At the Craft & Hobby Association Show in Chicago in July, I’ll be taking part in two of what to me are the most important parts of the event.
First, I’ll be taking part in the education program as a speaker. I firmly believe that events like CHA offer industry professionals an unparalleled opportunity to learn skills that will improve their businesses. I always try to attend part of the education program, and am proud to be part of presenting it in Chicago.
I’ll be leading the panel on Press Relations for Manufacturers: Working with Different Types of Press (Wednesday, 11am). In addition, I’ll be available to help small businesses in the industry tailor their press relations plans (or create one) as part of CHA’s expert consulting series on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Press relations are an important tool for businesses of all sizes. Making the best possible use of relations with the press can be a huge advantage for a company. Getting your message out through the press is a great way to stretch marketing dollars, and also to lend credibility to your marketing message. CHA is a great place to learn how to do just that, tailored to your type of business!
The other important thing I’ll be taking part in – which can also only be accomplished by being there – is networking. Reading about products online, visits from company reps, or even phone calls with company executives cannot replace the experience of walking the show floor. I’ll shake hands with new people and cement existing relationships. Casual conversations that start out without a purpose will suddenly develop one. A friend-of-a-friend will become a friend – and then a business associate.
Why is all of this so important? Business in our industry is built on relationships. Survival in our industry is becoming increasingly dependent on cooperation between companies. If you want to make ambitious things happen, you need to know other people to work with to make them happen. Building a network of solid relationships can only happen face-to-face. That’s an important function of an event like CHA, and it shouldn’t only take place during the hours that the show floor is open. Morning, noon and night there are opportunities to spend time with people and build relationships. You never know what you might learn, or what you might discover that you can build with someone that will be bigger than the two of you alone. To me, it’s one of the best parts of the show.
I look forward to seeing many old friends in Chicago – and making many new ones! See you all on the 26th!
Editor, Scrapbook Update