Our great contributing editor Kristen Hampshire put together some strategies for contractors to get the most out of a conference or trade show after they get back home. After all, a few days out of the office is nice and all, but the idea of heading to a national or regional event is to bring back some knowledge or tactics or ideas that you can actually use in your company.
So, as the industry gears up for the trade show season, here are some of those ideas:
Conferences, trade shows and small-group meetings with industry peers can become a huge brain dump. You’ll take notes on more ideas than you can count. With your motivation and mojo for the business completely stoked, you head back to the office – and deal with the daily fires.
Sound familiar? All of those great ideas are filed away for “later.” The problem is, that time to implement never comes. John Rennels, president, A Plus Lawn and Landscaping, knows the feeling. “You get bombarded with ideas,” he says. “Your list is so overwhelming that you do nothing.”
There’s a constructive way to deal with that list of 50 things so you actually take action on ideas that will better your business. “Boil your ideas down to three or five action items,” Rennels suggests as a starter. “Work through them one at a time.”
Prioritize the ideas. Go through your notes and decide which ideas could be implemented in the short-term, and which are more visionary, long-term concepts. From there, choose a few ideas you’d like to implement right away.
Ask for feedback. Consult with trusted advisers, whether industry peers or an informal board – talk to your banker, accountant, fellow managers. Gather their input on the priorities you selected. How feasible are they to implement? What must be done to take action? “Evaluate those ideas and decide which ones will have the biggest impact right now,” Rennels says.
Set some deadlines. By sharing your ideas with others, you create a system of accountability. Ask those individuals to hold you to your promise to implement the ideas, and set a timeline. “Perhaps you meet with them regularly in person or over the phone to discuss your progress,” Rennels says.
Watch for your November issue in the next couple of weeks to learn more about how Rennels and other contractors make the most of their time away from their companies.