Last weekend I was at the CIMA MiPs conference.
Now spending a couple of days with over 200 management accountants might not be your idea of fun – in fact, quite possibly, the opposite – but for me it was great. Quite apart from the fact that the key note speaker was Gerald Ratner (what a great example of how taking your customers for-granted will ruin your business!), and the after dinner speaker was Jimmy Greaves (hilarious!), the atmosphere was supportive and enlightening.
They are all guys who do what I try to do: offer business owners the opportunity to work with someone who will help them get to grips with the financial situation of their business and plan for the future – in a supportive and empowering environment.
But we are business owners ourselves and have the same stresses and strains.
Many of us work on our own and so suffer the loneliness often experienced by business owners. We certainly have to deal with the pressures of marketing ourselves and attracting new customers. In particular, we need to focus on retaining existing clients and keeping them happy with our service.
That is where events such as conferences, networking lunches and 121s are so fabulous. We can talk to guys who are under the same pressures we are, build relationships which will help us to build our businesses and, essentially, feel that we are not alone out there.
And all that in a way which better equips us to run our businesses because the seminars and presentations are specifically aimed at us.
So no matter what your business area, if you have the opportunity to attend a conference with your peers, give it a go. You never know what you will come away with. At the very least it may be the confidence to do things differently.