During the next few months you and other dealers must decide whether to register for the upcoming NTDRA convention and trade show in Atlanta, Sept. 5-8. Now, I know what some of you are going to say. You're going to tell me you're not attendingbecause attendance has been declining, and the seminars are no longer worth the money it costs to get there.
Admittedly, attendance has been going downhill, and some seminars haven't been of the highest quality.
But that's no reason not to go. Here's why.
NTDRA's leaders are painfully aware their conventions have been less than sterling in recent years. So they've put in a lot of overtime to make certain the Atlanta presentation will be of Olympic calibre.
In fact, unless you're an economic and marketing guru and your business is making more profit than you can count, you will benefit from the sessions the NTDRA has planned.
In my 12 years at TIRE BUSINESS, I've attended 11 Louisville retreaders shows, just as many NTDRA conventions and many other state and national events. I've gone to every general session and all workshops time would allow. Most I found interesting and educational, some even inspiring.
TIRE BUSINESS Executive Editor Chuck Slaybaugh, a 30-year veteran of tire dealer reporting, returned from the recent ITRA World Tire Conference with a glowing report about the seminar on cash flow led by Cooper Tire's John Zito. He said it was one of the most interesting and useful he's attended-ever.
I felt the same way about a financial workshop I covered during the recent Tire Dealers Association of Canada convention. It was fascinating. It told how to effectively read a balance sheet and use it to make the best business decisions.
These sessions brought to life what many would consider dry topics. I'm confident the programs the NTDRA has set for Atlanta will do the same.
At the show, you will:
Hear the results of the first Dealer Operating Ratios Study in six years, a nationwide compilation of financial data from dealers like yourselves; Compare your own financial data with industry benchmarks obtained through the study; and
Learn creative approaches dealers are using to remain competitive and profitable.
By themselves, these seminars should make attendance worthwhile. But there's more. The NTDRA has earmarked more funds than ever for the educational program, cut the registration fee in half to $50 and is offering a refund if you don't think you got your money's worth. The association also has added life to the trade show by scheduling 30-minute, hands-on product seminars and cash drawings for $200 every hour.
As NTDRA Executive Vice President Phil Friedlander promises: ``You should be able to walk into your business the Monday morning after the convention and put what you learned to work.''
Can you afford not to attend?''
Mr. Zielasko is editor and associate publisher of TIRE BUSINESS.