Investing In Yourself

Justin White
CEO of K&D Landscaping
If you are reading this magazine, it means you have made a conscious effort to improve yourself and your team. One way to take it a step further is to attend an industry event in person. Whether you are new to the conference scene or a seasoned veteran, this article will help you get the most return on your time.


Why attend industry events?

I started regularly attending conferences and conventions in 2015. Since then, our company has grown 10 times in revenue. Much of the information and tools I use to propel my business came from these events, including the software we now utilize which I was introduced to at the Lawn & Landscape Technology Conference in Florida in 2020. I attend at least four conferences a year and they act as rocket fuel for my business, adding new information, technology and ideas on a quarterly basis.

Here is my experience after attending over 30 industry events:

Book in advance

Save thousands of dollars when you book ahead. Events usually offer early-bird pricing, hotel rooms are cheaper and so are flights. Booking in advance allows you time to prepare your company to run without you and ensure you are not distracted while at the event.

Have a game plan

You’re going to be bombarded with information and new ideas. Go in with a game plan of an area you want to focus on. This can be launching a new service, expanding into a new market, investing into new technology or developing a better company culture. Part of your game plan should also include connecting with a few peers. Use LinkedIn and event apps to see who is attending and make a list of your top five people you want to find and meet.

Bring your team

Your team will appreciate the invitation and the fact you are investing in them. The workload of new idea implementation will be spread out, and those team members you brought will help you sell the new ideas to the rest of the company. It’s also a great team-building opportunity and a way to spend time together outside of the office.

Take great notes

Taking notes will not only help you retain information but will increase the chances of you implementing what you learned. Make sure to stay organized when taking notes; I prefer digital technology such as OneNote or Evernote which allows me to create folders and organize my jottings into sections by topic.

Engage, engage, engage

Ask questions and get involved with the speakers. Network with other attendees and exchange contact information. This is the time to get out of your comfort zone and be social. I have found massive value in developing relationships with similar companies in different parts of the country. These peer-to-peer relationships can be like gold when facing a difficult situation.

List & prioritize your initiatives

You most likely come back with a flood of ideas and goals after attending an event, so generating a prioritized list of initiatives will ensure you get the most important ones done first. Once your list is complete, assign a champion to each initiative. Keep in mind the champion must attend the event, which is all the more reason to bring your team.

Schedule check-ins with the team

Don’t let the momentum die on the vine. Schedule monthly lunches or check-ins to review the list of initiatives and ideas. Challenge your team to make progress on at least one every month.

The best place to invest is in yourself; knowledge is something no one can take away from you. Compress decades into days and learn from people who have been where you are and have gone through similar challenges. I encourage you to sign up for a conference or event in 2023 and develop a plan to create massive action in your life.

Raise the bar is a monthly column by Justin White, CEO of K&D Landscaping, written to help improve professionalism in the green industry.

March 2023
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