By Phoebe Webster, student at New Swindon College.

Great British Expo 2019 at Ascot with Phoebe

On Wednesday the 22nd of May I had the pleasure of attending The Great British Expo at Ascot. I was there with Yola O’Hara, representing her business Visually Explained.

I wasn’t at all sure what to expect as I have never been to a business expo before but I was pleasantly surprised.

After an early start (5am to be exact) it was great to finally arrive at Ascot. Having collected our boxes of information leaflets, business cards, banners and promotional gifts, we were able to get our display set up. Something which didn’t take too long at all.

The expo began in earnest for me after breakfast, as we sat down ready to meet and greet people and tell them a little bit about Visually Explained.

Our first visitors were other companies at the expo looking to network, promote themselves and get to know a little bit more about us. This was great. I could pick up how Yola was describing her business, as well as how she answered any common questions people asked. Then I knew the answers for further visitors.

Throughout this period, we networked with lots of people from a diverse range of companies. I found this part the most interesting. It was intriguing to see how others pitched and marketed themselves. I noted ways that worked and kept me wanting more and used them myself when speaking to potential clients for Yola. It was also interesting seeing how businesses worked. I learn the theory behind running a business at college. But this chance to put it into a real life situation gave me context and increased my understanding.

Shortly after the businesses made their way round we started networking with the general public. My confidence has developed since doing this as Yola put her trust in me to promote her business and speak about it to strangers. I was nervous chatting to the first person, so soon diverted the conversation to Yola when she was free. But once I’d spoken with a couple of people my confidence grew. I began enjoying chatting to new people, learning about what they do and how we might be able to help them.

Before going to the expo, I’d expected a long day. Long yet interesting. The expo was eight hours long – the same length as my shift at work. So although a long day in terms of the actual time – it was short in that it passed so fast! Yola and I both managed to get our food, and grab some free cookies, but only for a short amount of time as we were so busy – but in a good way.

When the expo ended we packed up our things and headed back to the car with a bag full of client cards and freebies – of course. Overall, I loved my day at the expo. I’m so pleased that I got the chance to experience what it’s like and how smaller businesses grow from these types of events.

Not only was it interesting learning about how people promote themselves but also learning what they do. There was such a diverse range of businesses there! I also had the opportunity, if I wanted it, to attend different talks given by celebrities and public figures such as Olympians. This was something I’d have never got the chance to do otherwise and I am so glad I did.

Thank you again Yola for taking me and trusting me to represent your business. It was a fantastic experience that I’ve learnt a lot from.

If anyone reading gets the chance to be at or go to an expo I’d highly recommend!

Phoebe