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The Retail Confectioners Association of Philadelphia and Global CIF, LLC has signed a three-year show management contract extension right before the opening of the 139th Philadelphia Candy, Gift, and Gourmet Show last week. Global CIF became the trade show management company for the association shows in May 2017 and will continue managing and expanding the two annual trade shows in January and September. The Retail Confectioners Association of Philadelphia was founded in 1918 for the purpose of sharing information and knowledge about candy making and retailing among Philadelphia area confectioners. Currently, they have over 300 active and associate members throughout the United States and Canada.

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Since 2013 Messe Stuttgart Inc. has been active in the USA with its US subsidiary and operates as trade show organizer. Since 2017, Messe Stuttgart Inc. has extended its lifestyle consumer theme and established a partnership with Projekt 20drei10 GmbH to organize the VaporFair and HookahFair in New York and an upcoming show in Miami, Florida in 2019. In 2018, Messe Stuttgart Inc. is supporting nGage Events with the Smart Building Envelope event – powered by R+T, world’s leading trade fair for roller shutters, doors/gates and sun protection systems. Messe Stuttgart Inc.’s Representative Business includes the US-exhibit registrations and customer services for the leading LMS brands: R+T, TV TecStyle Visions, AMB, LASYS, VISION, Interbad, Moulding Expo and elect!

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By Dirk Ebener | May 1, 2018

Our company, Global CIF, is approaching its 4th anniversary and it is a very good feeling to still be alive and kicking in this very fast and changing business world. I was super excited when I successfully passed the “365 days in business” hurdle in 2015. There are plenty of stories, and people telling entrepreneurs who pay a lot of money to hear the message, that the “365 days in business” is the first indicator of how your business life will go.

We passed the test and I quietly celebrated with a cupcake and cup of coffee on Day 366.

The next milestone was the “Magic Three-Year Milestone.” This time, comments coming my way were: “Congratulations. You made it this far without turning the lights off and locking the door like so many other small business owners.”

I have news for you! Yes, I am still in business and who cares about what the rest of the business world thinks. The last time I checked, I am the one who is driving my business and will face the consequences if I mess up. Move on people. Focus on your stuff.

I read, watch, and listen to Gary Vaynerchuk. My wife, my daughter, and business friends will tell you that I am way too focused on his messages and comments. Yes, I listen to him a lot and take his comments and advice to my entrepreneurship heart. Read about him and his story and you will understand why I like his message!

In my office there are two photo canvases with quotes from Gary. They are right there in front of me all day long. One says, “WORK — that’s how you get it.” He is 100% right! The second canvas says, “Fear Kills Growth.” Gary is right again.

We are moving towards the 4th anniversary of my company. We continue to grow. I am looking for controlled and focused growth. The entire team is working very hard to make sure that we are keeping our current clients. Our commitment to existing business clients will allow us to continue our growth. You need to take care of the business you have before going for more.

Here are some of the lessons that I have learned. I hope they will help you to stay focused on your vision and business goals:

  1. Vision and commitment. No matter what business you are in or want to start, make sure that you keep your vision and commitment strong.
  2. Know your numbers.You will go out of business if you don’t know your numbers. You hear and see it on Shark Tank all the time. No matter how busy you are, look at your financials.
  3. Team effort. There are only 24 hours in a day and realistically 5 to 6 business days a week. Involve your team! Share your vision and allow them to contribute and buy into your vision.
  4. Outsource your weaknesses. Don’t spend your time on things you don’t like and are not good at. It is a waste of your time and is way too frustrating. Focus on your strengths and move on.
  5. Build a strong network.It is not weakness to ask for help and advice. People will not be able to help you and guide you if you don’t talk about it.
  6. It will be a very lonely road out there. Find a mentor who knows the business you are in. How can a mentor guide you if he never walked the walk? Be selective and take your time to connect with a mentor. A good mentor will hold you accountable and want you to succeed.
  7. Be a Giver. Way too many people want your advice and help and are not willing to give back. Don’t worry about getting something in return. Give anyway!
  8. Stay focused. It is your business. Don’t get distracted by what others are doing or thinking. At the end of the day it is your responsibility to keep the doors open.
  9. Get a manageable CRM system. I made the mistake of choosing a CRM system that was way too complicated for my small business. I have finally found one that works for me and is fun to work with. By the way, I am working with Nutshell.
  10. Ask for feedback. Engage with customers early and often and learn as much as possible in order to ensure you are delivering a great experience that customers value.
  11. Don’t be shy and change when change is needed. Willingness to change is vital in order to save you time and money in the long run.
  12. Social Media is a very effective marketing tool. You don’t’ have to be an expert on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Take some time and study your competitors and see what they are up to. Remember; outsourcing is ok!
  13. Leadership is what your team is looking for. You are the leader and your team is expecting you to lead. Greet everybody in the morning, interact during the day, limit the time of a meeting to the very minimum, and send them off with a smile at the end of the day.
  14. Take some “Me Time.” It is important to stay healthy and focused. Turn off the switch every now and then and enjoy your life. It is your day and time. Work on your life balance.
  15. Have fun! Have fun and enjoy the opportunity of starting a business. Good luck!

These are just some of the many lessons I have learned. Share yours with other entrepreneurs and business owners. Remember, be a Giver!

Dirk Ebener


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Participating in a trade show as an exhibitor or buyer is a very effective way to connect and network with a very focused and prepared audience.

The decision to become an exhibitor requires more than just filling out an application and sending a check to the organizers for the booth space. Budgeting about $5,000 for a standard 10×10 booth is not all there is. Your participation in a trade show will create expectations of buyers to see you there year after year. If you decide to skip a year or stay away for good, this might lead buyers to believe that you no longer care about the market or are out of business. So, please make sure that you keep these thoughts in mind.

There are many advantages to participate in a trade show. This is your opportunity to create high visibility for your company and products. Utilizing social media and inviting buyers to your booth for networking and product presentations, are just some of the ways to create some pre-show excitement.

Here are some statistics that we have collected at trade shows we manage:

  • 82% of buyers have purchasing authority
  • 89% of attendees are looking for new products
  • 65% or exhibitors believe that face-to-face meetings with buyers create leads and new business opportunities
  • Buyers spend 2.2 days and 9.5 hours on the show floor
  • 76% of the attendees will definitely or most likely return for the next event

At the end of the day it is critical that your entire organization is vested in the participation in a trade show. Trade shows are a fantastic way of creating new business!


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Attendees from around the world attend trade shows to source products, placing orders, and expanding their network. It is important for you to understand the differences in domestic and international networking techniques and etiquette. Your goal is to get to know people, discuss their business interest and vision, and become the to-go-to person and industry expert. Provide industry referrals and introductions on platforms like LinkedIn. It is also important to understand who will attend this event. This allows you to determine if this trade show is the correct business platform for your company. Interested in learning more about successful trade shows concepts? Connect with us at to schedule a call.

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More and more companies decide to participate in overseas trade shows. It is very important that you and your team understand business practices in these overseas markets. I have selected Germany for this blog. I hope you will find some new and interesting information in my blog.

  • Germany hosts many of the world’s largest and leading trade shows. These events are in cities like Frankfurt, Hannover, Munich, Stuttgart, Cologne, Nürnberg, and Düsseldorf. Some of the second-tier locations are starting to impact the trade show market. These cities include Leipzig, Hamburg, and Essen.
  • Germany is recognized as the No. 1 location for trade shows. The reason for being in the No. 1 spot is because of the state of the art facilities, innovation presented to exhibitors and buyers, and the global reach.
  • The leading trade show facilities in Germany are hosting about 150 global trade shows, welcoming close to 170,000 exhibitors and approx. 10 million international buyers. Almost 20% of the exhibitors and buyers come from countries outside Europe.
  • There are twenty-two major trade show facilities in Germany with over 29 million square feet of exhibit space. Four of the world’s leading trade show organizers are in Germany.
  • Trade shows are considered one of the most important B2B platforms in Germany. Exhibitor and buyers spend almost $13 billion every year at trade shows, and the economic impact of the trade show industry is estimated at about $25 billion per year.
  • The U.S. Commercial Service assists companies interested in participating in trade shows in Germany. You can find more information at

Here are some things you should pay attention to when you are participating in a German trade show:

  • Business cards are not exchanged as frequently as in the USA. When exchanging business cards in a meeting it is almost like “giving access” to the personal network and contacts. Therefore, you need to treat business cards as confidential information.
  • Introductions are much more formal. Most German trade shows do not issue name badges. Do not rush to the person who stops at your booth. Wait until the buyer is showing interest in your company and products. Do not address the individual by his/her first name until he/she offers you this option. Germans are very formal when it comes to addressing someone by their first name.
  • Business titles are very important in many countries. It is important that you address the individual with his/her academic title, and the Herr or Frau (Mr. or Mrs.) when you are in conversation with them. Focus on good eye contact with your potential client.
  • Business etiquette at dinners is important. Here are some quick tips to make sure you are not creating a bad first impression at a dinner function. You need to wait with taking a sip or a bite until the host starts. Always use a fork and knife when eating. That also goes for fries and pizza. It is also important to have eye contact before and after raising your glass for a toast. One last, but important tip, for the coffee lovers out there. The wonderful beverage is served after the meal and way into the middle of the night.
  • Dinner etiquette is important. Germans take their time when they meet for lunch or dinner. Rushing through the meal is considered very rude. Your waiter will never, ever, bring you the bill unless you ask for it. If you like to have water with your meal, you should ask for it, and it will be either sparkling or non-sparkling. Alcoholic beverages are served at any time of the day. It is not unusual to see guests having a beer in the morning hours while eating their meal. One thing to keep in mind is that a German beer will take 7 minutes to draft. Be patient!
  • Tipping is also handled differently in Germany. A service charge is already included in the bill. When the service is outstanding, you should leave an additional 10%, and leave it at the table or hand it to your server.
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There are thousands of trade shows, industry conferences, and specialty events around the globe. Trade shows are by far the leading marketplace when it comes to introducing products and services to a global business audience. Buyers from all around the world are spending their hard-earned Euros, Dollars, etc to create new business opportunities and making on-site purchasing decisions. It is your responsibility to reach out to these business leads and bring them to your trade show booth.

It is important that your trade show team and management discuss the following questions to ensure a successful trade show strategy.

  • How will you integrate the trade show with your corporate business plan and marketing activities?
  • Why would domestic and international buyers purchase your products and services?
  • How can you create traffic to your booth and what how can social media support pre-show marketing?
  • Do you understand the demographics of the trade show?
  • Have you clearly identified your buyers?
  • How can you identify and connect with various attendee groups?
  • Do you know other exhibitors who might be interested in creating sales opportunities with you?
  • Is your competition participating in trade shows and what is their approach and message?
  • Do you really know your competitors? Is your team aware of their business approach, strengths and weaknesses?
  • How will your team interact with domestic and international buyers who come to your booth? Are they prepared to communicate with them accordingly?
  • Is your team able to adjust to cross-cultural differences?
  • What are the results management is expecting from you and your team as a result of the trade show?
  • Who will be in charge of following up on leads and when will your team follow up?

There are plenty of resources for your company to ensure that your trade show is successful. You can connect with industry associations, trade show organizers, one of the departments of commerce, or trade show consulting companies like Global CIF.

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Global CIF has been selected as the show management company to support the organizers, Hannover Fairs U.S.A. and Newcom Business Media Inc. in Toronto, with the trade shows launch at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. The first event will take place in Hall B of the GWCC and start with over 350,000 net square feet of exhibit space. The organizers are expecting over 350 international exhibitors, meeting with 10,000+ buyers from around the world.

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Global CIF has been appointed the trade show management company for the American Coatings SHOW & Conference. The American Coatings SHOW & Conference is the leading North American industry show and conference for the paint and costings industry, offering innovative features to provide immediate business opportunities, a complete portfolio for the production of high-grade, competitive coatings, paints, sealants, construction chemicals and adhesives.