If you are not a business owner who has experienced a hard time collecting from your clients and in return have not fallen behind with your own vendors during these difficult economic times, then you are among the lucky few. There are a few things that I have learned this past year when things have gotten a little tough. As a customer to a vendor, first and most importantly, it pays to be upfront. I have heard numerous stories from vendors telling me that they have customers who lie, saying that the check is in the mail, or have received checks that are conveniently not signed, or have heard promises that they know can’t be kept. I have been thanked even when I have had to say there is nothing coming your way and I don’t know when I will. Vendors are appreciative that they know what to expect. It is not good business to play games with people. I know that when I have a client who doesn’t pay and that I have had to call numerous times, if they have the courtesy to tell me that they just don’t have the funds, I am more forgiving and willing to give them time. Nobody likes to be strung along. Secondly, even if you don’t have an answer or you have to relay not so happy news, do not avoid calls. There is nothing worse to have a customer who won’t answer or return calls. It is frustrating and a waste of time to have to keep trying. So, as hard as it is, at least take the call. Lastly, vendors are much more willing to work with you if you explain your situation and they know that you are at least making the effort. Communicate. We all seem to be in the same boat on various levels and to have respect for each other’s time and to be as forthright as possible on both ends will go a long way. It will make getting through these times a little easier for all of us.
Unless your company solely relies on small pop-ups or your uncanny ability to “MacGyver” your way out of the next predicament, you’ve certainly encountered the pros and cons of this profession. On one end of the spectrum we have exhibit houses that know you, your booth, your expectations, and most importantly all avenues of the exhibit arena; and on the other end, there is “show labor,” that’s hit or miss and will always need directions. We’ve all heard the horror stories.
Of course show labor can have their diamond in the rough that will go the extra mile. Often being an EAC (Exhibit Appointed Contractor), I can assure you these breeds are rare in the local union, but abundant if you hire the right help. It’s when you think everything is perfectly planned, a bulb will burn out and you have no replacement, or a graphic will begin to release and you’re without adhesive. This is when the qualified pay for themselves.
So consider your booth, its needs and make sure to get a team that matches. It could turn a nightmare into a dream.
Welcome to Ferguson Design’s blog. We’re excited to add a casual environment to share our experiences with you and hopefully hear a few of your own. Please feel free to comment on any topic although they will be reviewed before they’re posted to prevent spam. If you have any questions or concerns about the blog, email me at Cooper@fergusondesign.com