During the recent boom times, some events (spinoff shows or high-end conferences) were launched for no better reason than "we need 10% organic growth." As a result, some of you may have a loser in your portfolio.
Maybe now is the time to drop this loser. It if was not successful in the boom times (2000 and prior), it will likely not survive the tough times ahead. Better to cut your losses and concentrate the organization's resources on the winners.
First, be sure you have a handle on what attendees and exhibitors think about the potential of the event. Ask in-depth questions that elicit more than a yes or no. You are looking for truthful responses; probe or you will get back "everything is fine."
Next, can you change the event to help it succeed? Or maybe colocate with a compatible event? Or could it be sold to someone else who has a special resource, such as a supporting magazine?
Finally, if you conclude there is no chance the event can be profitable, then this fall is the best time to kill it. Then you can concentrate on making the survivors better and also on launching the future winners (more on this in a future Tip).