My Entrepreneurial Journey Part 2
I had a chance to go to the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas during winter break. CES is an annual exhibition where over 3,000 consumer technology businesses from all over the world gather and present their latest products. What was special about this year’s exhibition was that I participated in the show as an exhibitor, representing my brother’s company PATCHWORKS Inc. Working as an exhibitor was a great entrepreneurial experience for me.
It may be burden for a small company, especially one that is based outside of the country, to attend tradeshows like CES because of cost and time. However, as I stayed at CES for the entire show, I witnessed and learned of the benefits for businesses by participating.
First, tradeshows are a great chance to gain an international recognition. Reporters from various media outlets look for newest products that are not yet introduced in market and write product reviews. Reviews are released internationally. PR reaches countries that you normally wouldn’t market to, which educates consumers about your company and product.
The second benefit is that you are able to meet distributors who are specialized in their regions. Distributors look for products that on demand, so they actively seek the suppliers. In the case of PATCHWORKS, the company focuses its distribution in Asia and Europe. During the show however, we were able to meet distributors from Canada, US, and South America which provides us a chance to expand.
Another benefit is you can get a sense of what is going in your industry. You are able to see trends and get inspiration for your company’s future. In addition to that, you can interact with other companies in your industry to exchange information. During the show, one company gave us a warning for one of our products. The company explained they used to have a product that is similar to ours but stopped the production because a big company sued them for design that closely resembled.
Attending CES was an eye-opening experience not only because it was my first time attending a large trade show with 15,000 visitors but I was also actively engaged representing a company. There are certainly more benefits than what I listed above. If you hope to grow your venture, attending tradeshows will definitely help you long term.