[I]f one wants to get a boat ride, one must be near the river. ~Anchee Min, Becoming Madame Mao
In business, many times the boat ride is a trade show or conference, offering resources and inspiration onto our various ventures. As a start up business, the knowledge base may be truly based in education and practical skill. Many times to best hone and sharpen our skills, we need to be round others who are just as driven, who have been where we are and who are willing to share their wisdom and knowledge. Seminars at trade shows and conference are quite similar to the resources SCORE offers. Albeit, the advice is not free, since you would have to pay for admission, and a plane ticket and other expenses, but the opportunity to absorb pertinent information and meet others who are in the same or similar industry is priceless.
This week is Fashion Week, in Fabulous Las Vgeas. There are many conferences, conventions and trade shows, happening at the same time all over the city. I personally attended WWIN (Womens Wear in Nevada), The KidShow, The MAGIC show (Mens Apparel Guild in California) and the OFF Price LasVegas Show. These were located at the Rio, Ballys, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands Expo, respectively. I know there were a few more shows, but they do not fit into my business model, so I chose to not attend. Instead, I streamlined my attendance to those where I knew I could grow my current product lines and retail offerings.
WWDMagic has seminars on marketing techniques, how to use social media and booths set up by various vendors that help with additional financing, and provide guidance on using credit terms. The traffic is heavy, the cost to attend seems exorbitant, but those are excuses stopping you from catching the boat ride. It is priceless for a retail owner to know what are the colors, styles and patterns for the upcoming season. It is just as valuable to make contact with your current manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and to make contact with potential new ones.
By using trade show, seminars and conferences as a mechanism for staying in touch and on top of trendsetters, advancing technologies and best practices, you are taking advantage of priceless opportunities to grow, learn and succeed.