December '18

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74 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2018 I f you are like me, then sometime after the SEMA Show is over you sit back and wonder what you realistically want to do to change your business. Trade shows can be very exciting, sparking hundreds of ideas for changes you can make both personally and profes- sionally. What new products do you want to start selling? What new services do you want to start offering? Which manufac- turers do you want to do more business with, and which don't you care if you never hear from again? And what about social media, mobile websites, email marketing, videos, flash sales and even good, old car shows? It's a lot! It's easy to get excited and motivated to do many things to upgrade, improve and grow your business, yet when you get home and head back to work Monday morning it's often business as usual, with the explo- sive changes still on your mind but now on the back burner. So, how can you do better? How can you implement some changes, improvements or ideas into your business when you return from a trade show without taking too much time away from the day-to-day focus of running your shop? And how can you do these things without upsetting the cart with your employees and customers and quickly losing focus on your core business? Well, it isn't always easy, but there are some things that have worked for me and a few other shops that I know well. GATHERING INFORMATION It may seem obvious, but the first step is to collect ideas at the trade show. I realize inspi- ration doesn't always come on a schedule, but planning a professional approach to your time on the show floor can maximize exposure to the various opportunities that can help grow your business. Here's where many of my ideas come from: Education Programs The SEMA Show is a great place for learning—not just about products and builds, but also about how to run your business better. Zane Clark and his team do an amazing job of bringing in quali- fied professionals to speak on dozens of important topics. The majority of these classes are free to attendees and I highly recommend them. I will usually sit through at least four or five seminars during the week on topics I feel are most relevant to my business, and usually come away with at least 10 ideas. On the plane ride home, I like to make note of these ideas and prioritize them. Then I start working on a plan to take action once I get home (more on that below). Ten is a lot, so I start with just a couple and then go from there. Some ideas may go a whole year and then get reprioritized at the next show, so don't feel bad if this happens to you. There is only so much time and energy you can give to these ideas. Products & Services The SEMA Show is of course known for its product introductions. Again, I rec- ommend keeping a list of the products and services you may want to implement back home. The SEMA Show is over… now what? By Josh Poulson 74 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2018 Creating a Follow-Up Plan Trade shows are a great place to get inspired, but it takes hard work once you get back home to turn new ideas into reality.

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