Candy Adams, aka “The Booth Mom®,” is a hands-on trade show exhibit project manager and trainer. She helps exhibitors maximize the return on their exhibit investment using the best strategic, tactical and training practices.
Things I Wish Somebody Would Have Told Me About Exhibiting
No. 6 “Good, Fast, Cheap. Pick any two.” vs. Value
In project management, there is a tool known as “the project management triangle.” This triangle is used to show the opposition encountered between a project’s quality, time and cost.
The project management triangle’s meaning is very easily understood when it occasionally shows up on a succinct office sign that says, “Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick any two.” I saw this sign the first time — almost 20 years ago — and will admit to having one permanently hanging in my office. It’s a great reminder of one of the inevitable glitches of managing trade show exhibits: last-minute challenges.
As much as we plan, Murphy’s Law (or Adams’ Law of Exhibiting in an earlier blog) will kick in, and something will slip through a crack, or change or need to wait for an exhibit-critical decision to be made. And all of these can cause budget-busting expenses. Three of the biggest budget busters I encounter are procrastination-based: last-minute changes to exhibit properties, rush charges for graphics production and last-minute shipping.
Another place that this saying is important is knowing when asking for “fast” will result in rush and late charges from your product and service vendors. I’ve worked with vendors who charged double for anything with less than five working days’ notice and triple for anything under two working days. And, on the other hand, I’ve had vendors who don’t increase rates unless they incur overtime charges for inside work or if their outside subcontractors up-charge them.
When it comes down to our “get-it-done” bottom line, remember that the lowest-cost (a.k.a. “cheap”) provider is not always the best option, especially for last minute purchases. Writer Oscar Wilde cautioned against being the “man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Keep in mind that there will be times when the loyalty of a long-time vendor, who may not be the least expensive, will pay off exponentially.