Trade Shows – To do or not to do – that is the question!

Trade shows have been a marketing fixture since 1851 when the “Great Exhibition” was held in London.

Trade Show 1

Since that time, Trade Shows have become a staple in the marketing mix of established companies.

What about Start-Ups?

If it is a B2B product, we strongly recommend that our clients include Trade Shows as part of their marketing budget. If it is a B2C product and our client also wants a retail channel,  then Trade Shows are a great way to get exposure to buyers from large and small chains. We also urge the client to be sure that the Founder and all senior staff attend the show and work the booth.

Why? – Because Exhibiting works!

“Trade shows are the #1 business-to-business marketing expenditure to support sales – beating out specialty publications, internet, promotions, and PR respectively”

It is estimated that 80+% of all exhibit attendees have some sort of buying power. So if they stop at your booth, your people and your booth must be ready to impress.

Whether you are at a National show in Chicago or at a Regional show in Austin – you owe it to your product and your stake holders to be at your best. While your booth may be minimal, your effort must be at the maximum. You have about 15 seconds to make a first impression, so make it count.

Some other tips:

  1. Do not economize on your booth location – get a corner or a larger booth
  2. Bring adequate POS material
  3. Have sufficient staff to give everybody down time
  4. Have a script and a chain of command for staff working the booth
  5. Have a daily pre-show meeting to get everybody on the same page
  6. Have a daily post-show meeting to review the day
  7. Do not tolerate sloppiness or inattention–texting can wait
  8. Be prepared to provide pricing information – delivered to the customer
  9. Be ready for surprises
  10. Last but most important: Know why you are at the show and know what you are trying to accomplish

After 35 years of doing Trade Shows, I can tell you that they are hard work. I can also tell you that proper preparation can improve results exponentially. So if you are just starting out, or already have few years of operating, I urge you to consider Trade Show participation. Carefully select a show to fit your purpose, do your home work and then watch your sales soar.

When Things go Viral!

Recently one of our clients achieved viral status for one of his promotional videos that was posted by Odditymall on their Facebook page and got over 1.2 Million views in 11 days.


This was not an accident however! Our client had been building his relationship with Odditymall for over two years and they had previously given his products exposure on their site and even had posted videos, but nobody expected this.

From our clients perspective, the 1000+ orders came out of left field. While he had inventory, it was not enough. A key supplier had a personal tragedy during that period and that held up the production of additional units resulting in delayed shipments during the critical Holiday period – communication with customers became an instant priority and managed to preserve almost all orders and certainly Goodwill.


If you are bank or ice fishing this product may be of interest to you. Here is the link to the clients main site: The Fishing Caddy

Contract Cancellation 101

As an Entrepreneur or CEO you have probably discovered that trying to cancel a service contract, regardless of reason is a special form of hell.

Blog Money lender hell

No matter how righteous your cause or even if you you are just out of funds, you will find that service providers have a special weapon in their contracts – camouflaged in the fine print at the end of their “Terms of Service” clause. Euphemistically called non-renewal this tiny paragraph hides a mountain of financial liability just waiting to jump onto your credit card.

Below is one example of the easier ones I have run across, but if you miss the 45-day deadline, your credit card is automatically hit with a 12 month renewal fee and there is nothing you can do about it!


Unless otherwise specified in your Order, to prevent renewal of a Full-Service Subscription, you or we must give written notice of non-renewal and this written notice must be received no less than forty-five (45) days in advance of the end of the Subscription Term. If you decide not to renew, you may send the notice of non-renewal by email to

Technically called an Evergreen Contract , you will find it used by your Uniform Company, Automated Marketing Platforms, Fulfillment Centers and in such mundane areas as your dumpster rental and office cleaning contract and your lease.

What can you do to protect your company?

First and foremost: Always read your terms of service clause and mark your calendar with the critical non-renewal dates.

Second: No matter how happy you are with the service, always cancel 10 days before the end of your notice period.

Third:  Cancel in writing  via “Registered US Mail – Return Receipt Requested” and keep all the paperwork!

In conclusion, you should cancel every contract after the initial term, no matter how satisfied you are with the supplier. Cancelling gives you leverage for the next term!

Entomophagy or Meat from a Petri Dish? Two different solutions to solve hunger.

By now, both solutions have probably appeared on your radar, especially if you are involved with the food business. What you may not know is that two very different factions have gotten involved behind the scenes.


ZN Blog insect food 021918

Per Eco- Business, the global market for insect-based protein in 2015 was $ 33 Million and is expected to increase to $ 773 Million by 2024. Despite the huge growth rate, that is a small slice of the global meat and seafood market, which is currently estimated at $ 844 Billion by Statista.

This correlates with our own observation that insect food companies are small start-ups funded either by the founders or angel investors using direct sales via e-commerce to create a viable business.

We have worked with several start-ups in this field. If you are considering an entry into this market, please contact us for a no-obligation conversation.


ZN Blog lab meat 021918

Unlike insect protein, Lab-Meat has drawn the interest not only of Silicon Valley but also the venture arms of traditional protein producers such as Tyson.  While getting funding has not been an issue, growing meat in a Petri dish has proven to be difficult and capital intensive. What did not help were companies such as Hampton Creek(now called Just), which was the darling of Silicon Valley until their mayonnaise product turned into a sales fiasco.

Unlike insect food, lab-meat has a high capital cost for entry and while it is being worked on, the final break-through in both taste and cost is still in the future.

Fascinating Trends over the next 30 years – Decentralization vs. Internalization ?

If you are a Millennial, these two books will provide some insight into what you will be facing in your professional life over the next 30 years or so.

While both books are somewhat “out there”, both provide information and parameters as to where our environment is heading.

Personally, I favor internalization. As Boomers we experienced mind-altering drugs early and the effects of the cloud late. However, I can see how easily the two schools of thought can merge and that some knowledge of both trends can be beneficial and also prepare us for the inevitable “Black Swan” events in our life.

More on Internalization                                                      and more on Decentralizationdecentralization-vs-internalization.jpg

The Water is coming!

If 2017 had one message for small business, it was: “Check your Insurance”.

With the realization that extreme weather events and rising sea levels are now the new normal, many small (and large) businesses found out the hard way whether or not their policy covered them for damage. Since normally a location is a large fixed asset, resilience in fixing the damage and preparing for the next event is essential.

Interesting read, but somewhat biased!

Water will come