No matter how long you have been in the business, benefits abound for everyone who attends the LCT-NLA Show East.
Many operators believe after 20 or more years in business they know everything about operations and could teach any of the classes. Nothing could be further from the truth. Twenty years ago, DOT laws differed. We took reservations on paper. Operators lacked GPS tracking and social media options like Facebook and Twitter. Now, we must change with industry trends. Conferences offer the opportunity to supercharge your business with new ideas, technology, and most importantly, compliance with labor laws and DOT laws.
Cited as the number one reason for not attending a trade show are concerns about who will run the business while you are away. Your staff should be cross-trained to perform your duties, so if you become ill or injured, your business can keep running. Show schedules are designed with breaks to allow you to return important business calls. If you are a one-man show, train a family member, friend or chauffeur to provide basic information about your company and take detailed messages. You can use call-forwarding to route your calls anywhere for the few days you are gone. You also can forward calls to your cell phone and pre-record a message stating that your company is involved in a training activity to improve the service you offer and calls will be returned soon.
Travel Plans & Budgets
The number two reason cited for not attending trade shows is the cost of travel, hotel and meals. Education and networking is vital to the success of your business and setting aside $100 a month for conferences should be considered an investment, not an expense. Most conferences, including LCT East, include lunch each day, and there are many hospitality mixers with food and free beverages provided by sponsors. Hotel rates are always negotiated for attendees and rooms are as low as $69 per night for LCT East. Start a savings account and make monthly or weekly deposits if you need to. The payoff of this savings account will be far greater than any interest the bank pays as you grow your business.
Plan Your Days Before You Arrive
Don’t show up at a conference without a plan. Choose goals in advance. Do you want to learn a better way of training your chauffeurs, or do you want to network with other operators and affiliate managers? Perhaps you need to be inspired by a keynote speaker. Make your own schedule based on your needs and the show agenda. Dress for success, but plan for comfort. Good shoes are a must for all the walking among classes, networking events and vast showroom floors.
Not A Vacation
While LCT conferences are held in exciting partytown places such as Las Vegas, Miami Beach and Atlantic City, you are not on a full-time vacation. Every day is a workday full of opportunities and options. If you get sidetracked gambling late into the night, catching a show or sleeping in, you will miss out. You should treat your conference visit as a business meeting instead of a recreational retreat.
Taking It Home
Once you get home, teach your staff what you have learned. Take notes or record sessions. Conference classes contain many handouts. Make copies and share with others so the company benefits. If you meet people during networking events who might help you develop your business, send them a follow-up email to remind them of who you are and your location. Put new ideas into practical use.