The Value of Continuing Education
A wise woman once told me “learn at least one new fact every day”; I have come to realize over time how right my Mom always was! In my career I have tried to follow this advice every day. Keeping yourself informed and up to date in an ever-changing industry is imperative if you aim to run a successful lighting business.
And while you think you do not have the time for education in your business life schedule it is critical that you make the time. Across the country during the winter and spring months there are many training opportunities to be had.
Attending tradeshows is a great way to get up close and personal with many new lighting products. It is also a great time to reacquaint yourself with your favorite lighting manufacturers. Participating manufacturers will have seasoned factory representatives available for presentations and to answer questions on the latest illumination technology. Some notable tradeshows are The Irrigation Association Show and The GIE Expo.
Many distributers will host a gathering of several manufacturers. These manufacturers will provide talks on a variety of lighting topics. These presentations will be lighting industry specific and educational rather than a brand specific sales pitch. Topics may include such things as nighttime photography, LED specifics, and project bidding.Seek out topics that will benefit you and your company. Distributers will also host training seminars sponsored by a manufacturer.Normally these are held at your local branch or hotel conference room.This type ofseminarnormally includessome hands-on learning.
Factory Direct Training
Many manufacturers have outstanding training facilities at their factories. These facilities are equipped with live demonstration areas to show and teach such things as proper application and installation techniques. During a factory visit you may also be able to tour the manufacturing area. This is a great opportunity to see how the products you install are actually manufactured and assembled. And some manufacturers are willing to come to you, especially if they have a training specialist on staff with field experience. These specialists can provide product training to your service techs and sales staff at your location. Installation and design training can also be held at a jobsite.
Local Contractor Associations
Many of the local Landscape Contractor Associations offer continuing education courses. These classes are held at the association’s office or at a sponsored location.
The Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals is an organization headed by contractors for contractors. The AOLP offers training courses for Certified Low Voltage Lighting Tech as well as Certified Outdoor Lighting Designer. The instructors for these courses are among the top lighting contractors in North America.
Educational opportunities are everywhere; seek and you shall find! And my advice to you is “learn at least one new fact every day”! Challenge yourself and challenge others! Your business will keep growing if you keep growing.