Are you running in place?
Last month we exhibited at the National Restaurant Association Show at McCormick Place in Chicago. We exhibited several years ago and I promised myself we wouldn’t do it again. We were clustered with other franchisors in the back, in what appeared to be an afterthought location. Believe me, the return on our investment did not warrant a return to Chicago. But, my friends at Franchise Times—National Sales Director, Kevin Pietsch; Executive Editor, Nancy Weingartner; and Publisher, Mary Jo Larson—convinced me that the franchise booths would be in a high traffic setting and that we would have an opportunity to reach quality franchise prospects. Well, hats off to Franchise Times for partnering with the NRA. They delivered on their promise—we’ll be back. Over the four days, I attended several franchise workshops. After one of the sessions, a panelist who I know well asked, “Greg why would you bother to attend this discussion when the topic is one you probably mastered twenty years ago?” His question caught me off guard. I wasn’t there because it was free, or because it gave me a chance to sit down after being on my feet for several hours at the booth. I was there because when franchise people meet and exchange information, I always learn something. I’m not trying to pat myself on the back here. Franchising is an evolving business—more so than ever, it seems—if you want to get ahead, you have to stay current on where we are going as an industry. And even if the information isn’t new, I’m reminded of some things I’ve forgotten, or it reinforces some things I already know. Now I don’t subscribe to the lethal adage: “You are either learning and growing or you are dying.” That’s a little harsh, don’t you think? A less threatening piece of advice might be: “If you are satisfied running in place, you are sure to be passed.” The next time you attend an industry trade show, participate in a workshop, and keep moving forward.