If you’re thinking about downsizing and rightfully feeling overwhelmed, you will find it beyond belief that people from across the country would gleefully plunk down airfare, hotel and conference fees to talk and think about nothing but downsizing for four straight days. But you’re not a move manager, and you’ve never been to the annual National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) conference. The NASMM conference is such a magical event that not only do members flock to it, they willingly get up for sessions at 7:30 am and talk late into the night. But that’s what happens when a big group of people who are passionate about what they do get together.
The 400 +/- conference attendees range from Diamond Society members (10+ years in business) to newbies who have barely picked out a name for their company. Because it’s an entrepreneurial industry driven by small independent businesses, there are almost as many business models as there are attendees. Some companies have 30 plus employees, others are solopreneurs. NextStage Associates is somewhere in the middle; we have a team of eight and we are in our eighth year of moving clients forward.
We come home from the conference with ideas, enthusiasm, a rededication to best practices and the happy feeling of having been with “our pack.” Being a move manager has it’s challenging moments, but there’s no way to spend four days with people who love what they do as much as we do and not come back ready for another year of getting stuff done.
Being a part of NASMM is something move managers take seriously. There are requirements for learning, business practices, and most important, a code of ethics that we all subscribe to. It’s a professional trade organization that thrives because members share their knowledge and skill of members in volunteer roles. (I was lucky enough to be asked to be on the committee choosing programs for this year’s conference.)
Being so engaged with so many of our peers invariably leads to introspection: things we do well, things we can do better, things we might consider adding as services. Although only two of us attended the conference this year, we rally the entire team together to talk, reflect, review and sometimes reinvent when we get back.
The spring selling season is approaching. We know because the phone is ringing. A lot. We’re looking forward to meeting new clients and teaming up with them to get them from where they are to where they want to be. We have a few new tricks up our sleeves to make those moves easier and less stressful. There’s so much more to a transition than boxes and packing paper. The details that make you feel overwhelmed–we love telling our clients not to worry, we’ve got it for them.
And we’re already looking forward to next year’s conference, because we know we’ll come back smarter, energized and as excited as we have for the past five years!