Many readers of this post are preparing for International Quilt Market, the annual trade show of the quilting and soft craft industries. You may be preparing for a retail show, an outdoor fair, a conference, or other trade show. You may be preparing to host, present at, or attend an event.
I have talked with several of my clients preparing for the shows about their challenges, and the topic came up on on a recent monthly ICAP Members’ Studio group coaching call. It seems a lot of people are in a frenzy about what needs to get done.
I believe it comes down to being clear about your intentions for the show. I went to my first quilt industry trade show in 1994. I’ve learned quite a lot over the years about how to get the most from the show. Much of it is being intentional about what I want to have happen while I’m there.
The biggest suggestion I have is to go in with a clear intention of what you want from going to any show. Or for that matter, any event you attend, large or small. What do you want to have happen as a result of your going? Is it more sales? Is it more names on your contact list? Is it to pick up a distributor? Is it to fill holes in the shop inventory? Is it to make specific connections? The clearer you are about what you want, the more likely that you will be focused in that direction. And, the more likely it will happen.
How do you know how big an intention to create? How big should you think? If you dig into the meaning of intention, you’ll discover that the Latin root means “stretching, purpose.” Keeping that in the back of your mind as you set an intention.
After you start to create a list of your intentions, go back and dig deeper. Why are these intentions important to you? Come up with several good reasons besides “it would be cool to have or do … .”
It might be that a specific amount of sales are needed for immediate cash flow. It might be that you cannot grow without adding a distributor. It could be that you need to learn something specific to grow your business. (And, the cool reason is OK, too.)
What will happen in your business if you meet this intention? What will happen in your business if you do not meet this intention? These questions will really help you prioritize your intentions.
Meeting the intention
What do you need in order to make this intention a reality?
Who do you need to become to make this intention a materialize? Many creative arts professionals are introverts and being “on the stage” is hard. Do you need to learn to put that introvert self on hold? Do you need to practice your “elevator speech” so you feel comfortable talking about what you do? Do you need to join Toastmasters to hone your speaking skills?
How will you meet this intention? Create a list of five actions. This could start with listing the booth locations of vendors you need to connect with. It might be to deliver 10 brochures a day to potential customers.
Prioritize and focus
Once you have gone through this process, you might want to prioritize your actions or intentions. After all, you may have several intentions. Then start each day with a focus on what the intention will be and follow through. This puts you in charge of the process, and you’ll see better results.
I have shared the following story with many of my clients over the years. When I gave my first lecture at Quilt Market, I was more than nervous. I had set an intention to give a lecture and submitted a proposal for “Boost Your Business With Email Marketing.” I was thrilled when it was selected. If my intention was to do a great job at the lecture, to get rave reviews so I would be asked back, to promote my business, to get people interested in a future class I was offering, then I definitely had work to do. I considered what actions I needed to take, what qualities I needed to develop, where I needed to shift my mindset, what I needed to learn. By being clear on my intention and what was needed to get me there, I know I offered a wonderful lecture to the more than 150 people who attended. Best of all, I have been on the Quilt Market faculty for many years, and I know I have been able to provide value to help shop owners and other creatives build their businesses.
It did all start with an intention.
It’s your turn!
When did you see setting an intention paid big dividends?
Do you want to receive more information on how to effectively create an intention and plan your next steps? Get our free Intention Strategizer below.