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Visiting trade shows and exhibitions is always a good way to network, keep up-to-date with developments and promote your own business at the same time. If you’re thinking of attending your first pet exhibition, it can be exciting, but equally, you need to know how to make the most of the experience. It will pay off for your pet business if you spend some time first thinking about your goals and committing them to memory, so you’ll have a way of measuring your success at your pet exhibition or event.
At a pet exhibition, many different businesses will come together from the pet industry to showcase products and network with each other. This presents you with a vast variety of opportunities, whatever you goals might be. The main thing for you to get the most out of it is to work out exactly what your individual goals are. Before booking your place at the exhibition, it’s worth finding out which other businesses are attending. It’s important you select an exhibition that’s as relevant for you as possible – if you run a business designing new dog toys, there’s no point attending an event that focuses on equestrian products, or marine pet care. This will quickly narrow down your options.
Setting your goals ahead of visting a pet industry exhibition
These are some examples of the kinds of goals you may want to consider ahead of your first pet industry event:
- Goals related to brand awareness. A pet exhibition can be the perfect place to let other professionals know your business exists.
- Networking. You have an unmatched opportunity to meet other professionals in your industry, network, get to know them a little better and make great business contacts.
- Discovering new suppliers. Lots of suppliers attend exhibitions and form new connections with other business. If you’re looking to expend your supply chain, this is a great chance to do so.
- Finding specific business services. If you need a service such as fitting out a pet shop or delivery for your pet product, you might be able to find options at the right type of exhibition.
- Getting a better price on current services. You can find out if what you’re paying is a fair price by networking with others and, if it isn’t, look for new options.
How will you know if you’ve achieved your goals?
Make sure your goals are actionable and measurable. Rather than setting a goal such as ‘handing out business cards’, set a goal that’s something like ‘learn about new organic pet food suppliers in my area’. When you come away from the exhibition, you can list the different suppliers you’ve discovered to check whether you’ve achieved your goal. Make sure you have a clear plan in mind of what you want your goals to be, written down so that you can keep track of them over time. This will also be a good way to see how your business has developed, and the role that attending a pet exhibition has played in this. When you’re questioning whether to attend more in future, you will instantly be able to see what you’ve achieved to date from going to these kinds of pet events.
The pet industry is thriving, but that also means it’s more competitive. Launching a product is going to come with its challenges, namely making sure people know it exists and understand the benefits, so that they’ll want to buy it. There’s no set way to launch a pet product, but if you do want your launch to be a success, you need to find the opportunities to create a buzz and raise its profile.
If it’s a business to business product, where you need to get other businesses on side, you should ensure there’s plenty of press around the launch. One way to do this is to visit pet shows and events to raise the profile of your business and product, giving presentations and having a stall, so that people can come and visit you and you can tell them about your product. It’s important the press around the launch is right, with good press releases and quality interviews where relevant.
The pet trade can refer to any kind of business that is within the pet industry – it’s a vibrant, lively place to work for the right kind of person. Due to its current popularity, more people are moving into pet related jobs, but they won’t always have the right intentions. They might be doing it for the money, or they might be thinking that it will be an easier industry to work in than their previous one. Neither of these are good reasons for entering into the pet trade – they’re not good reasons for starting most kinds of businesses! You need to have the passion and drive to work in a particular industry if you are going to succeed, and this was never more true than of the pet trade.
The pet trade can be a wonderful, stimulating environment if you are the right kind of person for it. Going into it because of a passion and a drive to succeed is the best reason to be there, setting you up for success in just the right way. You will be more willing to work hard to get to where you want to be with your pet shop, pet product distribution business, pet administration services provider… whatever area you enter into, it’s likely to be a lot more productive for you.
These are some of the key criteria for success in the pet industry:
- You love animals and want them to be a bigger part of your life. Most people go into the pet industry because of a love of animals first and foremost. You will be much more likely to succeed if you are going into the industry with your eyes open and a real drive to work with animals. If you open a business like a pet shop or a dog grooming business, you will get to work hands on with animals every day. If you want to work more behind the scenes, there are many opportunities to be on the product development, retail and distribution side, or perhaps to work in marketing for pet products. The kinds of people who want to do this tend to be passionate about animal care and welfare, wanting to make animals’ lives better.
- You want to help people as well. It isn’t just about the animals, it’s also about the owners. They are the ones you will be selling to, who will be buying pet products from you. Marketing to owners is important, so you will most likely be someone who likes people, wants to work with them and has people facing experience.
- You are hardworking and motivated. The pet trade is the perfect place for people who are passionate and driven. If you have big business ideas and are willing to do whatever it takes to make them happen, you are the kind of person who will thrive. You will need to work hard to get your voice heard, but if you do so, there are many opportunities for success.
In the age of the internet, there are probably hundreds of thousands of pet products in existence that you have no idea about – even when you work in the pet industry yourself. These are difficult to track down and to know about, which is where your market research comes in. You need to understand the market you are wanting to enter, and know what competition you have out there so that you can make informed decisions about the routes you will go down.
If you are already in the pet industry, your task may be easier. You may have seen other products in development, and can recognise what needs to be done. If not, you will have a much bigger task on your hands. Either way, understanding your market is essential and you must know where your own product idea would fit in, in order to succeed and begin with product development.
Pet products can sell very well indeed – the marketplace is booming, in fact. There are so many options for you to sell your product and do very well from it, as long as you have the right support and can get it seen by the right people. Usually, this means getting it into pet shops so that it can be sold on a larger scale. You are never going to sell as much yourself, unless you have a very well-known brand that people actively look for.
You should already have good contacts if you are in the industry – if you don’t, it’s time to start making them. Attend pet product events and get to know the protocol for the launch process and how to advertise business to business. The more contacts you make, the better. You can then begin pitching your product to the people who can sell it for you.