintaining an SUV.

  1. Save some budget for repair and maintenance.

As mentioned above, taking care of an SUV may be a little more expensive than taking care of a smaller car. Repairs are especially pricey, so set aside some money for some unforeseeable repairs. Have an agreement set up with a trusted auto repair center and see if you can manage to avail discounts.

Remember to choose one trusted auto repair center. This will prevent you from repeating unnecessary work as they record your repairs in a log.

  1. Schedule your SUV’s maintenance.

Regularly having your SUV checked will save you a lot of money for repairs. The service center may be able to spot aspects of your car that need to be maintained which you might have missed.

  1. Check your engine oil regularly.

Engine oil is necessary to keep the car’s engine running efficiently. Remember that car oil turned black does not necessarily mean it’s dirty and needs replacing. It’s also not practical to keep changing oil every 3,000 miles. Every car has different needs; what works for one may not work for the other. It’s best to refer to your SUV’s manual to know when the oil needs to be replaced. Keeping this in mind will save you unnecessary expenses.

  1. Check your tires.

If you’re always on the road, you may already know that your tires’ condition is crucial for smooth driving. Generally, tires with plenty of grip are perfect for SUVs for optimum performance on and off the road. These tires will help you get through harsh road conditions. It’s best to check your tires for air pressure or wear and tear. Low tire pressure will save you fuel—something you will want for a car that drinks up gasoline.

  1. Keep your tank at least half full.

As previously stated, SUVs are beasts that burn fuel quickly. Therefore, it’s best to always check your tank before you head out to the road.

  1. Check your lights and signals.

These are very important parts of your SUV as they keep you safe especially during night driving. Wipe them clean with a wet cloth or toothpaste to keep them bright and clear. Also check that your headlights are properly aimed at the right direction for greater visibility.

  1. Cover your SUV’s body with protective film.

SUV owners should place a protective wax over their car’s body to shield it from changing weather conditions. This will prevent excessive heat from the sun or rain from damaging your car’s paint. This protective film is like a sunscreen. If you often let your SUV sit under the sun for too long, this is your best bet for keeping your car’s “skin” protected.

  1. Lastly, drive safely.

Icy and wet road conditions are to watch out for. Always keep in mind that there are many cars in the road with you—big and small—and everyone’s safety needs to be put first.