Thursday, April 22, 2010

Important to attend the IRGA Convention in Palm Springs, CA in May

The other day, I received in my e-mail inbox an e-mail from Mike Cully, President of the IRGA. In that e-mail, Mike urges reprographers to attending this year's IRGA Convention, which will be held in Palm Springs, CA, May 19-21, 2010.

In his e-mail, Mike puts forth a David Letterman-like list of the "top 10 excuses" reprographers are giving (or, apparently, are thinking) for not attending this year's IRGA convention. You can see that list below, and my favorite is #10.

Excuses, excuses, excuses. Even if you feel you cannot afford to attend the full convention, consider attending one day, Thursday, including the networking reception in the evening.

I've mentioned this FACT in previous posts on my blog-site, but I want to mention, again, that the "networking experience" you get an an IRGA convention is INVALUABLE. That is not an opinion, that's a fact. Had I not attended IRGA conventions over the years, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that my career(s) in the reprographics industry would not have been as successful as they were. At IRGA Conventions, I've met many, many knowledgeable, influential and connected reprographers, and networking with those I met allowed me to form friendships, partnerships and industry related ventures. Take Mike Cully's advice, go out to the IRGA in Palm Springs in May.

10. "The damn economy." Everyone is hurting. This isn't going to last forever, so we need to prepare ourselves and 
our companies for what's next. Waiting this one out is not an option. You need to try something new. Get out of the weeds for a few days and see the bigger picture.

9. "Business is down, can't afford it." Times are tight for many of us, including myself. But can you afford NOT to attend? In the grand scheme of things, if the cost of attending the IRgA is prohibitive, you've probably waited too long to address your business' most pressing needs. All of us have spent money on some crazy things that didn't work out. Meeting with other business owners and getting insight is not one of them. 

8. "Have to hold down the fort." Are you really going to have as much of an impact on your business as you could have by attending the IRgA, speaking with other reprographers and vendors and learning some new ideas/approaches to leading your business? The fort will remain standing. Trust me. Let go so you can grow.

7. "It's too far and too expensive." A good round of golf and a few cocktails in the 19th hole takes about as long as it takes to get to Palm Springs from the East Coast. Trust me, I know! Flight, hotel room and other costs make it about $2,000 per person max. This is an investment in your business. The IRgA Convention is no longer a family vacation. It's a business meeting surrounded by really nice golf courses. You might want to play a round or two during the Golf Tournament and after the meeting. 

6. "I don't need the education." Regardless of your experience, this industry is constantly changing. You will never know it all..."WHEN YOU'RE THROUGH LEARNING, YOU'RE THROUGH."

5. "I'm going to Palm Springs, but only to attend my affinity meeting." By making this decision, you will miss an important part of the information needed to know what is really happening in the industry. The affinity organizations (ReproMAX, RSA and PEiR Group) are all holding meetings after the IRgA, as is ARC. These meetings are happening to save you a trip later in the year - to "kill two birds with one stone." Those who attend only the affinity meetings are taking advantage of the IRgA bringing the industry together. This is an opportunity for our industry to become less fragmented and more cohesive – at a time when it needs it the most.

4. "It's the same old, same old. Been there, done that." Yes, we have a loyal following, but did you know that 10-15% of attendees are first-timers? Vendors are constantly introducing new products, services and ideas to help your business grow. They are partners that can help you develop efficiencies and generate additional revenue. We're shakin' it up. Education sessions will be held on the trade show floor in smaller groups, vendors will be giving prizes. This IRgA will be unlike any you have ever attended. 

3. "The IRgA is history." If the IRgA is history, then our industry is history. Of course, our niche market has become smaller but it is growing more relevant, more sophisticated and more dynamic. Change is difficult but progress is good. It is up to us, as members of this industry, to take charge of our industry and our association. Nothing is larger than the industry. We need to stand up and protect our livelihoods, not stand on the sidelines and throw stones at each other. 

2. "Nobody I've talked to is going." The leaders of our industry will be there - those whose companies will be better off because of the ideas and changes they will make to their businesses as a result. Quality is better than quantity. The right people will be attending - I promise. 

1. "My spouse won't let me." Now you have a problem! 

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