Why you simply must get out to a seminar or trade show once in a while.
I think most of us would agree, it is tough to get away from the job for any reason, so to get away for a few days to attend a seminar often times seems simply impossible. After all it is not an urgent priority, right? Nothing is going to break if you don’t get to a darn seminar.
Well, if this describes you of late, listen up. If you want to stay energized and excited about your business, sometimes you just have to get away from it for a few days to re-focus and re-charge. If you are not taking time on a regular basis to get out of the shop to see a trade show (as an attendee, not working it!) or take in a seminar, you may be stagnating and not even realize it.
Recently 25 pond builders gathered at Eric Triplett’s Exotic Aquatics facility in Redlands, California to do just that, and from all appearances, they got their money’s worth. The event featured a day of classroom style presentations and discussions, then two days on a pond build, where the group built a beautiful hybrid koi pond.
Eric got things heated up quickly by challenging the group to think globally about the business they were in. We all have a tendency to limit our thinking to what we already know, and be totally blind to other alternatives and opportunities that are around us every day. He described what a tremendous impact getting to know Kent Wallace of Living Water Solutions, Las Vegas Nevada has had on his business model. (They originally connected at a seminar – Pondapalooza.)
Kent builds only koi ponds, and Eric built primarily water garden style ponds, (what he calls eco-ponds), so they personified the traditional extremes of pond construction philosophies in today’s marketplace. At the 2007 Pondapalooza in Savana Georgia, they were teamed up to build a koi pond as part of the event. How was this going to work? Well, as luck would have it, when they started planning the design and construction of the pond they hit it off. They each let their guards down, got creative, and ended up having a lot of fun and forged a strong friendship and a new business alliance in the process.
Eric took the perspective early on that he was going to use the opportunity to learn what all the fuss was about, with traditional koi pond construction. To do this he spent many hours leading up to the pond build on the phone with Kent to learn as much as he could about why koi pond builders do the things they do.
This was not a one-way conversation however. Throughout the planning, construction and subsequent work with Eric, Kent had the opportunity to experience a great deal about what have become traditional water garden design techniques. Their interchange of ideas has been a clear win for both Eric and Kent, but also for a growing number of other pond builders who are now reaping the benefits of this teaming up and cross fertilization of ideas, techniques and technologies.
Eric now confidently offers four distinct varieties of ponds to his prospective customers – the peaceful calm of the serene, still-water, water garden; the bustling life of the eco-pond; the majesty of a pure koi pond; plus a fourth option which is a hybrid of the eco-pond and the koi pond concepts.
At the seminar, Kent noted the many efficiencies that have been developed in the water garden pond business over the past decade. His exposure to this technology has lead to his development of a number of new custom devices, filters, fittings and gadgets to make the construction process even simpler and cleaner for the pond builder. Kent has a full machine shop, and is a chronic tinkerer.
This all started because they got involved with a seminar. Remember, these kinds of events are where you get a chance to relax and talk to your peers in a way that you simply cannot duplicate any other way. You are not under the pressure to get a pond in, so you can explore new ideas, challenge your believe systems, and expand your capabilities. In other words, grow your brain.
So as you read and hear about seminars, training sessions, pond builds or shows, do yourself and your business a favor, and get out of the office for a few days. You will almost certainly come back with new ideas, and re-discovered enthusiasm, to say nothing of a whole lot of new best friends to boot.