How do you choose what’s right for you? We all have many different choices throughout the days, months and years of our lives. Our days are ever changing, how do you know what choice to make and if it’s the right one for you and your business? There are always ways to improve, areas to implement automations, processes to put in place, equipment to upgrade, you name it. You surround yourself with the best people to help you become the best version of yourself and…if I’m being honest, it can be overwhelming at times. You hear about all the ideas, you go to conventions and partake in mastermind groups, you listen to your peers who are in your shoes, with the same problems, yet… at the end of the day it can be hard to know which decision to make, to produce the results you need. So, how do you decide??
I remember first hearing about the “clean” shows. It was like an unknown world. I’ve heard of people attending, in passing conversations, but nothing specific. Up until this time I remember thinking the shows must be invite-only or way too far or way too much money. So, I never attended one. Until 2019… Finally. There are multiple lessons learned from attending the Clean Show. Which, we will discuss a little later in this article. Back to the show… before I went, there were so many things that, I was telling myself like: you can skip this one and “go to the next show.” Thank goodness I didn’t listen to those voices inside my head, because that was now, over 3 years ago and to this day it is still one of the most exciting things I have been able to experience in my professional life. The number of different machines, systems, speakers, resources and automation you get to observe is beautifully overwhelming. Remember when I said in hindsight it would have been easy for me to say “next year,” here’s the first reason. I was only able to attend the Clean Show for seven hours. That’s it. I flew in early morning, and out late the same night. Not ideal, right? But I was determined. I held off for too long… I couldn’t wait two more years to pass until the next (I thought it would only be two years). Still, I learned so much in a mere seven hours. I attended specifically to look at a heat seal machine. We needed to improve the labeling and what better way to research what’s out there, than in person, at the “Disneyland” of Dry Cleaning? Reason number two…the look on the gentlemen’s faces when I said I travelled from Buffalo, NY to check out these heat seal machines, was priceless. Why? Because they were manufactured less than 3 hours away from where I live. I am glad that I did not know this then, because again… I would have said “next show.”
Now, if you’re thinking about attending the Clean Show or are on the fence about bringing another team member with you… here is my unsolicited advice. Do it! I know employment is tough, I know there are legitimate reasons that make it more difficult… and, it will be worth it. I promise you. Biggest tip: Before you go… plan. Look at what areas you anticipate focusing on in the upcoming years, visit the Clean Show website, checkout the floor plan (and visit booth 4330), check out which speakers you would like to hear (Saturday 1 p.m. ehhem) and plan your visit. Leave time for some down time. Our brains are like a sponge and will soak up so much information.
You may be asking yourself… ok, what does any of this have to do with knowing what choice is right for you? It comes full circle. There are so many options we all have, and you may hear differences about certain topics. So, how do you come to choose what’s right for you and your company, that will produce the results you need? Ask. When you’re at the show, ask other industry leaders about their success stories or lessons learned. We are all in the same place at the same time! The amount of knowledge is exponential. Take advantage of it. Don’t be intimidated… embrace it. Then, when you get back to your business, review what you’ve seen, learned and heard… then implement. Listen to your gut, understand your region and go! When you are going through this process, resist the urge to feel overwhelmed. You can review what you’ve learned by topics, or department, over (a short) amount of time and with a clear head. I think we can all agree that when we try to eat an elephant all at once, we do not succeed. Take one step at a time and then implement.
My last piece of unsolicited advice, if you’re still reading this article and you are the owner or leader of your company… I urge you to share this (and any article about our industry for that matter) with ALL of your team members. There is a massive industry filled with amazing information that a lot of our team members know nothing about. Talk about improving your culture, this is one of the best ways to do it. We say educated customers are our best customers. This is also true with our team members. Share the Cleaner & Launderer publications with them… in my experience, team members love it and feel more included in the bigger picture. If you are a team member reading this article… thank your leader. Because not everyone shares the knowledge that’s out there. Share the information you learn with your other team members. Because, a rising tide raises all ships.