Carolyn Edwards
University of Maryland University College


The traditional brick and mortar business has been decreasing for many local and small
business owners. Entrepreneurs have had to find creative ways to minimize costs while increasing
sales. The internet with its multibillion dollar online sales industry has served as a vehicle to
accomplish this goal, but tradeshows are also growing in prominence as a factor for business
success. Research indicated that exhibitions are a way to have direct customer contact and close
sales, but small business owners may lack extensive exhibit budgets. Therefore, small business
owners must be prudent in the allocation of exhibition dollars. Prior tradeshow and exhibitor
research were compared and contrasted to the observations of small business trade show
exhibitors. A myriad of interviews and surveys of small business exhibitors provided
phenomenological insight for small business trade show success factors. This study includes the
results in an effort to assist small business owners develop strategies for trade show success.

Keywords: Trade show, trade show success, exhibition, exhibitor, exhibition performance, small business,
business success