Magazine article Black Enterprise

Smart Convention Planning

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Smart Convention Planning

Article excerpt

In today's "ASAP" business climate, time is money. And how well you manage yours can spell success or failure for your project or enterprise. The start of a new year brings with it a sense of optimism and incentive for change, renewal and reevaluating existing goals. Effective strategic planning, necessary for organizing and maximizing your business potential, includes making optimum use of every professional, social and civic alliance possible. Drafting a long-term convention and networking calendar is a step in the right direction and should top every businessperson's New Year's resolution list.

"Because I didn't use foresight in coordinating my networking schedule, functioning from day-to-day made me miss out on more business opportunities than I care to count," says Marie T. Smith, president of MTS Enterprises, a Queens, N.Y., apparel and accessories distributorship. Her experience exemplifies a networking problem faced by many businesspeople. Too often, professionals miss critical business and networking connections because they hear about them too late, have scheduling or budgetary conflicts, or simply because they never knew about them. The culprit? Most often poor planning. However, you don't have to miss out on opportunity-enhancing events because your schedule is tight.

Done far enough in advance, an agenda of events you'd like to attend can save you time, money and lost opportunities from less-focused planning. "Now I have a definite business plan centered around my projected year's schedule," says Smith who, tired of getting mad, just got smart.

Keeping abreast of industry trends is vital for survival in today's business arena, and nothing rivals the information you can obtain by attending conventions, meetings, trade fairs and seminars. "Obviously, with the volume of events taking place, schedules and conferences are bound to overlap," says Solomon J. Herbert, editor of Black Conventions, a monthly magazine dedicated to the meetings and conventions industry from an African-American perspective and based in North Hollywood, Calif. That' s why it's important to prioritize your needs and choose those events that best coincide with your objectives. Once you've pinpointed those critical events, you can cash in on the possible savings to be had by preregistering for conferences, booking airline and hotel reservations in advance and going to as many meetings and networking opportunities as possible during your stay in a particular city. …

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