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Really? You Missed It?

It's amazing how easily we get busy. Busy with what's going on in our personal life. Busy with what's going on in our work life. Given a choice, it's better busy than bored for me! That being said, if you're like I am, there finally comes a point where we step back and say, "We can't do it all." I reached that point last year and decided to skip one of our sewing conventions. It saved me a few days time, but our store paid for it later when customers were asking about product I didn't know existed... Product introduced at the convention I decided not to attend…

Missing this year's VDTA•SDTA Trade Show and Convention could have easily been the same. Between the demands of keeping an active store going, a teenage daughter, and volunteer activities, we keep ourselves pretty well booked. After attending a lot of conventions over the years, it's easy to say, "Let's not go to this one."

Looking back, missing this year's VDTA•SDTA Convention would have been a huge mistake. The show is like a Disneyland for store owners and staff. In addition to all the new, futuristic product at the show, there are opportunities for adding new product to your store's retail selection and profit to your bottom line. The VDTA•SDTA Convention is also the event that many manufacturers use for introducing new programs to our industry. Again, more profit opportunities.

Then there's the seminars. This year's seminars were nothing short of amazing. After being in business for many years, we sometimes have a tendency to think, "We have this down" and, "There's not much more I can learn." I can assure you, nothing is further from the truth. If our stores don't change with the way our industry is changing, it's just a matter of time before we go the way of the dinosaur.

There were many great seminars but my favorites this year were the panel/roundtable seminars. Many also had question and answer sessions. The Sewing Industry's Executive Forum featured the people in charge of our sewing vendors, and these panelists provided the 40,000 foot view of what's happening in our industry today and what they see coming to sewing stores in the future. The Everything Has Changed vacuum and floorcare dealer panel featured several up-and-coming dealers who supplied all of us with fresh new ideas in marketing. Remember, if we don't change with the times, we'll become extinct in a few years!

Vacuum dealers also loved the Vacuum Dealers Town Hall Meeting hosted by Blaine Austin of Allbrands.com, where panelists and attendees discussed best practices in our industry. Of course we can't forget The Powerhouse by Dealers for Dealers. This roundtable-style seminar featured veteran dealers who gave valuable insight and tips on succeeding in the sewing industry. There were several other great seminars as well that introduced lots of great ideas. Where else but the VDTA•SDTA Convention can you have dealers and industry-leading suppliers get together to discuss our future, keeping it fun and making it profitable for all?

One theme seemed to resound in all the seminars. That was social media and the need to get involved with marketing your business through social media. While I admit I was not the first to embrace this change, I know enough to try new things. For the last 3 years, we have had a media company doing our social media marketing. Attending this year's seminars convinced me of the need to take social media marketing to the next level with our present customers and potential new customers.

It's also relevant to remember that not everyone is into social media; we mustn't forget about other media. For us, successful marketing with other media is with radio and newspaper, but we are being a lot more selective these days on how we spend those dollars.

Have you seen and touched our industry's new products of the year? Do you know what new products are coming in the next year? How about promoting your business? Do you know what's working and what's not? Are you just winging it? Business success can be very elusive.

I almost forgot to mention saving money. Many of the deals you'll get at the convention are only good if you attend. Other deals are first come, first serve. You may not even know that you missed the best deal of the year by not attending the show.

Join us at next year's VDTA•SDTA Trade Show and Convention. You'll see lots of new product, learn new things, and be able to better target your marketing resources.

The 2018 VDTA•SDTA Trade Show and Convention will be March 24-26 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte is a walking-friendly city with lots of great food and entertainment venues. There will be factory tours by some of our industries' leading vendors. And the March 23 VDTA•SDTA Cocktail Reception will be held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Charlotte has something for everyone! Join us for the learning. Join us for the fun. Join us for added profits in your business!

Jim BarnhardtSee you in Charlotte!
Jim


REMINDER! In the February issue of the VDTA•SDTA News, I talked about giving back to your community. Since then, I have heard great stories of community involvement. I know there's plenty of sewing and vacuum dealers working on community projects. If you are one of those special people please, drop me an e-mail or a link to your website or Facebook page. We want to know how you're making this world a better place because you were here!

E-mail your individual or store charitable efforts and ideas to jimbarnhardt@msn.com

Reprinted from Floor Care & Central Vac Professional & SQE Professional, April 2017