How hard is it to put on a Children’s Business Fair?
The short answer is not hard at all. In fact out of all the events I have planned and managed, for both adults and children, this took the least amount of work. Anyone – even a child – can create a business fair.
Step 1 (or 2): Find a location
Find a place to hold the fair. The reason Step 1 and 2 are interchangeable is because if you already have a space in mind and it sets limitations on the number of tables (geography, fire codes, room dimensions) then that’s your fair size. Simple enough. This is the most amount of work your are going to put in. Getting permission. If you choose to do it on your property a.k.a. a lemonade stand on your driveway, then this is the easiest part, obviously.
Step 2 (or 1): Determine the size
And by size I mean how many tables will you offer? This is step 1 or 2 because it prevents “scope creep”. Not having enough room is a really bad situation on fair day. Very unhappy kids!
Step 3: Set a date and time
Assuming location, size of the fair and permissions to hold your fair are in place, setting the fair date is your next task. The location might provide boundaries for this, or the time of year, but having a date is important to nail down beforehand.
Remember to consider the time of day as well. You’d like people to come, so planning it during school hours or work hours or times of religious observance isn’t in your best interest.
Step 4: Tables
If your location doesn’t have tables, how will you manage this? This can be a costly rental so many adult fairs tell their entrepreneurs to bring their own. This is ideal for the “no cost” fair. In my experience, when having an outdoor fair, bringing their own table is the best scenario.
I have offered table rentals as part of a fair. When they signed up it costs them a fee to secure a spot and that includes a table of a certain size and perhaps a canopy tent. Of course your goal is for it to be free to participate so if you have to charge them be transparent about the what it’s covering.
There are many version of this set-up including business sponsorship that can pay for the costs. Personally I would aim for free with the easiest solution. A small fair in your yard with your own tables is quite a rewarding and fun event.
Step 5: Invite and cap
When you send out invitations to sign up make sure you let everyone know there is a cap and what process you are using to determine when it’s full.
Online sign up is easiest using free tools such as Google forms, but a paper sheet at any children’s school or program meeting location works just as well. Social media can be a good using event listing. Regardless, one single sign up location is essential and will avoid lost entries and headaches for you.
If you need to charge per table it’s simplest to use cash on arrival however with e-transfers and buy options on Facebook, planning a paid event it getting very simple.
Step 6: Advertise your fair
This should be done by the participants organically so little advertising will be necessary, but it doesn’t hurt to spread the word.
Facebook groups related to the children involved, the community association or program that gave you use of the space, friends and family are all good options.
Be careful not to over advertise! Too many people is as big a problem as too few. Children tend to make a modest amount of product and selling out in 15 minutes will have you apologizing for the next 2 hours.
Step 7: Open your fair!
Once you have a location it really rolls forward on it’s own. You will be amazed at the flow and energy the day of your fair.
It’s quite a lot of fun.
Enjoy the enthusiasm of the children participating.
And yes, make sure you leave the space you’re using cleaner than you found it.