Will Travel for Ideas

Originally published March 14, 2017 by The Montrose Daily Press

Do you have a hero? I do. His name is Tim Ferriss. He is a business genius I somehow had the fortune of meeting at South by Southwest (a conference) in Austin, Texas this past Saturday. Do you have a stalker? Tim Ferriss does. Her name is Chelsea Rosty and Tim met her at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, this past Saturday.

Joking aside, I am currently at a Starbucks in Austin people watching and writing this column.  I’m

attending this conference with the purpose of meeting and recruiting start-ups to relocate in Montrose.

This experience and others caused me to examine what we are doing in the Montrose business space. Mainly, it seems as though more Montrose business people venturing into the world and capturing valuable knowledge could really contribute to our collective bottom line.

Staying where you are, doing what you know works in your business, and hitting repeat year after year will eventually lead you to the intersection of obsolete and irrelevant. It is crucial you explore and discover things that will differentiate your business and keep you excited about doing it. We can convince ourselves Google has all the magic answers and regard YouTube as our teacher.

While this approach is fine, it is missing the relational aspect we gain from going out and connecting with people (like Tim Ferriss).

If you want to spank the competition, it is time to pack that suitcase, buy a ticket and hop the next plane to new ideas. It is of dire importance you allocate budget and time to travel with the purpose of furthering your education. Putting yourself in a place that is not like your everyday environment automatically exposes you to new ways of thinking, people, and resulting conversations that will ultimately change the direction of your business.

If you have attended industry related conferences in the past and returned home feeling less than enlightened, you’re not alone. There really is a secret sauce to doing this type of research correctly. Why not try attending conferences or learning events that showcase presenters whose area of expertise is outside of your industry?

Why go learn about what everyone else in your industry is doing (if you’re using Google right, you probably already know what they’re doing)? How might you learn what other industries are doing and connect the dots in applying it to your business?

Have you ever been to an Apple store? Have you also had the opportunity to utilize their Genius Bar? It’s well…genius. Everyone told Apple their retail concept would fail. Instead of believing that, Apple went and studied the legendary customer service of the Ritz Carlton and other major hotels and used their model to literally KILL the competition in the electronics retail space.

Can you allocate one to two weeks a year toward your personal learning and development? You do not have to go to Austin, Texas, to achieve this.

Look in Denver, Grand Junction, Utah, etc. While there’s nothing bad about webinars and that type of learning, you will miss out on the cultural and human elements that are infinitely valuable.

So you just read this article, checked your bank account and realized you’re a wee bit shy of making this a reality. Now what? The chamber has a serious passion for this concept and as your chamber and business innovation director, I am on a personal mission to bring some of these ideas and people to you. The chamber is working toward hosting an all-industry conference in Montrose that will expose local business to some of these innovative and forward thinking people.

It is a big, scary, competitive world out there. There is no way to combat our loss in share to the Amazon.coms of the world unless we go figure out what the heck the Amazons are doing.

So please. Explore it. Youtube it, travel it, attend the chamber’s conference. Do something, do everything, but please do not do nothing.

P.S. If you’re reading this and you’ve “been there/done that,” I challenge you to make this a reality for one or more of your employees. The world will thank you.

Chelsea Rosty is the executive director of the Montrose Chamber of Commerce and Director of Business Innovation for the City of Montrose. She can be reached at chelsea@montrosechamber.com.