Please don't laugh, but one of my favorite movies growing up was “The Parent Trap,” a saccharine, lighthearted tale of mistaken identity and misadventure, starring a cloned pair of tow-headed Hayley Millses. As is typical with most Disney movies, despite the film’s decidedly cheesy overtones, it does offer a few good life lessons: Summer camp can change your life, things aren’t always as they appear and two heads are better than one.
The latter lesson is one that has stuck with me, and time after time it rarely fails to prove itself true. Life’s problems seem not-so-bad when you have a spouse, a sibling or a good friend to help shoulder the burden and encourage you along your way.
It’s much the same in business; we’re more successful when we work together. September’s American Lighting Association  Conference provides the perfect forum for us to pool our resources. As you will see in this month’s special preview section, the annual meeting of the minds offers a plethora of opportunities for you to get to know your “neighbors,” including dedicated networking activities and festive social gatherings. And the chances for reaching out don’t end there. This year’s agenda is packed with interactive panels—for manufacturers, retailers and reps—that encourage you to listen to and learn from the experiences of your industry peers, and you’re invited to share your tales from the storefront, as well.
As the economy continues its downward spiral, now more than ever, it’s time to muster. Take advantage of your time spent at the American Lighting Association  conference (or other industry-wide gatherings), share your business defeats and successes, sit with a new crowd of people and soak in someone else’s arsenal of best practices. You’re sure to come away with and idea or two you can use. The camaraderie can continue back at home, too. Get to know your neighboring retailers and play an active role in community organizations and events. Your business can only benefit from your new-found friendships. After all, you and me are twice the fun.