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Networking with others?


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I have been getting some mentoring advice from the people we get our marketing program from. They mentioned that some groups of labs are getting together to help each other provide services, support and networking.

Has anyone tried organising a social get-together with others in the industry to get something like this happening? Nowadays we're not so much competing with each other (well not the indies anyway!) but the Asdas and Tescos of this world. Just my two pence worth!

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We have not organised a meeting but have been around and introduced ourselves to other photo shops which has worked well. Now I have the local Jessops and Photopoint referring customers for work they can't do quickly. If it keeps up we might have to send them some sticky buns as a thank you

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Adding your location to your profile/s helps so we know where everyone is  ;)

A long time back, I did suggest that we have a mini network/mini conference but only for the small lab owners. Sadly even though I was willing to orgainse it, there was little interest.

But as time has moved on, would their be any interest in such a thing? I have trade suppliers that would also be willing to attend.  Location, Location, and if any interest was/is show where? I have good contacts and facilities in the North West?

Over to those looking at this thread  ;)

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  Sadly, no, this doesn't happen in the UK. Well, it does in London and Birmingham, but thats about it.

Things are a little different in Australia, some of your farms are larger than our counties, therefore you are used to travelling further. In fact you expect to travell, for just about anything. Here we tend to take the car, even if it is only down the road. And the price of fuel!!!    LOL...

Back on subject, I think it would do us all good to make a few connections, refresh our perspectives, and swap sticky buns. Those 'stubbies' sound a bit dicey, sound all full of cholesterol, or alchohol, or both. Wouldn't mind trying one, but I bet it wouldn't go with a cupa tea as well as a sticky bun does. :X

Try again. Neil tried very hard to organise an indy conference, but due to lack of general enthusiasm, it fell by the wayside. It seemed to go quiet after Neil asked for volunteers to help with the logistics.

I, for one, would love to meet some of the contributors on this site (and those who just view).

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We have approached some shops to see whether we could process their films for them. I imagine they won't be able to justify running their C41's for much longer given the volumes. No one has come over yet, but at least its a start and we will follow up again soon.

Like others mentioned the local labs are referring trade to us as well so I think the industry is working closer together finally.

PMA should be running regional meetings as it used to be a very strong association. I never see them getting involved with this forum which is very sad as it would be a perfect way for them to communicate with us all.

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The PMA (UK) are aware of this forum.. But I am no longer a member, so do not get the news like I used to. I would urge everyone to support the PMA.

I did have the idea a couple of years back to do a independent mini conference for members of minilabhelp.com But as pointed out there was little interest at that time.

However, as time moves on, I would say that networking with others is going to prove to be vital for the survival of our independent stores. We all learn so much when talking to others, and always come away with e renew of energy.

I do not mind organising such an event, but it can not happen with out some help and support. For this to happen we would need at least 30/50 labs/people to attend. Location would be important, I would suggest the North West as this is central to the UK. I know of a couple of ideal hotels.

Ticket price would be around

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Since we're talking about the PMA, may I mention that their new AIP (Association of Imaging Professionals) might be a really good organization for independent labs who want to organize and network to join?

http://www.pmai.org/index.cfm/ci_id/37654/la_id/1.htm

Also, Neil, if you can get enough interest for a mini conference for the indies, you could contact me at www.photomart.co.uk regarding corporate support for it. (I could possibly help to promote it as well.)

Alternatively, I've been thinking about running a series of focus group evenings for independent labs at locations around the country this Autumn, with www.photomart.co.uk and a corporate sponsor. If the mini conference idea doesn't fly, perhaps we could possibly work together with minilabhelp to run these evenings as networking events?

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Hi,

couldn't agree with you more about the importance of networking with others - that is probably the primary reason I visit this forum !

AS a UK minilab owner - I take every opportunity to go visit/meet/network with other mad fools, - it's the only way to learn, and survive, - and forums, supplier meetings, trade fairs, and the PMA all have their place. - not forgetting personal visits when in other towns etc (so do pop by if you are in Newcastle!)

More than 2 members of UK PMA national council regularly use this forum, - and there are many other PMA forums too.

There are plans afoot for a PMA organised retail support day later in 2008 which I hope you will find useful.

There will be a program of workshops and talks for retailers & minilabs, with some evening do too.

Personally I always get the most from the drinks at the bar, but we all network in different ways.....

PMA (uk) have tried to set up regional meetings but with poor response, - but maybe we could re-visit this one in the future.

ALTERNATELY

why doesn't someone on the forum suggest a nominated MInilab Help hotel to stay over at when at FOCUS next year, so that instead of trailing across the midlands we can spend more time drinking, and less time in taxi's !

Phil

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I thought the PMA events in Droitwich were always well attended because the location was central and most could get there for the day at least. Regional networking events sound good and we will keep a watch out for these.

Another thing we've considered is twinning with labs overseas so we can share ideas and establish benchmarking etc. There are lots of good ideas out there and sometimes I think we need to look further for the best ones.

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Simon (Photomart) many thanks for the contribution and offer to help  :) I have also now also been contacted by the PMA, so looks like we are going in the right direction.

As Phil mentions above, part of the fun and learning happens in the bar (Me and Phil have had some late drinks in the past) I know of a venue that may be ideal. Its 15 minutes from Manchester airport, next to a train/tram station, a 20 minute tram ride from Manchester Piccadilly train station, 20 minutes from the M6 and close to other motorway networks. It has free car parking, plenty of rooms, a restaurant, function and meeting rooms etc. Not the cheapest, but also not the most expensive.

In these times of change, this would be a golden opportunity, for the small lab owners to meet each other, share real life experience, what works and what does not. Plus I am sure we can also have some from the <trade> in attendance to maybe demo and show some things that they have to offer.

Please continue to contribute to this thread with ideas, suggestions etc etc, and lets see what we can come up with.

Thanks everyone for at last being positive about this <maybe> idea (drink1)

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Really great idea for all us small people to keep in touch all the time and to share ideas BUT some of us are so small that no staff or only one staff is all we have so going anywhere on a Saturday is impossible. Much as we'd like to meet up with many of the names we see on this forum not possible I'm afraid.

Denis

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I know there are lots of labs with only one or two operators who can not get away. That's why this forum is so good for us all to network and keep up with trends. We've had some big changes in our business over the past few years and contacts we've built up here have really helped us.

If PMA do watch this site perhaps they could add an article to their newsline magazine? Looking through past copies I don't see any mention, but it would be good if others knew about it. We had no idea till a rep told us.

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We would prefer prefer regional meetings as it is too hard to take a full day or weekend at the moment. If suppliers were holding roadshows that would be a great way of us to get together - even just to meet local labs. We can always take the odd half-day here or there, but weekends are out for me unfortunately. Good idea about an article in the PMA magazine. Would be good to see more contributors on this site.

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Right, I am trying to progress this shocked.gif and know, that its going to be hard, if not impossible to please everyone with, dates, venues, times and locations. But I will try my best in the next 24/72 hours I hope to have a new portal with suggestions etc to how this may be able to to work. PhotoMart are on board to help and promote, and also possibly the PMA.

If you are a sole trader, yes, its tricky to leave you shop, but I will try and so something over a weekend, so even if you are working on a Saturday, you may still be able to come and network with others after work.

This will be run as a independent event, so you will not need to be a member of a trade organization, but by attending, you may learn why you should be, you will also meet other friends, and get real life stories, advice, and contributions from fellow independent lab owners.

For any business, not just photographic, we are in for a rocky time over the next couple of years, so lets share ideas, and support each other.

More details will be here soon.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Says She who just went where? Cheeky Mare(1syellow)(1syellow)(1syellow)(1syellow)(1syellow)

There's allways room on my Fergy, I guesse if the others want to come too, we could hitch the trailer.

(Must give you a bell, got my presses).

Timing for things like this is allways a problem, I guesse the best time of the year is Jan/ Feb, but it seems that most Lab owners take their holidays then, so maybe not. I am only taking my break in October because I need one before the pre-Christmas madness (I hope!).

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Any more news on this yet Neil?

Sorry for the long delay on progressing this. I will try and get an update on what is what very soon. I do now have cost, etc, but need to speak to a few people.

<Gulity> I have been takeing mini breaks for the last few weeks, and this continues to the end of August, but am in the office midweek.

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