I've reached out to many of you and had the opportunity to listen to concerns and stories of devastation, to share in the heartbreak of having to let teammates go. We've witnessed our industry come to a standstill and watched our life's work evaporate within days. We share this common bond of hardship and worrying uncertainty. When will it end, and what's next? The unknown is so uncomfortable and demoralizing after working so hard for so long.
But we have another common bond, and a very important one: We are all entrepreneurs. We are the same people who started businesses in an industry that barely existed. We risked it all for an opportunity to not only build a business, but an industry.
Each of you has taken a dream and developed it into an incredibly successful business. Your impact as an entrepreneur in this industry and on this world is undeniable and a term used often these days, unprecedented. You have hired hundreds if not thousands of people. You have created opportunities for strangers who are now teammates, clients who are now friends, and vendors who are now strategic partners.
Perhaps most importantly, you have paid it forward and changed the lives of many people. As part of EDPA I've witnessed what you have done for your industry and communities. You should stand tall and be proud of all you have accomplished. This moment in time will not take this away from you.
Your experience as an entrepreneur will be needed again, and more than ever. The good news is that this time you all are far more knowledgeable and experienced. Think about the opportunity before you - you get to start your businesses again and this time with tremendous experience and wisdom. You get to reset everything. The mistakes you made the first time will certainly not be repeated. Remember the first million you sold? How hard was it? How profitable was it? I assure you the first million you sell this time will be much easier and much more profitable.
What separates entrepreneurs from all others is our mindset. That was not taken from us in this crisis. It will be the reason you will succeed again, only this time better than ever. I can't wait to witness it.
Stay tradeshow and event strong!
David Walens, President and CEO