How far in advance should you begin planning your new exhibit for your next trade show? At Exhibit Network, we answer this question with a tried-and-true project management principle called Backward Counting. You start with the date the show begins and count backward for all the tasks needed to get your new exhibit to the show on time. Obviously, each project has its own unique timeline, and some tasks can be performed simultaneously. We generally exclude weekends and holidays to avoid OT hours.
For this example, you need a new 20 x 20 custom exhibit for a show that opens October 3, 2016. Your Backward Counting will look something like this:
- Show opens: 1 day Oct 3
- Install: 3 days Sep 30 – Oct 2
- Shipping: 3 days Sep 26 – 29
- Prep for shipping: 2 days Sep 22 – 23
- Build crates: 6 days Sep 14 – 21
- Order show services: 3 days Sep 14 – 16
- Fabricate custom exhibit: 21 days Aug 23 – Sep 20
- Produce graphics: 7 days Sep 9 – Sep 20
- Create graphic artwork: 14 days Aug 29 – Sep 8
- Purchase raw materials: 6 days Aug 15 – 22
- Approve estimate: 2 days Aug 11 – 12
- Approve exhibit design: 2 days Aug 10 – 11
- Design exhibit/revisions: 14 days Jul 22 – Aug 10
- Meet with design team: 2 days Jul 20 – 21
- Finalize strategy: 14 days Jun 30 – Jul 20
- Meet with Exhibit Network: 1 day Jun 27
How far in advance should you begin planning your new exhibit for your next trade show? In the scenario above, you should begin meeting with your exhibit house to discuss your preliminary strategy no later than June 27, 2016. Of course, if you can start the process earlier, all the better. At Exhibit Network, we will provide an individualized Backward Counting schedule based on your unique project to help keep everyone on track and to eliminate last-minute rush and OT charges.
Contact Exhibit Network today to begin your custom exhibit design, and may all your trade shows be shamelessly awesome.