Tackling NSS As A Team
Wednesday May 9, 2018
How we’re a little over a week away before heading off to NY is beyond. Didn’t we just move into the new studio? Didn’t we just ring in the new year? Since we started exhibiting at NSS a few years ago, I’ve always sat in the tension of the end of the show marking the middle of the year (how has half a year gone by??), but also initiating a reset and the start of a new year for the business as we navigate growth; we immediately jump into new design concepts, schedule holiday shoots, and implement new operational systems. But in thinking through the hustle that comes post-show season, I’ve had a clarity as to why people write their thoughts - it’s entirely therapeutic and awakening, to reflect on what’s been done, and make realizations about how they may be done differently. For me, it’s another reminder of slow, a tug backwards so that we can sit for a second and not let these transitions happen too quickly. Forgetting to soak in all that we’ve been able to do leading up to the show takes away from the experience and as a collective team, I don’t want to encourage that. It dissipates the magic.
As a team. Those words! I can’t tell you how much of a weight has been lifted in planning for the show with a team in place. Donna and I have committed so much time to figuring out who we really need, what position would best fill all the quirks of running our particular type of business, and the core group that we rely on now is more than we could’ve ever imagined. There are so many little details and components to running a trade show booth and we've at some point handled every single one of them. From building and painting hard walls, to assembling furniture, and pulling piles of product, our hands have touched every aspect of the process. It’s incredible that with a team, we’ve been able to delegate the things that need to be taken care of and while seemingly obvious, it actually takes a bit of time to think through how to pass off the things that require attention.
Each company runs differently so perhaps what we’ve delegated exactly won’t be applicable, but having handled the entire process ourselves, it’s easy to start falling into the I’ll just take care of it mentality. You, too? In order to combat things, a few guidelines have helped me along the way:
1. Let go of large projects.
Delegating doesn’t necessarily mean just handing off the tiny tasks that can slip through the cracks. For me, it was handing off our entire catalog design to our graphic designer. This was a huge exercise in letting go of creative control - the catalog is one of our largest sales tools for the year and says so much about who we are. To let go of one of our most impactful pieces was a practice of letting go and how freeing it was for me to really be able to focus on the overall creative direction of the company. Our catalog took nearly 6 months to complete and is the best one we’ve ever put together. Find people who can do things better than you can.
2. Locate all your pinch points.
If this isn’t your first year, you’ll likely see the areas that you were scrambling last minute. List those down and task them to your people. For us, this meant that our studio manager and warehouse manager pulled together all of our product in advance and had them sitting in a box, ready to go. It was delegating SKU labels to be printed, and furniture to be ordered. The things that are on your to-do list that somehow get pushed to the last moment, assign early.
3. Run the business.
In the craziness leading up to the show, especially because spring is one of our busiest seasons, there's often this balloon effect, where everything seems to swell; the list of mental notes seems to be piling, boxes are everywhere, the order board doesn't relent. Trust your team to run the business and reiterate that this is paramount. Business as usual. With a small team, it can often feel like all hands are on deck, but this doesn't can't take priority over the everyday commitments each individual is responsible for to make the company turn. Staying calm and trusting that everything will get done has been key.
Are you going to NSS? We so hope to see you. Booth #1522. Bring hugs, share stories, we'd love to connect.