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On the Road, and Working Smarter

On the Road, and Working Smarter

At the Rental & Staging Roadshow in New York City, July 28, we had probably the best turnout to date for a Roadshow. The staging business has been ramping up this year, and stagers are adding gear to inventory, and preparing their staff for growth.

Our main presenter for the Roadshow is Tom Stimson (who as most of you know is now–in addition to being the top business/management consultant in the Rental Staging industry—the president of InfoComm this year). And he knows more than anyone, that although the recession is over, margins will never return to the levels we saw five years ago (much less ten years ago). Tom addressed the problem of shrinking margins and what staging companies can do to liberate their companies from this cycle.

Tom also tackled “The ROI of Everything– How To Make Better Decisions”. Tom explained how companies need better tools for calculating the return on the costs over time, but struggle with quantifying the value of updating processes. Tom demonstrated a simple system for calculating the ROI of change using real world examples.

And even as the staging market matures, and production and staging are not the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants affairs they were in the past, our digital tool arsenal, while providing improved efficiency, presents challenges never seen in the analog days. Joel Rollins shared stories about how we saved a show at the last second using gum, a paper clip, and fast thinking. But today’s shows have changed, and in a world of clouds and bytes the tools we use to save them have changed. Rollins explained what replaces the paper clip in our emergency toolkit today.

But for me, at the July Roadshow in the heart of Manhattan, one of the world’s most vibrant markets, it was the comments from some of the staging company attendees that drove home to me how the market has come back–and what companies are doing to ramp up.

Brian Brooks, president of MB Productions, told me at the Roadshow in NY, that he is managing his company differently.

“This year,” said Brooks, “we’ve been making a large investment in new technologies— getting deeper into HD, with a new HD camera package, HD projection and switching. As the economy gets stronger, we want to make sure we’re leading the way, and have a competitive advantage”

Joe Guilderson, president of Corporate AV, said that he brings sales people, technical staff, and operations people to the Roadshow. And it’s not just about the handson with equipment. On the management side, he gets backup for the strategies he’s trying to instill. “If I tell them these things, management and efficiency principals,” explained Guilderson, “they may put it in the back of their mind, and go back to what they’re doing every day. But when you put them in a room with 150-200 of their peers, and you put an expert in front of them like Tom Stimson, everything has a lot more meaning, and they get the true gist of these management messages, and they start thinking more as a company.”

So the take-away from Rental & Staging Roadshow Manhattan? Yes, the economy is back, but to succeed in a world of smaller margins, and stiff competition, you need, now more than ever, to work smart as well as hard. There are still several more Roadshows on the calendar for this year, to help you do just that. Log onto www. to register for one near you.