Many things have changed for businesses over the past two decades. The internet has allowed small to medium businesses to operate on a global scale and the business world has become much smaller. Since so many businesses are capable of operating globally, there's a new interest in international exhibiting. However, international exhibiting can become very complicated, if you're not prepared. Here are a few things you should know before you attend a tradeshow overseas.
More of Everything
Until you become very comfortable with exhibiting abroad, make sure you estimate the right amount of time, planning and money. After you set your initial estimates, increase each of these three categories because you will need more time, more money and more planning for international exhibiting success.
Research the Regulations
Exhibiting in another country is different than exhibiting in the United States. You may need to convert your measurements from feet to meters or make sure you have the proper electrical adaptor. There are many things you may not know about the way the country operates from trash handling to dealing with emergencies. Do your research and be prepared for the country's regulations.
Just as you would when you travel abroad for pleasure, you want to make sure you have plenty of cash. Some places won't accept credit cards for necessary services and for emergencies.
Prepare for Customs
Traveling abroad with your custom trade show exhibit may not be easy. Getting it through customs isn't a simple task and if you've never tried, it's not a good idea to make your first run alone. Hire a professional to handle the design and shipping of the exhibit. This will ensure everything arrives on time without delay.
Make sure you can use your Phone Overseas
If you need to be able to use your cell phone for calls, getting online, taking payments or any other reason, make sure you contact your cell phone carrier. It may be very expensive to use the current phone you have internationally, if it's even possible.
It may be necessary to get a special type of phone for overseas use. You don't want any surprises, so make sure you check with your carrier before heading out of the country.
Remain Flexible and Let go of Expectations
You are no longer in the United States, which means you will need to be flexible and lower your expectations. Every country is different and it's likely you will encounter some surprises along the way.
If you're in Brazil, you can expect that plug-in extension cords will not be a normal thing. They actually wrap raw wire with tape. Another thing you will notice is that the venues are not always the same. For example, in the Middle East, you may be in a hall without enough air conditioning.
Prepare yourself for anything you can research ahead of time, but remain flexible. You cannot expect another country to operate the same way the United States does and most won't.
International exhibiting is far different than domestic exhibiting. If you're ready to expand and attend tradeshows abroad, make sure you know what you're getting into. You may need the advice and help of a professional to ensure the process goes smoothly and you get the desired results.