I have visited so many exhibitions that I no longer want to count them — who wants to be reminded of getting older? And I have made the same mistake over and over again: I attend with a general (vague) idea that when I am there things will develop by themselves. It usually worked well enough, leaving me enough time to improvise and develop my business, but now I have a much better plan. I call it the 3×3 Exhibition Rule.
Let me explain. Apart from meeting with old contacts, friends and co-workers, visiting with prescheduled appointments, and walking about the grounds for the nth time, I want to accomplish three goals. For example, let us take EuroTier 2018, which is just a week away. Here is my 3×3 “shopping” list.
- Make three new important contacts. I am not looking for new clients anymore, but for people who will be either an inspiration, a source for possible collaboration or a point of information. In general, people who are better than me and can help me get there, too.
- Find three new products/services. Again, not necessarily for my own business, but perhaps for a new future project if current ones go astray. More importantly, something that has an undervalue that can be useful to one of my existing customers.
- Drop three current projects. We are all overwhelmed with things to do, or we have too many products/services we offer. I want to find out if there is enough competition to withdraw from beaten-up projects and find new, challenging ones.
So, here you have it. My general 3×3 Exhibition Rule that helps me focus on the future, apart from everything else. Because he or she who does not move forward, remains behind.