With every conference there comes a time to choose: which sessions should I attend? Which ones would serve me best? Which ones sound interesting? Which ones am I hoping will be worthwhile?

CBE 2014

CBE 2014

One of the very sessions I chose at the recent inaugural Craft Beverage Expo fit all of those desires. Lead by Gary Finnan and co-hosted with Tom Potter, this breakout session was just that: a breakout. Breaking out of tired words, breaking into creativity, and breaking the ice to get people to think about strategy.

Strategy is crucial for all plans. Whether business or home, all sorts of initiatives are served by thoughtful strategy. The tactics you use to execute the strategy are what give it the muscle to move the bones, so to speak. And Gary and Tom provided a number of immediately useful insights.

In fact, they wrapped up this invigorating session with an exercise for the entire audience. It’s always a good plan to have an element of participation for a seminar, well beyond listening (since some people will only hear anyway and that’s not overly active…).

Gary shared three Essential Steps of Business planning, which is a workshop unto itself that would be well worth the investment. Gary’s energetic, experienced and enthusiastic and realistic presentation got the audience involved and thinking. And he made sure to note that creative financing is not creative business!

Tom added a good point: Believe in yourself, be a raving fan and do everything you can to support your business. At the same time be careful. “You may start to believe your own hype.” Be optimistic in public, realistic in private, he shared.

Don’t just go for the customer, go for the return,” stated Finnan. “Every customer is not a valued customer,” intoned Potter. There’s a lifetime of good advice in these two statements along.

Suffice it to say this talk was one of the top ones that I attended. Two industry pros, realistic and optimistic, sharing what they can for the good of the whole. Thanks to them both, thanks to the CBE for bringing this session to life.

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