If you’re like me, you may just have snorted a little at the mention of a “slow” season. The trade show and events business is jam packed with projects that often have timelines extending almost a year out from the production dates. Add to that the post-production activities, and you are looking at a full year of deadlines, tasks and checklists. However, there are often a few precious weeks of, shall we say slow”er” times sprinkled throughout the year. The question is, how will you use this valuable, relatively stress-free time?

Get your Ducks in a Row

Slower times are ideal for taking stock of your business and getting things in order. This applies to systems and processes, as well as physical resources (inventory). Take a good look at how you are doing your business. Is your technology up to date? Are there features that you have yet to explore and implement? (I would find it very hard to believe that anyone, anywhere could honestly answer “no” to that question – OK, unless you are a true IT guru). This is the perfect time to refresh your knowledge of your most frequently used systems. Then, take time to think through your physical properties. Do you know exactly how many widgets you have?  If you own exhibit properties, do you know exactly how many?  And, do you know which ones need refurbishing? Take some time during your slow”er” times to freshen up your properties.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Every musician knows the secret to success and growth is practice, practice, practice. There are no shortcuts (unless you are a true prodigy). Likewise, in the trade show and events industry, there aren’t a lot of shortcuts to a successful program. However, there is usually a list of tasks that can be tackled without the pressure of an immediate deadline. Are there forms that you will need to update for the future year? Why not get a head start on the information you do know, so you have less blanks left to fill in when crunch time comes? Create as many checklists, forms, and timelines as you can early and populate them with as much information as you have. Anything you have created and tracked now is one less thing that must be created when the pedal is to the metal!

Grow and Enhance

Need I even mention the fact that a “quieter time” is the ideal occasion to look at your client list? It’s a great time to check in with current clients to see if there are any things you can do to help them prepare for their busy times. When you aren’t facing immediate deadlines, you have a chance to really listen to their cares, needs, and goals. It’s also the perfect time to review old leads and explore new opportunities. Look at your resources and partners as well. It’s infinitely easier to consider new offerings and weigh the pros and cons of various suppliers when you aren’t facing an urgent “need to have selected this yesterday” kind of deadline.

OK, so there’s a bonus fourth activity for your slow”er” season. Enjoy it! You and your team deserve to appreciate the fruits of your labor. Relax and refresh. You’ll be in the thick of it before you know it!

Kim Mallery, Project Manager

Related: 8 Key Elements of Successful Trade Show Planning