Experiencing the Childcare Expo comedown by Catherine Jackson

11th April 2017

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Having sailed around the world with my family, I know a thing or two about preparing for a big adventure. First, there’s the question: Can I really do it? Can I invest that money, when everyone around me thinks I’m crazy?  Then there’s the announcement. Once you tell people you’re going to do it, there’s no turning back. It tells people you’re serious and you believe in yourself.

Of course you have your doubts, but you push them down and focus on what could go right, not what could go wrong.

Then there’s the planning and the contingency planning. Thinking about what you’ll need and what might go wrong.

And then one day, you find yourself, your family and your suitcases in a marina in Greece standing in front of a boat and you realise there’s no turning back. You’ve signed up to this and you’re going to grab this opportunity and make the most of it. You prepare your ship.

Some ocean crossings are calm, and others are positively ‘hold-on-to-your-knickers-and-wave-to-the-kids-whilst-pretending-you’re-in-control.’

There are ups and downs, but when you look back and reflect on your adventure, you realise you met amazing people, you learnt things about yourself you didn’t know and you validated your belief in yourself, in your boat, in your skills. You remember the sundowners with new friends in Tahiti and laugh about the time you lost your rudder midway across the Atlantic.

Anyway, I digress. But you get the point. For a newby to the world of expos, there’s a fair bit of questioning, planning and contingency planning that goes into attending something like Childcare Expo. I realise if I was more of a veteran, I would have been better prepared. I mean, who turns up to an expo WITHOUT VELCRO?!

But what a ride! From the moment the visitors filtered into aisle C, to the moment they filtered out, it was full speed ahead, meeting amazing dedicated practitioners, who were open to discussion, demonstration, questioning, learning and giving honest feedback. I gained so much from having face-to-face contact with my market. The facial expressions changed from “wow – this app is really great” to “how much?” which consistently told me I have seriously undercharged for my app.

The other exhibitors I met were also inspirational and a great source of information (and Velcro!) and now I’m back I’ve experienced the same kind of comedown I experienced coming back from my adventure on the big blue. Did that really happen?! How can I make the most of that experience?

So, if you are considering whether or not you should invest in Childcare Expo, I’d suggest you go for it – it puts you in the centre of your target market who are open to new products – it’s why they are there! And if you want some tips on how to survive your first expo, here are my top five:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes – you’re going to be on your feet all day
  2. Remember to take your chargers if you have iPad/phones and have a reliable energy source – they might not last the whole day!
  3. Collect as many emails as possible so you can continue communication once you’ve come home.
  4. It’s much more fun when there’s more than one of you.
  5. And you can never, never have too much Velcro

PS These top tips work well for sailing around the world too!

To pick up weekly tips to support speech, language and communication from Catherine, click here.

Click here to register for your free tickets to attend Childcare Expo Manchester on 16th & 17th June 2017.

Why attend Childcare Expo?

Join over 2,500 like-minded individuals from the early years sector who are dedicated to improving both practice and their childcare settings.

Attend educational seminars to credit your CPD

Meet the experts to have your questions answered

Receive fantastic onsite offers and discounts

Experience expert-led informative hands-on workshops

Network with peers and industry players

Pick up hundreds of new product ideas and services

And most of all, enjoy a great day out with your colleagues

100+ exhibitors | 1000s of industry players | 100s of experts