The excitement is building as The Clean Show 2019 approaches. It is important to remember that the advantages of attending far outweigh any costs incurred in travel and registration fees. You cannot help benefitting from the worthwhile experience, knowledge, new product developments, and personal interaction with associates.
Retailminded.com offers these valuable 10 Reasons To Attend Trade Shows:
1. “Gain knowledge and exposure to new trends, products and resources that are available for your retail business or wholesale company. This is a great way to learn about what’s hot, what’s fading, and what your company needs to have or do right now.
2. Stimulate new ideas and creative ways to support your business despite the economy, past weak seasons and more. The sources of this knowledge are endless – your competition at the show, your general experience at the show, and even just your participation at the show will make an impact.
3. Engage with other retailers and vendors you can lean on, learn from, and possibly gain business from, people you would not have had the chance to meet had you not attended that trade show.
4. Learn what your competition is up to without much effort - as their business information will be easily accessible. Ask yourself how you compare to your competition, evaluating your strengths and weaknesses to best support your business.
5. Expose yourself to the press attending the trade shows so they know about your business – retail or wholesale. Make sure your business stands out so that they will remember you.
6. Generate leads for strategic alliances, and most importantly, potential customers. Collect business cards, refer to the directory, and use all other outlets provided to you during the show to create a list of contacts for your files and your business outreach.
7. Participate in educational seminars, networking events, and surveys that take place only at trade shows, and will expose you to new people, new business and new ways of thinking for your business success.
8. Get answers right away, whether from a vendor or a retailer, since trade shows allow for immediate communication and easy, accessible outlets of exposure for both vendors and retailers.
9. Become educated on your industry so that you can better support your clients and customers by utilizing all the resources trade shows offer.
10. Have fun. Yes – have fun. Nothing energies business owners more than a good time while working, to keep them motivated to want to work more!”
One of the advantages of attending is having the opportunity to network with others in our industry. This article, Tips for Successful Business Networking by Susan M. Heathfield, Human Resources & Management Consultant for TheBalance.com, recaps beautifully the art of networking to the following 10 points:
“Build a network of partners to keep an open eye and ear for new opportunities for you-and vice versa, you for them. Networking is only effective when it is mutually beneficial.
Reach targeted individuals for your business or career in two ways: directly or indirectly through your contacts. Expand your network through colleagues with a reach that you cannot develop by yourself.
Build visibility within your industry or profession by raising your profile. Go to every social and business gathering you possibly can.
Build visibility within your community to assist your organization to develop a reputation as an employer of choice. This will help you recruit and retain great employees. Your community will look upon you as the face of your business.
Build a strong network with coworkers within your organization to accomplish work more successfully by utilizing your networkof mutually beneficial relationships.
Create a diverse network of people with whom you can share ideas and gain information. Nothing is as effective as bouncing ideas back and forth with another professional whom you admire.
Contribute to charitable and community causes. Many business-networking events involve fundraising or volunteering. For people who are shy when meeting new people, these are often the most comfortable events. Everyone is attending for the same reason and the event’s sole focus is not business networking, it’s an ancillary benefit: doing good.
While worldwide is not local, it is the new networking. It is also easier for people who may be uncomfortable in a face-to-face setting. Just don’t use it as a substitute for business networking in person.
Networking has never been easier. You can almost instantaneously begin to build a far-flung network of professional people on online social-networking sites such as LinkedIn,Facebook, Instagram, andTwitter.
You will actually make friends. The people you meet while business networking have a lot in common with you. Pursue relationships with them not for just business advantages, but to share common interests and fun.”
Over the years, I have developed some additional networking tools to consider:
Forming new relationships is never easy. Initiating a conversation with a perfect stranger can often be awkward. Promotional items are helpful in this area. I have given out a variety of practical items that help to initiate a conversation. This kind of thing is a good icebreaker and puts your business name front and center.
When attending a networking event, bring plenty of business cards to distribute. As you receive business cards from others, write on the back of each new business card an individual detail about the new contact or what was discussed to help you remember.
Be sure to follow-up with an email, text, or hand-written letter afterwards. The notes you made on the back of the contact’s business card will be especially useful.
Belonging to a Cost Group enhances the process of networking at a trade show. Having Tuchman Advisory Group (T.A.G.) members circulating at the show expands our ability to share, listen, learn, and meet more people. From the Young Presidents’ Organization, Vistage, Tuchman Advisory Group and others within our own industry, these groups have proven to be very valuable to business owners around the world. Here are four top reasons to be a member of a Cost Group:
#1 ~ You Are Not Alone
Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely endeavor. The ability to get together with non-competing peers to share information, discuss concerns, learn from each other, achieve goals, and be held accountable have proven to be of great assistance. We want to create greater value in our businesses. We want to become more effective at managing our costs, improve profitability and increase customer satisfaction. We want to learn from the best and most creative minds in our industry. Getting answers to questions from our peers is important even as we share and learn from each other. The true value of participating in a group is that it provides a sounding board, helps us to rise above the day-to-day minutiae, and gain a broader view of where we are headed.
#2 ~ The Value of a Cost Group
The founder of T.A.G. the late Sid Tuchman, defined the value of meeting as a way to compare issues of common concern. Describing his own methodology in guiding his groups, Sid explained: “At each meeting, members prepare a presentation about their company, each participant is asked to discuss its content, and distribute a copy to those in attendance. Our members’ creativity is nourished at these meetings and everyone will take home material of up-to-date ideas from each of the other participants. The essence of this whole idea is sharing! There are so many topics in our industry that can be explored. Every topic is open for discussion, from routes, pillows, draperies, shirt laundry, dry stores, wash & fold, bridal preservation, fire restoration, package plants, uniform rentals, insurance, leases, and more. The possibilities for exploration and discussion are numerous.”
#3 ~ What You Should Expect from Participating in a Group
1) Interchange of key business issues
2) Monthly financial comparison
3) The group serving as a sounding board for new ideas
4) Peer pressure to improve performance
5) Training to become more efficient managers
6) Ways to recruit, train, appraise, and retain employees
7) Complete confidence and confidentiality regarding any and all ideas
8) Critiques of each other’s plant
9) Comparisons of advertising, social media, and promotional ideas
10) Improvement in labor and supply costs
11) Learning to control utility costs
12) Discussion with those facing similar business challenges
13) Outside speakers on key topics (e.g., performance-appraisal process).
#4 ~ Having Fun Together
Having a good time together is a key part of the process. We have found in T.A.G. that the camaraderie and friendships developed over the years have proven to be invaluable. Communication and team spirit grow with each passing meeting; veteran members and newcomers alike enjoy being together.
Many of you have expressed an interest in meeting me in person and learning more about T.A.G. Please stop by the Consultant’s Corner sponsored by Cleaner’s Supply (booth 4542) on Thursday, June 20, from10:00am-11:30am or email me to set up an appointment for another time. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This article was originally published in the June 2019 issue of Cleaner & Launderer