Turf Magazine - October, 2012

FEATURES

End of the Season; Now What?

Sponsored by U.S. Lawns
By Paul Wolbert

Whew! What a business year we have had. We have learned a lot as we worked through the year. I am sure that a number of us have asked ourselves numerous questions throughout the year on how we could have done things differently or better. One of the surest answers to a lot of our questions would be around utilizing the latest technology and education within our industry. Believe me when I say a lot has changed within the last year.

Maybe it is time to reach out into the industry and continue our education through trade shows and classes. The benefits of attending trade shows allows us to combine learning and hands-on experience about the changes. To get the maximum of attending a trade show, we need to look at six areas.

Six parts of a trade show

1. Technology: Most companies exhibiting at a trade show feature the latest and greatest technology or services to attract prospects. A trade show allows attendees to see the latest offerings in one place without the need for lengthy research or travel. Just think about how your business can benefit from the use of technology.

2. Comparing vendors: Is there a more cost-effective and fun way for attendees to compare the various offerings among vendors and interact with exhibitors to find out how their products or services stack up with their competitors? You will hear the latest from both the exhibitor and from other attendees. This can be valuable input as you make purchasing decisions for the coming seasons. And, don't forget that deals can be made at the show.

3. Networking: An industry trade show allows attendees to network with peers. Again, there's no better way to find out the real facts about products, services or trends within the industry. Remember to listen carefully and contribute to the conversations; you could discover a business friend. It is great to talk to peers from time to time.


Attending a trade show and education classes during your off-season gives you a chance to network with your peers to find out the latest and greatest technology and equipment out there.
PHOTO BY PHILIPPE NOBILE PHOTOGRAPHY.

4. Job search: If you're looking for employment, attending a trade show allows you to make an impact personally with employers on a different level. Face-to-face time spent at a potential employer's booth can be more effective than simply sending a resume.

5. Competitors: Attending a trade show is an excellent way to keep track of what your competitors are doing within the market.

6. Education: Some of the most important parts of a successful trade show are the in-depth talks and forums on the hottest issues and topics affecting our industry. A trade show is an excellent venue to take some classes facilitated by some of the best people within the industry. This should be one of the biggest things you take away from attending.

Now what

The trade show is over and you are back at your office. This would be a perfect time to get caught up on the things you missed. Remember, you went to the show to change how your business was operating. So now you need to identify if your objectives were met and if the trade show has had a positive long-term effect for you and your business. Follow up with any vendors or new contacts that you made at the show. Empty out the bag or bags of literature that you collected. Don't wait for the phone to ring on your end. The key is to be proactive. Remember you need to implement the things you learned, secure the services you need and train your staff. The goal is to be ahead of the curve! Get out and see what's happening, have some fun and make a new business friend!

With more than 30 years of experience in franchising, sales and business operations, Paul Wolbert knows franchising like the back of his hand. He helps potential new franchisees make their decision to come into the market, and his in-depth knowledge of the green industry allows him to keep the U.S. Lawns marketing plan on target for franchisees' growth and for all divisions of U.S. Lawn's business to thrive in any economy. He has helped build the U.S. Lawn business to where it is today.