Do these four things this month to make sure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck at the annual cleaning conventions and trade show.
The idea of leaving your company for a week – even for business – can seem very intimidating, so over the next few months, we are going to share with you what we do in the months before convention to make sure we are frugal while still enjoying the benefits of business education and networking – and especially having fun with the friends we’ve made through the years.
1. Set Your Budget
It sounds so simple to us business owners to say “set a budget,” but especially for first-timers, we haven’t done a great job of setting expectations. We use a pretty simple pro forma from year to year that has made this easy – and we come up with about $2200 per person attending:
|Registration for ARCSI Basic Member||$389|
|Average Hotel Bill for a Week||$600|
|Conservative Per Diem ($50/day)||$350|
|Fun and Entertainment||$250|
With very few exceptions, when we plan ahead and catch the early bird registration rates and get into the group rate at the hotel, we’re able to keep our travel and lodging in tight check. But the key is to act early.
Also be sure to apply for the Petra Huppert HEART Scholarship, established in 2013 to assist small cleaning companies in attending convention.
And consider add-ons such as the IICRC House Cleaning Technician Certification 2-day course that precedes convention each year. Scholarships are also available for this class.
2. Register by July 15 for the Most Registration Savings
Each year, ARCSI makes a monthly payment plan available to help members better cash flow their convention expenses. But to take advantage of the payment plan, you’ll want to register by July 15th, which is coming up very soon. Oh, and when you register by July 15th, you’ll get $50 off your registration. That’s a whole day’s per diem right there. What do you know – you’re already under budget!
3. Take a Business Needs Assessment
Oh, this one is actually tougher than it seems. Sure, you can sit down and make a list of all of the things you think aren’t working in your business, but you also need to figure out “what you don’t know that you don’t know” to add to that list.
We’ve been using this simple but illuminating Business Needs Assessment to help new and veteran business owners identify where to focus their improvement efforts for maximum return in their companies. And you can use it too to find out on what topics you should be focusing your convention experience.
And with July signaling the mid-year reality check on your annual plan and goals, our Business Needs Assessment is a great tool even if you’re not coming to convention.
4. Apply for or Nominate Someone for an Award
Your final convention checklist item for July is to look for the good in your company and submit one of your staff for an award. Each year, ARCSI recognizes a leadership staff member and a technician – and pays for their trip to convention. It’s a great way for you to really show your appreciation for someone in your company who has made a huge difference in your ability to grow and give him/her the opportunity of a lifetime at convention.
And those aren’t all of the awards. Show pride in your logo, uniforms, vehicles, and website by applying for an Image Award. Members present at convention vote for the best in each category!
Oh, you want to know if we’ll be there?
Yep – me, Tom, Derek, CeCe and Austin – we’ll all be in Las Vegas – not only for the ARCSI Convention but also for the BSCAI, CETA, IEHA, IICRCA, and IWCA Conventions and the BIG ISSA Trade Show. We’re already scheduled to teach several education sessions all over Las Vegas during the week!
Liz Trotter is founder of American Maid Cleaning as well as an entrepreneur and leadership trainer based in Olympia, Washington. She is also a former ARCSI board member, a partner in Cleaning Business Builders, creator of the HiPEP employee development system and a charter member of Cleaning For A Reason.
Originally published July 9, 2015 at CleaningBusinessToday.com.