Wednesday, July 30th20.2°C
Ignite Innovate Impact - Geoff Mintenko

Trade shows help you grow

There’s a question that I’ve been asked from time to time regarding the importance or non-importance of attending industry trade shows.

Some retailers find trade shows to be an expense they are not willing to invest in. The cost factor and having themselves or key staff away from the business is just too much for them to consider.

To those particular retailers, I would ask them to re-consider. In today’s marketplace more than ever, your business or industry’s livelihood relies on you being cutting edge, current and aware of all new trends and developments. Your future relies on it.

Myself and my team from Retail Evolution, will be in Las Vegas this week attending a huge trade show. Las Vegas Market is a furniture trade show held at World Market Center, a five million square foot custom campus showcasing thousands of new product introductions from all over the world and stellar educational sessions from some of the top minds in the furniture industry.

Since my company works with furniture companies ongoing, it’s important myself and my team keep current with the industry. We pride ourselves in being relevant and up to date with all the industries we work with and try to attend as many unique trade shows throughout North America as we can.

Whether you operate a consulting firm like myself or are a retailer or a wholesaler, there are many reasons and advantages for attending trade shows. Let's cover a few so you may start planning for your next one.

  1. The amount of knowledge and exposure to new trends, products and resources is worth it. You’ll find out what’s hot and what’s not and what your company should be doing right now.
  2. You’ll meet other retailers and vendors that you’ll learn from and possibly gain business from.
  3. You and your team can attend educational seminars and networking events. These events constantly expose you to new people and new business.
  4. You will learn a lot about what your competition is up to. This allows you to evaluate your personal strengths and weaknesses to best support your business.
  5. Trust me, your general experience at most trade shows will stimulate new ideas for you. Your participation at the show will have many long term benefits for you and your team.
  6. A bonus is, most of these trade shows have excellent press attending. You have an opportunity to shine! Make sure you’re prepared to speak about what you and your company offer, the world could be watching!
  7. These shows offer great opportunities to get answers right away from vendors.
  8. The information you bring back home with you will benefit the rest of your staff and customers. I’ve personally seen this happen so many times, it’s truly energizing to see the positive effect it has on so many people.
  9. Fun! Yes my friends it’s okay to have fun in business. Going to these shows can be very entertaining. They break you out of a typical work cycle and allow you to enjoy things a little differently.

That’s a wrap, now go start packing!


Questions, comments? Come over to my Retail Evolution Facebook page and start a discussion 


Executive time management

Time is one of your most precious resources. Once lost it can’t be replaced.

I’ve known great executives that have become merely good executives when they simply hadn’t used their time well. On the flip side, I've also seen good executives turn into great ones when they’ve applied each action of their day to its best purpose.

I frequently get asked for some tips on time management and making better use of time for those at the executive level.

Here are some of my thoughts on not wasting that precious resource called time:

1.  I believe we all achieve true happiness and flow in our personal and business lives when we spend our day doing what we enjoy most. It’s important to bring your personal values into sync with what’s important to your duties at the workplace. We all excel to the fullest and more effectively so, when we enjoy what we do. List for yourself and identify where your strengths are best suited and start to delegate the other tasks you don’t flow with to people that may be better suited for them.

2.  Discontinue unnecessary meetings. Many companies have fallen into the trap of carrying on with weekly meetings etc, because that’s how it’s always been done. Quite simply, the past does not equate the future. If there is truly no ongoing benefit, discontinue the meetings.

3.  Protect yourself from unwanted visitors. I made it a rule years ago, I would never answer my phone if the time was not right for me. I also made it a rule never to take walk in meetings with people that are cold calling. I and many others find cold calling to be a very intrusive outdated way of building a business relationship. There are so many other ways to make a positive impression and generate a meeting if the prospect is interested.

4.  Learn to spend less time in crisis. Don’t get caught up in what others may deem urgent. Many so called crises don’t deserve the attention we give them. Become a master at analyzing problems in stealth mode. Never leave an important task for one that shouts louder. This is where having exceptional staff in place to be active decision makers can really benefit your personal time and company.

5.  Stop procrastinating. If you just went and did that thing you don’t really want to do, that thing will no longer be on your mind and you could focus on other things.

6.  Take time to restore your energy and attitude. Find your happy place, get out of the office, go for a walk, take an extended lunch with a friend, do some yoga. Whatever restores your enthusiasm and passion – just do it!

7.  Learn to ask yourself questions like – Is this the best use of my time? Your inner voice will answer correctly most all the time.


This is just a small slice of the executive time management cake. There’s far more you can do to streamline your workday if you wish to.


Questions, comments? Come over my Retail Evolution Facebook page and start a discussion. 

Sales floor bully

Here’s a question that came up awhile ago from a West Coast retailer for which I do some consulting. The same question has been asked of me before from various other companies and I believe it warrants sharing.



What do I do about an uncomfortable situation that’s getting continually worse as time goes on? It’s in regards to my top sales person, a fairly long term employee that’s never been a team player and does not play by the rules of our sales floor. We’ve allowed this to go on (uncomfortably so) because the individual is our top sales person, writing over one million dollars a year in annual sales. We don’t want to lose the revenue generated by the individual, however we continually lose other staff (good people) and some customers due to this individuals bullying attitude and cavalier approach. My sales manager’s time and my time is consumed by attending to the fallout of this person's actions ongoing.  Help!


Here are my thoughts on this:

There is no room on any sales floor for individuals that are bullies, liars, cheats or thieves, no matter how many sales they make. Individuals that upset the balance and integrity of systems that benefit clients and staff have no place in that work environment.

In saying that, a proper course of action has to be taken. The first step is that you do recognize that there is a real problem. We then determine that this employee’s behaviour is causing a threat to others and your business.

We’d then make sure we have the employee’s side of the story. Following that, we would document, document, document. It’s also important at this time to make changes to your operating processes and have the rouge employee sign off on them. You then must examine your responsibility for the problem. Once you have all the information, decide on a response. If serious disciplinary action is called for, you or your HR team would be best to discuss the matter with a competent employment law attorney.

The final step would be to take action.


I can share with you, that in the above situation, proper action was taken. The employee was terminated for just cause after not complying with new processes that were put into place. Now an amazing thing occurred once the bully was gone. Other sales individuals were able to step up and shine. This was a sales team of approximately 20 people, with ongoing coaching and mentoring and we were able to not only regain the volume of sales written by the exited bully, but surpassed expectations outlined in the Proforma we had built.

The end result was a happier, more effective management team, sales staff and customer base, all equating to a more profitable business model.

The world is just a better place without bullies.


Got a question? Email me at [email protected]


Loosen the bone Wilma

Contrary to the belief of certain individuals, the type that maybe watch Fox news a little too much, business is strong for many companies throughout North America.

Numerous business sectors are poised for strong growth and expansion as positive economic shifts are occurring in many sectors.

One of the challenges for many companies when the market is hot is keeping their best people from quitting.

Being poached by a competitor is not new, promises of a better working environment, company perks and enhanced remuneration have always had people jumping ship. However there are ways to attract and keep your key talent from leaving other than increasing your payroll.

Here are a number of things you want to stop doing, to ensure your best people don’t quit. So sit back, relax, and loosen the bone, it could be wound to tight. These points listed below could save your key staff that fit so right.


Stop treating everyone equal.

Wake up! Your employees are not equal. Some produce more and some are worth more. Your shining stars need to be treated differently. It’s your duty to treat all staff fairly, but the key is not to treat them all equally.


Stop micro-managing.

Enough said on that?


Stop having so many rules.

It’s okay to have direction and guidelines, but don’t have so many rules that they get in the way of your stars doing their jobs effectively.


Stop holding back praise and rewards.

Give to get. Great performance and behavior that you want repeated should be rewarded immediately. Don’t wait for your weekly, monthly or quarterly meetings to spread the love, it may be too late.


Stop tolerating mediocrity.

Think about this, really think about this, your A-players don’t necessarily want to play with a bunch of C-players. Your stars are in the big league; treat them as your VIP’s. Being mediocre does not help keep prime talent.


Stop not having fun at work.

You have got to loosen the bone. Could one of the many rules you have state that work must be completely serious? You want to create a work environment that’s relaxed and fun. Happy staff look forward to coming to work every day. The workplace should be fun. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great talent in companies I’ve ran and I can safely say, the fun never stopped. Frisbees were thrown down hallways, special lunches were brought in constantly, skateboards cruised in warehouses, creative hats were worn on hat days and slurpees slurped on hot summer days. The point is a fun workplace is a more productive workplace. Introduce some fun into your work place, the notion that work cannot be fun is completely counterproductive.


For those that didn’t have the fortune of growing up in the 1960’s and living in a time when the animated show The Flintstones ruled one of the four TV channels most had. The term “Loosen the Bone Wilma” came from an episode, well when the bone in Wilma’s hair was just a little too tight. It's true friends, we can learn from a working-class Stone Age family. Yabba Dabba Doo!

Read more Ignite Innovate Impact articles


About the Author

Renowned Retail Expert and Strategist Geoff Mintenko is the driving force behind the company Retail-Evolution. Geoff consults and speaks to power retailers North America-wide, sparking innovation, igniting positive change and helping companies thrive is his passion.

Geoff’s real-speak, direct approach attitude to business, has garnered him local and international acclaim. The articles he writes and the keynote speeches he gives are meant to stimulate, educate and frustrate - that’s a good thing, it helps business evolve. Helping companies break boundaries, shift mindset and foster a culture of creativity is Geoff’s specialty. He has helped many companies thrive in this ever-changing economic climate.

You can find him at or [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories

RSS this page.
(Click for RSS instructions.)