8 Essentials Every Business Owner Needs to Bring to a Tradeshow

8 Essentials Every Business Owner Needs to Bring to a Tradeshow

Did you know that there are over 12,000 tradeshows that happen annually in the United States?

That's a lot of tradeshows happening each year! And although the tradeshows are all in different industries, there are still a few things that each tradeshow has in common - what you have to bring as a vendor at the tradeshow!

From the supplies that you need to have a successful tradeshow to the tradeshow signage you'll want to display, you need a tradeshow checklist to make sure you have everything in order!

Ready to know what tradeshow essentials you should always have? Read on for a list of the top ones you shouldn't forget to bring!

1. A Supply Box of Essentials

Having a supply box at your tradeshow is essential to make sure you have the ability to put things up and fix things. So what needs to be in this supply box? Here are a few!

Tradeshow Tape

Did you know that there is such thing as tradeshow tape? Well, when it comes to putting up tradeshow banners and setting up, tradeshow tape is much better than duct tape!

It's perfect for putting up banners, keeping stuff on the table and so much more!

Don't forget to put this one on your tradeshow checklist for the next one!

Pocket Knife and Scissors

When it comes to going to a tradeshow, you probably have a lot of items in bags and boxes still. To open them with ease, you should have a pocket knife and scissors to help you open these items!

Zip Ties

Zip ties are easily forgotten, but you don't want to forget these at your next tradeshow! These are perfect for tying things together like cords that are in the way of walking or on your table. They can also keep posters and signage in place that you put up at your tent.


You need to bring a tablecloth to your tradeshow so that the bare table is not showing. No one wants to just see an ugly table - why not make this a moment that you show off your style, organization, and even a logo on a tablecloth that hangs down in the front of the table?

2. Clipboards and Pens

At a tradeshow, you hope to have a lot of potential clients or customers come up to your tent or table. When that happens, you may ask them questions and converse with them.

If that conversation goes far enough, you may even end up asking them to fill out a form or a questionnaire! This could be for an email list, a follow-up info session, or something else.

For whatever reason someone is filling out a form at your table, you need a way that they can do it comfortably rather than leaning over your table for a long time. You also want people to be able to walk away from your table for a few feet while filling out the papers so others can come up to your booth.

That's why having a clipboard is so important at a tradeshow.

Don't forget to supply the pens as well!

3. Backup Laptop and a Charger

When you're at a tradeshow, it is probably your worst nightmare that your laptop could die on you or stop working suddenly.

To fix the problem about the laptop dying, you should always have a charger on hand. And if you can, this charger should always be plugged into the laptop to make sure that it is constantly charging. This way, you don't have to worry about it potentially dying in the middle of a presentation if you forget about it!

However, sometimes your laptop will just stop working - and a charger won't fix that. With that being the case, you should always have a backup laptop in case you need to switch it out in the middle of the tradeshow.

4. Promotional Materials

One of the biggest reasons that you attend a tradeshow is to get the word out there about your business or company. You want to advertise your company for whoever attends the event.

Not only that, but you also want those people who meet you at the tradeshow to then spread the word about your company outside of the tradeshow. To do that, you need to bring promotional materials to the event.

So what does promotional material entail?

Promotional materials are really any product that promotes your company in some way (usually with your logo or company name on it).

For instance, you could have the following promotional items at your event:

  • T-shirts with the brand logo
  • Notepads and pens with the company name on them
  • Phone wallets with the company logo
  • Portable phone chargers with the brand logo

And so many more options as well! The promotional materials that you choose to bring to the event will also depend on the type of event you are at as well as the industry that your brand is in.

As an example, if you are in the travel industry, you may want to include the following as promotional items:

  • Airplane travel kits with your logo
  • Hand wipes or hand sanitizer bottles with your brand name
  • Neck pillows with the brand logo

Not only do these items promote your brand and company, they are also giving people who attend something that they would enjoy using.

5. Signage

When you go to a tradeshow, without signage, no one will know what your brand or business is. Because of this, they most likely will skip right over your table or tent and head over to one that has a sign stating what it is.

It's important to make signage stand out while still making it authentic to your business. This is where the importance of fonts and branding comes into play on your signage.

You should also have more than just one sign. You want to make sure that your booth is visible from all sides, which means that you need signage on all sides.

Here's an example of how you could do this:

  • Add signs on both sides that states the business name and potentially a tagline under it
  • Hang a banner across the front of the booth or tent that advertises your company name in huge letters
  • Put some type of sign in the back of the booth so that people can read it when walking by so they know to stop by on their way around the other side

By adding signage to your table or tent, you are advertising yourself for others to come over to see everything that you have to offer!

What to Put on the Signage

But what do you put on the signage at your show? Most of the time, you'll want to keep it simple by just adding your logo and your company name.

However, there are sometimes that you may want to add a bit more information about your services or products. For instance, you may add a tagline or contact information on a banner while you keep a tablecloth simple with just a logo.

Ultimately, the design is completely up to you! Just remember that you want to make sure these signs are readable from afar so that people will walk your way when they read the sign!

6. Media

While you already know to bring your laptop and a backup laptop, you also need to bring the media that you want to display at the tradeshow.

This could be anything from a presentation to a slideshow that is constantly playing. Or maybe, you just want to show photos on the display monitor.

In addition to the media, you have to think about if you want more than one display. Ask yourself:

  • Do I want to just display media on my laptop or do I want an additional screen?
  • Should I have multiple screens at different angles at my tent?
  • What are the important things I should show on the media?

Whatever you decide, having some sort of media is a must at the tradeshow!

If you can't decide which type to go with, you can also go by ease of use. For instance, it would be a bit more difficult to be running presentations since people are coming and going from your stand to other stands. If you can figure out how to do it in a way that works, that's awesome! Otherwise, having media flash across the screen is good enough.

7. Business Cards

What is the point of a tradeshow if you do not bring business cards to give out your information? There's not!

You want to have something that potential customers can walk away with. And that something should be a business card.

If you don't have business cards, you'll want to order a good amount before your next trade show. If you're curious about how to design one, here are a few tips.

Tips to Design Business Cards

For starters, you want to have the right information on the business cards. That means you should have your contact information like the name of the business, your email, and your phone number. Sticking with just that information is fine for a card.

However, if you want to include more information, you could include social media channels that you use. For instance, add in your Instagram handle on the back (or even the front if that is your main form of communication as a company!). You may want to add your website if you have one as well.

Not only do you want that information typed out onto the card, you will also want to add your logo to the card. This is important because it creates a brand identity for your company and brand. When people see it, they'll know what they are looking at.

How Many to Bring

Now that you know how to design a business card that will actually generate leads and get you more customers, you need to know how many to order and print.

A good rule of thumb is just to always have extra. Since trade shows tend to be larger events, you should print anywhere from 500-1,000 to have on hand. If you print more, you usually get a bulk discount so it can't hurt to print more!

8. Refreshments

If you want to go above and beyond what you actually need to bring, you may want to bring refreshments to the tradeshow!

This way, when potential customers come by, they'll have the ability to grab a beverage while they talk to you.

The best part of this?

You can even replace the water bottle labels with your own company logo! Then, when they go home, they'll remember you when they look at their water bottle label!

The 8 Tradeshow Essentials That You Need at Your Next Show

Going to a tradeshow can be a very exciting event as a business owner, but it can also be daunting.

You may be wondering what to bring, how many of each thing to bring - and it can all become overwhelming very fast. But with this tradeshow checklist, you know all of the tradeshow essentials that you need to bring.

You'll be sure to impress all of the passersby!

If you are ready to take the leap and get packing, Custom Banner Lab creates all types of essentials that you made need at the next show like tablecloths and banners.

It's time to get shopping so you have the best tradeshow essentials for your next show!