Friday, March 16, 2012
World Class Networking On the Cheap
By Howard Brickman
It is less than four weeks till the start of this year’s NWFA annual convention. It looks like it will be an improved effort. Truth be told, in spite of all of the whistling past the graveyard from the economists, there is still plenty of room for improvement in the construction business. But here are some things to think about...
More on both of these:
- This is a major opportunity to do some world-class networking at the major wood floor event of the year.
- You can attend from the Eastern half of the U.S. for less than $1,000.
Make a list of the manufacturers that you want to get to know. All relationships in business are personal. The more quality relationships you have, the greater your resistance to stresses that naturally occur. If you have preferred brands of wood flooring, finishes, sanding machines, and adhesives, get to know the people who distribute and make them. Otherwise, you are not going to have a chance to get to know the manufacturers who aren’t local. The annual convention is your big opportunity to make and maintain personal connections. If you are good at what you do and a manufacturer needs to give a referral in your area, they are going to call people they know and trust. So plan your time carefully and then try to follow your plan.
NWFA Convention on the Cheap
If you are taking your “main squeeze” to the convention, please disregard the following advice. But if your trip is going to be strictly business, there are a number of ways to reduce your travel expenses. Buy your plane tickets early and be flexible with travel dates and departure times. I just purchased my tickets on Southwest to Orlando from Boston for $345 round-trip. With gas at $4/gallon, I figured the break-even distance for one person to drive to Orlando at 750 miles. If you can carpool, the distance increases for each additional passenger. I am returning home early on Thursday morning to save $125 on my return airfare, plus $95 on my hotel room. Yes. That’s right, $95/night. It’s always better to stay at the main convention hotel. But by the time taxes and other fees were added, the Gaylord was going to be $250/night. I found a Hampton Inn that is a total of $270 for all three nights. And a rental car for $105, plus gas.
Again, it is always better to do the full registration for the convention, but if your budget is really tight, consider the exhibits-only option at a cost of $25 for non-members and $0 for NWFA members. So far the grand total is $828 ($325 + $278 + $105 + $120 = $828). Every penny you spend is a penny of profit that won’t be there at the end of the year.
I look forward to seeing you all at this year’s Wood Flooring Expo. Have a safe and thrifty journey.