Safety Equipment Distributors Association (SEDA) members who attended the annual Safety Week meeting from June 25-27 at the Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Braselton, Ga., came away with great take-home content.

Dynamic speakers discussed how to grow distributor businesses in the 21st century, how to make salespeople more efficient, and how to better prepare to face economic competition from China and India.

Outstanding networking opportunities like Best Practices Round Tables and Executive Conference Appointments allowed distributors and manufacturers to talk one-on-one about their business challenges and their growth ideas.

Many attendees said the speakers were the best in years and that their return on investment in attending the meeting was immeasurable. Co-sponsored by SEDA and the International Glove Association, Safety Week attracted 150 industry leaders and spouses.

Speaker lineup

On Monday, Steve Little, a business growth expert, spoke on “Growing Your Business in the 21st Century” and explored the “Seven Irrefutable Rules of Small Business Growth.” Robert Nadeau of Industrial Performance Group talked about how to overcome the five barriers to peak sales performance by having systems in place to help sales people work more efficiently.

On Tuesday, Brian Beaulieu, an economist with the Institute for Trends Research, gave a stimulating presentation on the major economic trends that will impact safety equipment businesses between now and 2010, and discussed specific actions that attendees could use to prepare for, and profit through, the upcoming changes in the global business climate.

Meeting ROI

Here are some comments from members about the “Best Idea” they took home from the meeting and the dollar value they would assign to that idea:
  • “The concept proposed by Steven Little of spending 50 percent of today’s time on tomorrow. I cannot put a dollar figure to it.”
  • “The need to become more outwardly focused. We know our business well, but not enough about who we don’t sell to, and what the competition does well.”
  • “The combination of trends information from Steven Little and Brian Beaulieu will help me determine where I should make additional investment for 2007. In fact, that information helped me gain the support of three manufacturers to help support one of my growth plans for 2007.”
  • “Economic info. Worth tens of thousands. $20-50,000.”

Next year: Safety Leadership Forum

As a part of SEDA’s New Strategic Plan and Mission Statement for the future of the association, SEDA has decided to focus on making itself the organization that enables the success, vitality and long-term importance of safety specialists. To that end, SEDA’s Board has decided to meet independently in 2007 and will host the first SEDA Safety Leadership Forum at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Lake Tahoe, Calif., June 10-12.

SEDA also decided to change the name of the annual conference from Safety Week to Safety Leadership Forum so members understand the meeting’s focus: to deliver strong business and networking content to the leadership of the top safety equipment distributors and manufacturers in a two-day conference.

SEDA will be surveying its members via e-mail about topics and program ideas for the 2007 meeting and will post meeting information on the SEDA website, Mark your calendars for this event. You won’t want to miss it!