The importance of interacting in a live face-to-face setting with others from the Christian product industry community cannot be underestimated. In an online-driven economy for both information and business transactions, human-to-human connections are more important than ever. Interacting with a person live is different and invaluable.
While many of us acknowledge that there is power in being connected to other people who are active in the same industry, we often still easily find reasons not to attend the annual convention. The needs of running a business are endless, and taking a few days away can seem like it’s not the best use of time. However, attending UNITE may be just the thing to reinvigorate you and grow your business.
At CBA, we pay extra special attention to the needs of those in the industry, and we prioritize planning a program and opportunities that will be beneficial and practical for you. Additionally, we understand that the conversations with peers are one of the most valuable parts of attending CBA’s annual convention. While not on the agenda or in the program, the in-person conversations can often bring major ROI to your time at UNITE.
UNITE is not about CBA. It’s about the Christian products industry. It’s about offering you the business transactions as well as the personal networking opportunities that will benefit you. Part of offering UNITE year after year is our desire to ensure you have the support you need both in practical solutions as well as the peer-to-peer interactions.
According to Thom Singer, author of ten books on the power of business relationships, here are five reasons to attend your industry conference:
- Educational opportunities. No matter how experienced you are at your business, everyone can learn. Working in a small business venture can often be isolating, and without exposure to a variety of points of view, we can miss new ideas and trends that can impact future results. The educational aspect of a conference can expose you to new ways of conducting your business and help you discover how to be more productive.
- Networking with peers. Industry conferences provide a great opportunity to network. Often competitors from other regions of the country can become valuable resources for referrals and best-practices. Avoiding peers for fear of others discovering your competitive advantage can actually limit your own success. Collaboration is the way to approach networking. While there are those whose intentions can be suspect, most people can help each other uncover ideas and spark inspiration when they get to know each other on a personal level.
- Encounter new vendors and suppliers. Too often people shy away from the trade show exhibit hall at conferences. They fear that they will have to talk to salespeople, but these industry suppliers are some of the best people for you to get to know if you want to learn more about the current business climate. Discovering innovative products and services for your business is necessary to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced world. Plus, these vendors who sell to your industry fully grasp what is happening inside your competition. Invest time with the sponsors at the event and turn them into your friends and allies.
- Position yourself as an expert. When you are active in your industry, you can develop a reputation as an expert to your peers and your clients. Those who are engaged over the long term are often asked to speak at the events and to write articles for their industry publications. Like it or not, others like to associate with the experts in any industry. Clients feel good about doing business with those that are celebrated by their peers. If your strategy is to be the best-kept secret in your business community, you will be missing a valuable opportunity.
- Have fun. Being in business should be rewarding and fun. All work and no play can get old fast. Industry conferences can add a layer of enjoyment to managing your career growth by mixing a social aspect into your learning and industry branding efforts. Never underestimate the power of a little fun mixed with some interesting people!