Bottom Line September/October 2022August 29th, 2022 by Nathan Hobbs
Making the Most of Industry Events
I know it’s hard to leave your shop, whether you’re an owner or an owner-installer. Still, I urge you to do it. Get away to an industry event at least once a year to focus on where you are now, where you want to be in the future and how you can get there. This is exactly why events exist. Follow these five tips to wring value from the time and money spent on them.
1 Choose the Event That’s Best for You
Attending events can be affordable— it’s just important to pick those with content, location and a timeframe that works for you. Film industry events happen across the country, so you should be able to find something within driving distance to avoid airfare. And while some of the biggest conventions last several days, regional events also require fewer nights away, which means fewer room nights. Explore what’s out there and set a budget to keep costs manageable. If you look far enough ahead, you can even set money aside over time.
2 Take 30 Minutes to Think Before You Go
To make the most of your time at any industry event, figure out one challenge you want to address that will improve your business. Consider strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, then decide what you want to do. Maybe it’s learning to upsell in new ways, strengthening your social media presence or even adding a whole new product line. Whatever you choose, make it a goal to keep your eyes and ears open for information on that topic. Ideas often come from expert speakers but can also be part of your conversations with new connections.
3 Bring the Right People, at The Right Time
Inviting people from your team when you go to an event for the first time is tempting. Instead, consider going on your own first to check things out. The next time, you’ll know who on your team could most benefit from the experience. The other reason to consider attending solo first is financial: many shops cover employee travel and pay for time spent at events. This makes it rewarding for employees to get an invitation—they’ll understand you see their value and want to invest in them.
4 Consider Every Stranger a Potential Friend or Ally
Going to an event alone might be unappealing to you but consider this: you have a bond with everyone who will be there. You share passion, experiences and concerns, which create much to talk about. Push outside your comfort zone, say hello first, and then ask a question. I’ve seen many great conversations and relationships start this way. Events allow you to forge connections you’ll enjoy for the rest of your life. Plus, you might even get leads from these relationships.
5 Leverage What You’ve Learned When You Return
Don’t wait to act when you get back. Take all the new knowledge you have for that one challenge you decided to learn about and create a plan to implement it. Then share your plan with someone you trust to provide feedback and keep you on track. For extra motivation, you might also want to check in with your accountability buddy 30, 60 and 90 days into your plan.
Dan Birkenmeier is the regional marketing leader of the Americas for Eastman.
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