Trade Show Preparation Checklist

Trade Show Preparation Checklist – 19 weeks

This series of articles is called “Trade Show Preparation Checklist” and helps you, week after week, to prepare the most important aspects of your booth setup and event organization. We will review everything from booth decoration, promotion, samples, logistics, travel, staff training to leads management. Access your checklist week by week here.

What should I prepare 19 weeks before my event?

This week’s focus is crucial for your preparation as it will impact absolutely everything you do downstream. 19 weeks before participating in a trade show you must build your budget sheet.

What is a budget sheet?

A trade show budget sheet is a document identifying the amount of money available for a specific event and giving a breakdown of how that money is supposed to be spent.

Why is it important?

Your budget sheet is essential because it gives you and your team a guideline. Without this document, you would spend money without any real control or plan and end up spending way more than you should.

Your budget sheet is also a great tool to be used event after event: checking your past budget sheets will help you optimize your spending.

What does it contain?

A good budget sheet should contain 3 major pieces of data:

  • overall budget (the total amount of money you are going to spend)
  • budget breakdown (category by category, how much will you spend? Booth rental, marketing, travel, decoration, etc.)
  • actual expenses

This last piece is very important: you shouldn’t separate your budget sheet from your expenses sheet. Keeping them together will make it much easier to identify the areas where you over or underestimated spending.

How to do?

First of all, identify the total amount your company is willing to spend. If you are in charge of defining this number, you will need to look at past data (how much does your company usually spends? What is the usual ROI?) as well as future expectations (don’t spend more than you expect to make).

Once you have this number, define all the categories of costs and allocate a budget for each one. Sub-divide these categories into clear and actionable elements (for example, “Booth” could be divided in “furniture, electricity, lighting, decoration, etc.”).

Now you must predict expenses for each subcategory. Going through this exercise will help you identify holes in your plan and re-arrange your budget to make it more realistic and avoid overspending.

Lucky for you, myfairtool budget sheet already prepared everything for you and you just have to input your own data inside. On top of that, all you record in your myfairtool budget sheet will be linked to your post-show analytics to provide you with real event success data.

Additional tips

Your trade show budget sheet must be your bedside book for the coming 19 weeks. Check it regularly and add all your expenses as they come.

Define a currency from the beginning. You don’t want your sheet to be a mix of multiple currencies. Define the most common one for your case and convert everything in that currency before saving.

Expenses must be recorded immediately at payment, not in bulk afterward.

Consider all the expenses that will happen during the show: drinks, meals, taxi, etc. These must be saved as well.

Appoint one person to be in charge of this sheet and review it weekly in a meeting.


Ready to heat the calculator? Go!

The Exhibitor.

Trade Show Preparation Checklist – 19 weeks
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  • Thanks for the tips! My company EventsCase has recently participated in an exhibit at ibtm world in Barcelona and I have to say budgeting is a very important aspect when it comes to the success of these types of company engagements. I like how you emphasised that you must always look into the specifics when it comes to preparing your budget sheet.

    • Thank you for sharing Jose. You are right, budgeting is essential but it isn’t only a safety net, it also gives a clear guideline for the event as well as the future editions.