Nothing gives me greater energy or motivation than having a good time while working! Attending trade shows might seem like an extravagance in both time and money but I find the benefits outweigh the costs.
Exposure to new trends and products stimulate new ideas while helping you to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses by comparing your business with others. Gathering practical information about equipment and processes was my reason for going but it also helped to create strategic alliances with suppliers. Nothing really takes the place of actual meetings and conversations. Being open to educating oneself about the aspirations and ambitions of other businesses can only be productive.
Having spent a few days in Italy at SIGEP and in France at Europain, I have returned full of ideas and renewed energy. Having a solid team to take care of business while I am away makes it a pleasure to make these trips, bringing back inspiration as well as information.