I have visited so many exhibitions that I no longer want to count them — who wants to be reminded of getting older? And I have made the same mistake over and over again: I attend with a general (vague) idea that when I am there things will develop by themselves. It usually worked well enough, leaving me enough time to improvise and develop my business, but now I have a much better plan. I call it the 3x3 Exhibition Rule.

Let me explain. Apart from meeting with old contacts, friends and co-workers, visiting with prescheduled appointments, and walking about the grounds for the nth time, I want to accomplish three goals. For example, let us take EuroTier 2018, which is just a week away. Here is my 3x3 “shopping” list.

  1. Make three new important contacts. I am not looking for new clients anymore, but for people who will be either an inspiration, a source for possible collaboration or a point of information. In general, people who are better than me and can help me get there, too.
     
  2. Find three new products/services. Again, not necessarily for my own business, but perhaps for a new future project if current ones go astray. More importantly, something that has an undervalue that can be useful to one of my existing customers.
     
  3. Drop three current projects. We are all overwhelmed with things to do, or we have too many products/services we offer. I want to find out if there is enough competition to withdraw from beaten-up projects and find new, challenging ones.

So, here you have it. My general 3x3 Exhibition Rule that helps me focus on the future, apart from everything else. Because he or she who does not move forward, remains behind.