In one of his recent blogs Tom Stimson remarked on how busy everyone in this industry seems to be. Hearing this, you may be thinking, “I wish our company was as busy as we were at the crest of the boom cycle a couple years ago.”
But as I have been attending tradeshows this year, sitting on panels, and giving presentations, I know what Tom means. He was not using the term “busy” to mean being swamped with hiring, bids, proposals, and more jobs than you can handle. He meant something else, something maybe even more important this year.
Starting with business travel this year, it strikes me as I attend tradeshows and conferences, and visit staging companies, that there is a lot more serious networking, meetings, and planning going on. Think back to tradeshows, for example, in a boom year, when you so often get what my friend Alan Brawn calls the “tradeshow handshake and conversation.” This is the warm greeting where
you’re standing in a booth, and the exec of that company greets you, shakes your hand, and literally is looking out over your shoulder, searching for a more important attendee, as he carries on a minute and 30-second conversation. And then it’s on to the next booth, and the scene repeats itself. At show’s end, you’ve spoken with about 380 close industry friends, but you go back to your office with not a very different agenda than you had the week before.
Of course we all love and need booming tradeshows — and booming business. But I’m making a point: winning strategy — based on careful planning, education, and networking — is more often than not honed in the slower months and years, when you have more time, and more need, to plan. So, this year, as we head to InfoComm, there is no better time to plan to do all those things that in the boom years you can’t seem to find the time for. And this is not just about having more time; it’s really about applying resources when and where they are needed.
This year, there is a wealth of educational resources available to staging companies who know that a year like this is what separates the strong from the weak. And I’m not talking about “survival of the fittest.” I’m talking about proactive growth; strength that is not about surviving a storm, but is an aggressive strategy of training your staff, forging new alliances with potential business partners, winning new customers, and adding more value to existing customers.
Tom Stimson is doing a great job of providing this kind of expertise to the industry this year with his far-ranging seminars, including his anchoring of the business/marketing portion of our InfoComm/Rental & Staging Roadshows. Speaking of which, we are now planning our return of the Roadshow to Altman Rentals on July 29. For those of you have attended the Rental & Staging Roadshow at the great Altman facilities on the shores of the Hudson River, just a short train ride from Manhattan, you know what a great event it is. And if you have not, this summer is a great opportunity to network with your peers, hone both your business/marketing and technical skills with our deeply industry-experienced presenters, and have fun doing it. (Registration for the July 29 Roadshow is open at www.rentalstagingroadhow.com.)