Frank Talk About Training
There’s a ton of training offered in our industry. CEDIA EXPO, EH Expo, PARA conferences, private consultants, vendor trainings—tons of training.
You could spend a week each month attending some training event or other. And with all the training available, you’d assume we have the smartest, most efficient, best-run industry around.
But we don’t, because we are our own trainers. Most of the information shared in our business comes from people within our business. I’m just as guilty; I’m preparing a strategic finance seminar for the next CEDIA EXPO. While this insularity is not entirely bad, you have to wonder where some of the trainers among us are getting their information.
Let’s face it: The custom installation industry is so new, so vibrant and in such a state of rapid change that virtually any training you receive today is either outmoded or soon will be. Worse yet, with so much change and growth in play, there’s an abundance of charlatans making shady claims about process and products—with impunity, I might add.
Look at a stable industry, like the retail pizza business. Glance through one of the industry mags, like Pizza Today (online at www.pizzatoday.com). You’ll see a consolidation of strategy and tactics across the business. The industry is mature and orderly. Well-tested processes are in place. Provisioners and ingredient vendors compete on easily-measurable differences—taste, consistency, deliverability, price.
The pizza industry understands its competition isn’t the “other” pizza restaurant; the competition is all of the other ways someone can get a meal—fast-food establishments, sit-down restaurants, home cooking. Read through some of the advice columns; you’ll find well-reasoned, proven suggestions on running a business, developing a menu, dealing with employees and servicing a fleet of delivery vehicles. In fact, after poring through several of the industry’s magazines and talking to your local pizzeria owner, you’ll see how single-minded and focused this industry is on providing a great product.