Surviving with pre-planning, help and a little luck

Sometimes it’s like the stars align and it all works out. It rarely happens without pre-planning on my part, but I have to acknowledge that there is an element of good fortune that must come along for it to work out without a hitch.

Exhibiting at the 2011 BNI Corporate Showcase last week was fraught with last minute clients, supplier snags and topped off with a fried motherboard on my beloved MacBook Pro… but enter the cosmos to give a hand and somehow I came out on top thanks to some help and pre-planning. Here’s how I did it.

I blocked time in advance

Back in November I knew this show would likely bring last minute clients, I booked only the bare minimum of work for the 2 weeks prior to the event in anticipation for the rush and when it hit I was ready. I ended up having 8 print deadlines within 5 days, only 2 had been booked the month before. All jobs were sent out on time.

Factor for Snags

I’m slightly crazy with this one. I always factor cushion time into every print deadline to offset potential snags – when display mounts were shipped regular instead of over night the problem was addressed and the delivery made in time for the show with just an hour to spare.

I had a Goal:
It kept me focused when mayhem hit

With only 5 minutes of final changes to make on my own trade show handouts, my computer died. With just 16 hours before the show, my own materials yet to send to the digital printer – I simply had to suck it up and reassess what had to be done. My goal helped ground me, prioritize my tasks and get focused.

I went out that night and picked up the show items and back up handouts I’d planned to get the following day and with that taken care of I was able to  put my computer 1st on my priority list the next morning.

I had a Wing Man  🙂

I would have been sunk if it hadn’t been for my sales guy. Stuck at the Apple Store waiting for my computer to be fixed a mere 2 hours before the show, I was able to call him and arrange for him to pick up the late mounts and boards. He arrived to the show in time to deliver them to the clients and help me unload my own car and exhibit with time to spare.

I tell clients to always have a second person to help them man their booth, this week I learned they are also invaluable when trouble hits and you need help.

Lessons Learned

#1 Back up your computer. I kept putting this off – I’ll do it next week, tomorrow, etc.. I was VERY lucky my files were okay – needless to say as I sit here now – my computer is backing up.

#2 Do the best you can and learn to breath. Somethings are just out of your control, you do the best you can and learn to live with the outcome.

Special Thanks:
To the Square One Apple Store: They are absolutely fantastic. They honored my just barely expired Apple Care warranty and saved me $1500.00! They were fast helpful and very sympathetic. I am very glad I am a MAC owner.

C.I.M Solutions, Sean Jennings: For trouble shooting my computer way to early in the morning and getting me set up with my new Back-up system!

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