As The Business Show draws ever closer, we realised we couldn’t put off writing this post any longer. This week, tomorrow and on Friday, Olympia will be filled with entrepreneurs, new (and potential) business owners and b2b companies. Some of our competitors in the accounting software space will also be attending…but we won’t be there.

For those of you who’ve seen our presence at previous exhibitions (i.e. our MASSIVE STAND), this may come as a surprise, even though we have hinted previously that we were considering bowing out of exhibitions here.

It’s not a decision we’ve taken lightly, and it’s one we put off for a long time because we wondered whether our absence would suggest to competitors and business owners that we were struggling financially. Hopefully our recent acquisition can put that one to bed!

All told (between storing our stand, producing merch for the occasion, leaflets, taking staff out of the office etc), participating at an exhibition costs us the thick end of £100,000. And how many paying customers do we get from that? Probably less than ten. Which amounts to a CPA of over £10,000 – hardly the most efficient spend!

Don’t get us wrong – we love meeting and talking to small business owners, and exhibitions are great for exposure and thought leadership, but we can’t justify the cost based on those things alone. In a world increasingly dominated by SaaS and the cloud, it feels strange for thousands of business owners and service providers to come together in one big room to buy and sell things; whether it’s actually true or not, it’s certainly tempting to think that people who really embrace the cloud do most of their research and purchasing online.

Will we be back next year? Who knows! But before we exhibit at another event we’ll be reading up on best practices and trying to figure out a new way to maximise the potential ROI of events. Once we’ve done that, we’ll let you know…

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