By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
I’d like to start by saying Happy Holidays to you all. Next month is the start of many things to be excited about — a new year, new sales opportunities and clients, and many trade shows. January is packed with CES, Design Construction Week, World Market, and TISE, to name a few events.
A few years ago, I received an email form the NKBA presenting ways to make the most out of attending KBIS. In my opinion, the tips they shared are great advice for every show you attend next year. Here is a summary of those suggestions:
• Make a plan. Whether it’s your first year at the show or you’re into double-
digits, goal setting can help you plan your time on and off the trade show floor. Align with your 2020 business objectives to determine which seminars and courses to attend, and which booths to visit. It’s impossible to do it all.
• Arrive early. Maximize the trip by building in time for professional development during your time there. Many of the shows are offering excellent courses to help you gain knowledge and grow your business.
• Come ready to network. Networking is a huge part of the experience; prepare to make the most of it. Research businesses in other parts of the country that are complementary to yours, whether it’s a potential partner, vendor, or client. The shows offer many opportunities for networking. Take advantage. The research you do upfront will help you make the most of your meetings, accelerate your relationships and make the connections more effective.
I’ve already started planning for January—have you? If not, you can start by visiting the various show websites to download full event schedules and show maps. This looks to be a great year for our industry.
On a side note, we will be celebrating our 30th year as The Retail Observer and our 50th since the inception of the first stage of our magazine as The Northern California Retailer. We are very proud of this accomplishment and I’d like to thank our team for reaching this milestone.
By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
With the holiday season in full swing, let’s hope we can find time for a break to reflect on how much we’ve accomplished this year and start planning for 2020. I have friends who do this very deliberately at every year’s end. They’ll go somewhere warm near the ocean to review the past year’s performance and adjust for what’s coming for their businesses, themselves, and their families.
Okay, I understand that time away from your business can seem more stressful than it's worth. I’m not suggesting you hop on a plane and take off for Costa Rica and spend all your time lying in the sand – although, hey, not a bad idea. I’m talking about a long weekend break to let yourself and your team get a little R&R and maybe do some important planning.
A nice spot doesn’t need to be expensive. You can rent a local beach house or cabin for 3 or 4 days at winter rates. Start the morning with a nice breakfast, and maybe a walk a few miles to clear your head. Plan to spend 4 or 5 hours a day on your agenda. Break for lunch, and at day’s end leave all work talk and thoughts behind until tomorrow. This routine will allow you and your team to clear your heads and start fresh in the morning.
During your planning time, go over each area of the business and identify what’s working and what might have to change. Target some problem areas and discuss possible solutions. Review the year’s accounting reports and results from your company’s sales and promotions. Leave room for a brainstorming session where everyone can add any new ideas, including ideas for out-of-the- box promotions.
Yes, you might not get every question answered and every problem solved, but the time away will help you come up with fresh ideas for the new year. I’ve found during the business retreats I’ve attended that the scheduled time away was invaluable for the company and my own frame of mind and well-being.