|First, an admission. Paul Resnik and I like the people who run small businesses. It’s probably because they are like us: interested in the world and ambitious to change it for the better.|
The conference is simply stuffed full of such people. Self-driven individuals who have got off their backsides and travelled: some from distant continents, some from the far reaches of the US and some from just around the corner.
What brings us together is a combination of commercial intent, the search for professional integrity a hunger for knowledge and the collegial atmosphere. In my case I have been travelling to US industry events for more than 10 years and I am still excited by the energy and opportunity that permeates these days.
Paul and I do not get to as many sessions as we should. Too many people to talk to. But the ones we do find time to attend are often inspiring. In the depth of the economic malaise that has enmeshed the US there are individuals and businesses that have great stories to tell and inspiring ideas to share.
Best of all are the sometimes hurried conversations with delegates bustling from one session to the next. The thank yous from strangers, “We have been using you for the last five years and you have made a big difference to our business.” A quick hand shake and they are gone. We are a web business. We market on the web. We sell on the web. We service our clients on the web. We are probably one of the longest surviving web businesses. But we do not get to meet our clients all that often in person. I probably do not need to tell you what a fantastic feeling it is to be appreciated by people you respect.
This year we walk away with a feeling of optimism. Professional financial planners are playing an ever more important role in the wellbeing of their local communities. In these times of growing distrust in the primary limbs of our societies – governments, banks and the media – good planners are a light on the hill. They are good people. We are proud that we can make a small contribution to their success.