My plan for today's blog post was quite different, I may run the planned one this weekend instead. But looking at the amazing numbers that we have for the registrations for the 2014 Louisville Show, a number of thoughts hit me. First, naturally all involved with the show are thrilled that it is sold out, thrilled that registrations are up some 50% over last year – see this article linked here. We will look at that, but also look at a related and potentially more important issue. The URL for the Louisville news update is below, please read it and then come back to finish this post.
To underscore the context for newcomers – or for those who've slept since then – after a half-century run of the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show, in 2010, the show was canceled! Many thought it would never return. Do you remember those dark days?
Thanks to the courage and hard work of hundreds of MH Industry veterans – starting with the leadership of Ron Thomas Sr, Midwest Manufactured Housing Federation (MMHF) and Louisville Show Chairman and Dennis Hill's tenacity – the decision was made in 2011 to try 'one more time.'
All who were in that turn-around year, ought to be proud! My hats off to each and every soul involved or who came in 2011.
It is an industry example of not aiming low.
Last year, as the news report above shows, we hit the industry-event-of-the-year status in terms of attendance. Tunica still has more homes, but Louisville is gaining in the category too! Louisville had more total attendance and more attendee arrivals, which are huge facts to keep in mind, again, considering where we came from the show being canceled in 2010.
Based upon the current trend, we may see some 3,000 souls at Louisville in 2014. Anything even close to that, is nothing short of amazing! But the truth is, we could – at the current pace – surpass that number. There is nothing quite like Louisville's fine Show.
I'll circle back to the Show in a moment, but let's focus on The Point for the MH Industry and for Companies like Yours. Namely, that we often set our sights too low.
Aiming Low, and Missing
Please understand that it is not my intention to hack off any of the powers that be when I say the following. My primary purpose is to supply food for thought!
If we as professionals or leaders are too comfortable or too complacent, it is a recipe for low outcomes. The only way to achieve a higher outcome is to set a higher bar and strive with all our might to achieve it.
Someone told me about a goal that their organization had. I was somewhat surprised to hear the number, and asked, 'why that figure?' This well known leader explained. Their goal was not success, but to make a solid showing.
Imagine buying a lottery ticket, even if you knew with 100% certainty that you won't win?
Or more to the point, imagine spending large amounts of time and money, and only hoping to get some of it back?
What made the comeback of the Louisville successful was a variety of factors, that we covered in a report some months back, linked here. But what we could add to that report and underline is that we aimed for success! We didn't aim for the knees and shot the dirt instead. We set a realistic goal that caused us all to stretch. We surpassed that goal. And we have for each of the last 3 years at Louisville.
You name it, and you can bet that most operations (sorry, if this includes yours…) are setting their sights too low. There are exceptions out there, who are aiming high, to be sure! Companies and organizations that are working to set ever higher records, yes, even during these challenging times. We all need to take those lessons and examples to heart.
We've got the ingredients for a recipe for sustained, long term MH Industry success. All the key elements are within our grasp. Let's prove it:
20,000,000 new housing units needed in America by 2030, based on U.S. Census stats.
10,000+ boomers retire daily, perhaps as many as half of those can't make ends meet on social security in conventional single family housing.
Incomes are down for almost everyone in the last 5 years.
Rental costs are rising, and represent a perfect target market, see the Harvard study that is a download from the report linked here.
We sell America's most affordable new homes.
Be it fee simple home sales, or in many cases, notably in land lease communities, the most affordable home option is the one our industry can offer the public.
Elements for Aiming High
We must define ourselves, or others will define us, often to our detriment. Our needs as an industry are somewhat unique – we need to brand, unbrand and rebrand, all three are parallel paths that compliment each other.
We must connect with our customer base, and turn them into raving fans. Imagine if just 10% of our customer base started RAVING about us. 2 million souls talking to their friends, family and fellows at work, play, school or church. THINK about that…
We must rouse ourselves and our team members. Everyone on the team should ideally see the vision and ought to believe. If they don't believe, how can we expect those who are selling or leasing homes to get more of their prospects to believe?
“Show Me the Money” is the theme for the 2014 Louisville Show
Aiming High – Action Items
First, please, come to Louisville. It will lift your spirits! Growth will happen at Louisville! It will show you what we are capable of doing! Even if you are on the West Coast, there are good reasons for industry pros to come.
Next, make it a point in 2014 to set higher goals. Don't aim low, and miss. The beauty of setting goals that make you stretch is precisely that it will get your team going higher and higher.
Third, thanks for being plugged in here on the Masthead blog and on MHProNews.com, but get your team members to get plugged in too! No one else – and I respect the years that others have done trade publishing, believe me – does what we do. That's why our readership is rising at 10% to 41% by category in 2013 over 2012, and we still have a month to go! Meaning we are BLOWING Away what we did last year, which – like Louisville – was growing over the previous years.
Based on facts at hand supplied from the various sources, our numbers exceeds all of the 'national' publishers combined in readership for our industry. We started from zero in October 2009, passing publishers that had years of head start on us in just 90 days. That growth has continued.
Aiming High, and Hitting It
My point is not to brag, but to say – if we can do it with nominal resources – how about you???
Why don't other organizations look at how they CAN hit a goal vs. thinking why they Can't?
Starting in 2011, those who have gone to the Louisville Show have most commonly said, 'the mood is upbeat!' You bet, and that's important. In the face of all the unSAFE Act or Dodd-Frankenstein non-sense,
we are growing at the Louisville Show,
we are growing as an industry,
many operations are growing, even during these challenging times and
we are growing as a digital trade publisher.
We do the work here on MHProNews part time, while doing the consulting and other work that pays our bills. (Okay, part time for the team and myself may be other people's full time…;-)
But the point is that if we can do it, you can what you need to too.
I hope you will come to Louisville, and check out the educational items planned.
Here is the show map to let you see where that educational program will be located.
We know from the Louisville website statistics that after the general show information, the #1 thing most pros access are the Seminars! It brings hundreds of additional pros to the show every year. Then, they go and pre-register to attend, book their hotel room, etc..
When you come to Louisville, you won't be alone. You will be with thousands of pros who come, rain, snow or shine.
For those who haven't attended in years, or who have never gone, the show is all indoors. If you can, plan for 2 full days at the show. Come Tuesday night, be there all day Wednesday and all day Thursday.
Bonus Tip: Friday, 9 AM to 11 AM, is a fine time to make deals with exhibitors!
We will be at booth 115, please stop by, say hi to our team and myself and take a free photo with our little show guy.
Aim high. Be at Louisville. Do everything you need to do to make 2014 a year to remember. ##
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