There’s Getting in the Giving!

I had the opportunity to speak last week at a software user’s conference. I approach these opportunities with the thought what can I learn? The concept is simple I know what I know but may not know what you know. If I can walk away from one these conferences with one of two fresh ideas that I can implement then it was a success. I attended the presentations of four other speakers and was overwhelmed with great ideas. As one woman at the conference put it, “I feel I’m at the open end of a fire hose being drenched with good stuff”. It’s Monday morning and I have already implemented one of the ideas on search engine optimization. But the real takeaway for those two days was being able to mingle with a great cross section of independent retailers. As a group these businesses have been battered over the last four years. In some cases there sales have dropped over 20% during that span. They have been affected by the recession, the inability the get bank financing and consumers looking for the lowest prices to name just a few issues they faced.  In spite of all those obstacles they remain a resilient, resourceful and creative group. They have though a dogged survival instinct to remain in business and in some cases actually grow. They took two days out their schedules and spent the time and money to attend a conference and more importantly share their experiences. I’ve never lost faith in the resolve of the independent retailer as one the backbones of the U.S. economy. These guys put their money where their mouth in the face of daunting odds. I want to thank you for sharing your stories. Also, kudos to the software Var who organized the conference and the other speakers who provided some great and informative content.  I for one as an attendee was better for the experience and “the getting was truly in the giving”. Remember you only have to leave with one or two ideas that you can execute to consider the conference a success.  I hope you all have a successful remainder of the year.