ICS Magazine

Finding Your Golden Nugget: The Value of Events

November 22, 2011


The Golden Nugget: a nostalgic picture of the Las Vegas of times past. Recently I was at Connections, and I brought my wife and two of my managers with me. I got a text from one of them: I just got my golden nugget.

 Have you heard that if you take away just one thing from an event, it’s made the entire trip worthwhile?

I believe this, but only if you actually leverage that one thing and actually implement it. Remember that the No. 1 reason business owners don’t grow or do as well as they could is F.T.I. (Failure To Implement). You go to an event and get that “golden nugget” that really can make a difference in your business, but you fail to execute the plan.

Now that doesn’t mean that the event was a total waste. “Failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday really did end last night” as my mentor Zig Ziglar likes to say.

The fact is that a live industry event can deliver that one thing that can make a difference in your business. Of course, success isn’t about just one thing, but finally coming to a decision to do something (maybe even something you know you should be doing and aren’t) can have a huge impact.

Maybe attending an event will be the final push you need to decide to begin up-selling consistently, or maintaining an e-mail newsletter, or to finally start mailing to your clients. Or perhaps you finally get over the fear of hiring your first employee because you had a breakthrough conversation with someone successful in that area.

The idea here is “breakthrough.” The golden nugget is that small, but incredibly valuable, thing that appreciates over time if you implement it.

Benefits of Attending Industry Events

The aforementioned Golden Nugget. Recently I was elected to the Board of Directors of the World Floor Covering Association, and CEO Chris Davis and I were chatting at the board meeting. It was there that he reminded me that you also learn the things “not to do” that could really bite you and cost you a lot of money.

Work on the business. Most small-business owners don’t take the time to get out of the everyday pressure-cooker of life to work “on” the business. Going to an event is a perfect time to do that. I know, I know, it’s also a good time to party, but your business is the vehicle you have chosen to provide your ideal lifestyle, so take it seriously. Have fun, but make money too.

Relationships. Speaking of working “on” the business, Connections was where I first met Michael Gerber. It’s where I also met Ellen Rohr, who has become one of my best buds in training. Recently I was at an event where I got to meet John C. Maxwell, the No. 1 leadership expert in the world. Now I am coaching with his organization. Industry events are great places to connect with industry leaders.

I know many people who attend events because they just want to connect with old friends. I am very grateful for the relationships I have made in our industry.

Build community with staff. When I travel for events, I always like to take one of my staff members, coaches or colleagues with me because it gives us a great time to spend time together brain-storming and having fun. It builds a sense of community. I was grinding my coffee in the living room of my suite in Las Vegas and could overhear my two managers joking around and getting excited about what the ideas they were throwing around. It really warmed my heart.

Some business owners resist investing money in training employees or sending them to events. I have found it to be one of the most powerful things for my business, because it gives them vision and makes them more valuable to your organization.

“But what if they quit?” you might ask. Well, to quote ol’ Zig again, “Is it better to train them and lose them, or not train them and keep them?”

Emotional experiences. Many people don’t attend events because they figure they can just read a manual, or pull up the “information” online. What they overlook is the biggest reason events have an impact. Learning in an upbeat, exciting environment heightens your emotional receptors. When you have an emotional experience, you are much more likely to accept the idea, more likely to remember it, and more likely to implement it. Why? Because it’s more than just information. You were touched.

I remember sitting with my good friend Neil Atkinson listening to Michael Gerber speaking at Connections a few years ago. After the 90 minute presentation was over, Neil turned to me and said, “I get it!” Since then his business has continually improved. So attend as many live events as you can, and meet, speak with and listen to as many of your peers and industry leaders as possible. One of the biggest factors in my success has been learning from others who have already done what I want to do. 

One of my members, Ryan Drahota, attended a one-day workshop that had a session that included the Wheel of Life. He looked at the “Physical” spoke on the wheel and decided right then and there he was going to do something about it. The result? He lost 50 pounds and, by the time you read this, will have run a marathon!

Yes, I would say that events have value. Plan to attend one today.