Industry Trade Shows – There to Help You

Posted by Poppy Behrens on Sep 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM


NPSA Welcomes MS-SA and SSA Members

By John Finnessy, CMP

We have all witnessed significant change this year, with more to come. Reduced revenue, excess capacity, budget cutbacks, and shifts in the supply chain have caused us all to rethink our businesses. One means for helping us make the proper adjustments is to participate in an industry trade show. Attending a trade show during a slow economy can give your company just the boost it’s been seeking. It’s never enough to know how to provide quality storage options and understand customer needs in order to grow your business. You also need to have a complete and current knowledge about the storage business and learn future trends. Attending your industry trade show — even during a down economy — is one of the best vehicles to obtain that knowledge and receive ideas that can help you make educated decisions on how to help your company move forward. We know that you are worried about how you’re going to survive this tough economy and compete under constant pressure to reduce prices. Add to it the long hours you’re working, as well as the fact that you’re so consumed with the bottom line, and you may very well need to slow down in order to speed up. You need to stop for a moment and apply some creative thinking to your business. Attending an industry trade show can stimulate that creativity and provide the momentum that will help you take action to move forward. For suppliers, not being able to meet with a large amount of industry-specific customers on a regular basis can affect any bottom line. Additionally, visibility is important. If you’ve consistently attended an industry show in the past and suddenly do not, your absence may send a negative message about your business to your customers, employees, suppliers, and competitors.

We understand that going for more than a year without meeting with your peers, customers, or reviewing the latest products/services in the industry can be detrimental for any business, which is why the NPSA is welcoming all members of the MS-SA to attend its show at the member rate (a savings of $500). This could be a significant boon for attendees and exhibitors alike. The portable storage industry and mobile storage industry may have their variations, but they are not substantially dissimilar. There is much in common between these two sister entities. And although the NPSA Show is substantial with about 700 attendees, it is not so large that you lose yourself and your identity.

The NPSA Conference and Trade Show will be held from October 25 to 27 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. A conference brochure with full details on the event is available at, by contacting NPSA at (866) 777-0635, or via e-mail to The trade show will take place in the new 50,000 square foot exhibition center at Caesars Palace. There is some exhibit space still available for the show, and it is very reasonably priced.

All NPSA members welcome the attendance of their fellow storage providers in the mobile and self-storage industries. We look forward to working with you to improve our businesses and the storage trade. Below are some suggestions that may help you achieve the most while attending the show:

Everyone’s time is important. Plan in advance. Make appointments with people you wish to see. NPSA
provides an option to have all attendees list their cell phone numbers to assist you in finding the people
you need to see.
Make a list of what you specifically want to learn. Attend the seminars that are being offered. Along with
solid educational offerings dealing with the state of the industry (Economist Presentation, Compensated
Motivational Speakers and sessions), the NPSA will offer a track specific to issues facing the entire
mobile storage industry.
Take charge! Attend the meetings NPSA has set up for owners to ask what they are doing in their
companies and what they see for the future. Use it as an idea exchange.
Take the time to walk the show thoroughly and completely. Each booth is an opportunity for you. And as
an exhibitor, each attendee is someone who may need your service.
Carry a note pad and take as many notes as possible.
Knowledge is power. Gather as much information as you can. Find out what new products, techniques,
and services are available to you that can help you expand your business and increase productivity and
Talk to association executives, seminar leaders, and other industry experts while at the show to obtain
their perspective on the future.
Talk to finance companies. Of course, they’ll try to get your business, but they also can tell you what their
clients are doing to help them through the economy.
Enjoy yourself — you’ve earned it!  After a tough year, NPSA events are always a great way let off some
steam and have fun with your peers. Let us pamper you and your staff with breakfasts, lunches,
receptions, golfing, and more, during the trade show.

After the show, ask yourself these questions:

Is there a way we can diversify our business? How? Can I do both portable storage and mobile storage?
What is the competition doing? How do we compare? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How
can we be better, different, and outshine them?
Should I rethink my entire business strategy? How can we get new business? What “idea of ideas” can
help us move forward?

There will be winners and losers in this economy for sure, but only those operations that arm themselves with industry knowledge and are willing to take action toward positive change will have the ability to carry their organization into a successful future. If you want to increase your ability to remain competitive and end up a winner down the long road ahead, you need to attend your industry trade show. It is the vehicle to obtain the knowledge that you need to help you strategize, improve operations, and make smart decisions to enable you to compete and win.

John Finnessy is the Executive Director of the National Portable Storage Association.