From Tuesday, September 30th to Thursday, October 2nd, I had the opportunity to attend the PLR Expo. As expected, the organizers of the event, Anthony Martin, Kevin Dooley, and Dan Murray, delivered and provided a fantastic opportunity to network and learn. Here are the top 5 lessons I learned from the PLR Expo.
1. LIFELONG LEARNING
A major benefit of PLR is that it enables you to meet and learn from other peers in your industry. Sharing experiences and knowledge is essential to growing your business. Industry events like this are essential to personal self-development. In short, learning is a lifelong journey.
2. NETWORKING IS ESSENTIAL
The PLR is a tremendous event to meet others in your industry. It was a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with people whom I had past phone conversations with or just exchanged e-mails. Most importantly, PLR gave me an opportunity to meet and network with business owners whom I know will help our business grow and prosper.
3. MEET NEW SUPPLIERS
A big part of PLR is the opportunity to meet with existing and new suppliers. The industry is constantly changing and the opportunity to gather information and learn from other suppliers that service our industry is essential to business growth.
4. TECHNOLOGY IS ACCELERATING THE RATE OF CHANGE
One of the highlights of the PLR is the access to key note speakers, which in my view is worth the price of admission alone. During his discussion, Jim Carroll, one of the world’s leading global futurists, trends and innovation experts emphasized the need for restoration companies to embrace technology and adapt to the change. Some key points made by Carroll included the following:
a) Buildings are becoming more intelligent. For instance, thermostats are now connected to the internet. What impact will this have on the restoration industry?
b) Based on an audience poll, in 10 years the restoration industry will be significantly different.
c) The Ipod generation has a much different view of work. According to Carroll, 67% of new employees are already thinking of their next job. How will this affect the restoration industry?
d) Some people see a trend and see a threat, innovators see the trend and see an opportunity. In short, restoration contractors that adopt to new technologies will be ahead of the curve.
If anything, Carroll’s presentation made me think about the future and where our industry is headed. It will be exciting to see how new technologies will impact our industry and help restoration contractors better serve their customers.
5. IF YOU HAVE HUMAN RESOURCES ISSUES, YOU CAN NOT GROW YOUR BUSINESS IF YOU JUST SWEEP THE PROBLEMS AWAY!
One of the biggest complaints that many in our industry express is the difficulty in finding and keeping employees. The final key note speaker, Donald Cooper, provided an excellent presentation on the 8 essential steps to attracting, leading & keeping a top-performing team. In 2013, I had the opportunity to learn from Cooper and this year he delivered as well. Key lessons learned from Cooper’s presentation included the following:
–Clarity. According to Cooper, the only way to attract and keep talent is to know what you want. If you are not clear about your personal and business goals, then you will have no direction. A company with no direction will face major challenges in attracting and keeping talent.
–Identify and Take Ownership of Problems. In short, if you are facing HR issues in your business, it does not matter how big the broom you use, you can not just sweep the problems away! Taking ownership of the problems is essential to making positive change.
–Job Description. If you don’t have a written job description, then how can you effectively hire someone for that position? As Cooper stated, “Finding great staff is like looking for a needle in a haystack…But, it’s a lot easier to find the needle, if you know what the needle looks like!
–Recruiting is Essential. If you know what you are looking for in an employee, the next most important step is to have a recruitment plan. Cooper suggests that you first look within your organization and assess current staff and then look elsewhere. One of the key points Cooper made is that you need to be willing to hire people that know more than you do.
–Interview. Common sense, right? Actually, according to Cooper, this is one of the most important steps to finding great staff. Asking the right questions is not only important, but essential. But don’t stop there, you also must test candidates on their abilities by creating work scenarios. Make sure you check references and be sure to ensure the potential candidate understands your corporate values and standards.
–Introduction, Training, and Ongoing communication. Once an employee is hired you not only need to provide training, but ensure that your new hire understands your corporate history, vision, and values.
–Empower Staff. Great organizations have staff who are empowered and accountable for their actions. Micro-managing staff will hinder corporate growth. In short, hire great people, train and communicate with them, support and encourage them, give them the tools for success and let them take ownership of their jobs.
–Celebrate Achievement. Perhaps the most important step is to acknowledge and reward top contributors and encourage poor performers to move on and transition out of the business.
The PLR organizers did an excellent job in not only bringing Cooper to the Expo to give a presentation, but also with their planning of allowing Lori Coruccini, of Know Your Talents to follow up Cooper’s discussion. Lori’s presentation touched on many of Cooper’s key points but she also demonstrated how her behavioral assessment system can better prepare companies to deal with the many diverse personalities that make a business successful. Her presentation was both fascinating and very educational.
The PLR Expo was a great event and bottom line tons of fun. It was a great learning experience and I certainly plan to attend next year and encourage all restoration contractors that want to grow their businesses to plan on attending as well. The organizing committee did an excellent job at bringing on sponsors who made the event even more successful. Kudos to the organizing committee, sponsors, and the men and women I met at the show. I look forward to seeing you again next year. 🙂
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