Thursday, November 15, 2012

Meetings Industry Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs look for ways to change the world, improve situations, invest in the future and create something new and more progressive.  They seek fresh ideas and retool how businesses runs.  They want to grow something where there had been nothing. Entrepreneurs are who will save the future and lead us out of the economic uncertainty we have all lived through the past few years.

Many businesses are undergoing changes... and it is great to see the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well.  As one who proudly works in and around the "Meetings Industry" I regularly encounter those who host and plan conferences, trade shows, conventions, seminars, etc.... that are excited to try something new in the execution of their gathering. They are focused on creating a conference attendee experience that is unique and meaningful.  The future of the meetings business is unknown, but I assure you there will be changes in the months and years ahead.  The new face of events will come from those who are entrepreneurs at heart. defines and entrepreneur as:

“a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”

In June 2012 Forbes compared this definition to the one from Merriam-Webster:

“one who organizes, manages and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.”

Do you see the difference?  It is in the subtle use of the word "any".  An entrepreneur does not need to be running a business.... it can be any enterprise.  

I also believe that the spirit of entrepreneurs can live inside larger organizations.  One does not need to be the leader of the company or association to be an entrepreneur.  Sometimes the word intrapreneur is used to describe those inside who have this same drive.  To be a leader does not require the job title as much as it does the desire to create something more and the willingness to take action.

In my travels I see many entrepreneurs and intrepreneurs.  But there are also those who are the exact opposite.  Being timid and fearful of change  and risk is the nemesis of progress.   In industries that are undergoing massive changes those who cling to the old ways are not the ones who will blaze the new trails toward success.  

Both definitions  of what it is to be an "entrepreneur" mention "risk".  A true entrepreneur will have to take chances.   However, risk means there can be bumps in the road, and those who fear any turbulence will cling to their check lists and try to continue to keep the status quo.  

The "Meetings Industry" (and other businesses) are at a crossroads.  Now is the time to celebrate the entrepreneurs in our midst and encourage those who are willing to take risks to identify the new paths.  In addition to taking risks, entrepreneurs need an incentive.  If we do not champion the planners, hoteliers, speakers, caterers, association executives, transportation providers, AV companies, entertainers, airlines, and other meeting service professionals who have the entrepreneurial spirit, then they may not show their faces. 

What are you seeing in the meetings you attend that lead you to believe the future looks bright?  Or what problems are staring us in the face?

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Catalyst". He works with meeting planners and conference organizers to set the tone for a meeting. His presentations educate, inspire and motivate attendees to engage deeper in the event and make meaningful connections.

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