Larry Steiner, vice-chairman of IPI Member Network, extends a personal invitation to PhotoCounter readers in Australia and New Zealand to attend this year’s IPI International Print + Imaging Conference in Las Vegas, July 11-14:
I’ve owned my shop (Spectrum Photo and Digital Services, Ohio) since 1982. It is very easy to fall into the habit of unlocking the door and seeing what walks in to start my day. Or worse, what ‘fires’ do I need to put out: broken machines, confused staff or worst of all, dissatisfied customers.
Adding a new service offering, finding a new way to acquire customers, making my store more interesting to those who stop in or pass by – all of that is hard, and perhaps I’ll get to it after this other stuff is resolved.
You can see I have set up an argument here for how it is harder to work on my business as opposed to working in my business.
Since I joined IPI – Member Network more than a decade ago, I have been able to create a mindset of constantly increasing and reinventing my service offerings. We have developed some ourselves, been inspired to add many others by those we meet through IPI, and used initiatives from IPI for even more.
Being able to ask questions and see many comments from store operators in the private IPI Forum has been extremely useful to me. I have expanded faster and easier by sharing the research and development with a group of experts who have practical knowledge that is specific to what I want to achieve. Then, when I decide to add a product or service, the IPI Marketing Team is there with the content and marketing assets I need for a successful launch.
When I need to refresh my product offerings each season I use the IPI Marketing Solutions Program to do that efficiently and effectively. And each year when I attend IPIC, our annual International Print + Imaging Conference, I come away from the supercharged experience with even more ideas, solutions and motivation to make my business grow.
The key is the strength that comes from working together to make a better specialty store experience for our customers. As a member-owned cooperative association, IPI is focused on member success. If you are in the services end of the photo trade, IPI membership is a must, and if you are in hard goods but want to expand the most profitable part of the photo business, IPI is there for you too.
I have met outstanding operators from around the globe at IPIC – and next I’d like to meet you! It might sound radical for you to step outside of your business for a few days, but it can also be the most important thing you do for your business all year.