In a time like this, it’s easy to keep thinking about what’s not working.  There’s plenty to choose from on that front.

No events, no firm news of a restart and confidence easily shaken among clients be they exhibitors or organisers are just three of the things you could mention.

You might feel that there’s nothing you can do to affect any of those giant market forces nor the other oppressive conditions that together have brought your enterprise to a grinding halt.

Years ago, when facing an extremely tough business situation, I came across some very sound advice.

“Work on the things you can change or affect rather than worrying about those you can’t.”

It changed my perspective immediately.

The advice was not an instant cure-all, but it gave me renewed energy and vitally, a different, and more positive point of view.

You might find this thinking helpful too; here are some ideas.

Talk to your clients; find out what’s happening in their world.

  • Which of them has something positive, however small, on the horizon? Be ready to help when the time comes.

Tidy your ship:

  • This could be your database; clean it up.
  • It could be your stock list; it might be your CV; update it and your work portfolio so that it’s ready should you receive bad news about your job.

If you work in marketing:

  • Provide useful information to your clients and prospects and invite them to join your mailing list.
  • Seek small victories like increased visits to particular website pages. Keep traffic coming even if the level is low. Stay in the minds of your target clients.
  • Look for ways to realistically build confidence in the event medium. They will return as they have already in Germany.

Write to your MP regularly

  • Encourage them to bring pressure on the government regarding support for the events industry.
  • Make them aware of the huge commercial benefits they bring to the UK economy.

Don’t participate in social media bleat fests about how bad things are. 

  • Engaging in conversations like these will undermine your confidence and your outlook (I’m not talking about posts from people who have lost their jobs and are looking for new opportunities).

Budget for worst-case scenarios;

  • You probably already have but if that was only for the immediate no work/furlough period, rework it to include the expected slow restart and recovery.

To support an enterprise with low sales, seek unused capacity in the business.

  • Could space within your warehouse be hired to another company? Many online businesses are thriving, and they need extra storage space.
  • They may also need extra staff; can you loan some of your team on a fixed-term contract?
  • If you have unused office space, hire it out to start-ups or micro businesses on a desk rental basis.

Enrol in training for a subject you know you would benefit from when conditions improve.

  • Have you always wanted to be better with spreadsheets or improve a rusty language or study marketing? Now is a good time.

One of the things that can suffer in crisis conditions is the structure of our days.

  • How are your days and evenings spent? Is there still structure in your day despite the absence of your routine work?

Mental fitness is tied closely to physical fitness.

  • Are you taking exercise?
  • Are you getting enough sleep?
  • Have you, along with many others, put on some lockdown weight?

Hopefully not!

A structure is necessary for an ordered and purposeful life even when it’s hard to see too far ahead.

How we spend our time now will have a significant bearing on how our work and personal lives will look in the future.

But don’t look too far ahead either.

Future events are not under our control, so there’s no point in worrying about them.

Instead, work on what you can improve now. Look to string positive steps together, however small.

In the words of St Francis of Assisi; “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

We may not be saints, but that’s good advice we can all apply. 

David O’Beirne
The Exhibition Agency Ltd
63 Vera Avenue, London N21 1RJ  
T. 0203 633 4665
M. 07858 374 051

Exhibitors Only

The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ESSA, its members, board or staff. Our members represent a broad range of views within the event industry, and we have provided this section of the website for their opinions to be openly heard and discussed.

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