Well, whether you like it or not, it has happened: Trade Show Season! It is definitely a love-hate relationship for me! I love reconnecting with my coffee family, meeting new clients, and discovering innovative products and ideas at all of the spring trade shows and conferences. Seeing my clients, who have become family, giving them a hug, hearing about their successes and challenges, this is what creates that vital relationship of understanding and connection which renders business success. I don’t know about you, but a website or webinar will never provide connection as powerful as human interaction. However, this connection comes at a cost; actually many costs. Above and beyond the simple outlay of money for booth space, shipping, labor, travel expenses, and even the dreaded drayage, the most valuable commodity in the world it the greatest commitment to this endeavor: time. And the time commitment begins far before we ever step on an airplane to begin the journey. It begins prior proper planning months in advance!
Speaking of Prior Proper Planning, I would like to make a suggestion to the powers that be who create these amazing opportunities for us to gather, share, and connect. More than a suggestion, I would like to BEG you, planners, please talk to each other! I realize that many factors go into deciding the perfect, most efficient and effective location and timing for your events. I respect that amount of time and energy dedicated to this pursuit. However, as in any successful business, the end-user must be considered. And simply put, us end-users (exhibitors and attendees) cannot be in two places at the same time. So please, check with each other to make sure your essential industry event is not scheduled to conflict with another essential industry event (SCAA and NAMA this April, NCA and Coffee Fest next March). If you need help finding the correct planning powers, we are happy to help. At the very minimum, check our industry calendar, available 24/7 at coffeetalk.com/industry-calendar, to see if there is a possible conflict. And let us know as soon as you have dates for future conferences so we may post to the world and allow other planners the opportunity to plan accordingly.
And this takes me to my final thought on this exciting time: priorities. I don’t know about you, but I can have the best intentions of prior proper planning; however without the priorities part, failure is guaranteed. Whatever you decide you spend your time on, you must calculate the opportunity cost of that decision, that cost being the things that are not happening as result of your time decision. Time at trade shows means time away from your to-do list. It means time away from your sales, or production, or consulting, or managing, or whatever essential other activities are required to succeed. And, as much as business success is a worthy goal for every entrepreneur, life success is the real victory. Life success means finding that balance between business and personal. It means realizing that as super-human, entrepreneurial rockstar, no matter who you are, you have exactly the same amount of the most precious commodity as the homeless person you see on the street. And in the end-game, prior proper planning means looking back at your decisions and thinking, yup, that is the result I was looking for. For me, that means I am excited to see you, my coffee family, at almost all of the upcoming shows! And during the NCA in March, think of me as I will be wet, cold, and loving my time with my son, brother, and friends rafting the Deschutes river. I hope to see you at many of the other shows this year.