I just got home from the 2017 NRA Annual Meeting a few hours ago. When I get home people always want to hear about the newest guns and gear and what I thought about them. Of course I saw some really great stuff. There are some companies doing some great things. I probably added a half dozen guns to my wish list that I don't ever see my self being able to afford. There will be many other blogs for you to check out that will go over guns and gear. So I'll save the product reviews for the pros and share a few highlights from my trip.
My bags are mostly unpacked (thanks for rearranging everything in my suitcase TSA...) and I'm rifling through a pile of stickers, patches and business cards. The pile of business cards excites me. I look at the pile of business cards as beginnings to new friendships and if it's meant to be, some will be business opportunities. To me the friendships really come first.
More people than at any other show I have been to took the time to seek me out. It could have something to do with the free patches I was handing out and a backpack full of NeoMags. It was really exciting for me to have the chance to chat with people. If you took the time to find me and are reading this, thank you!
A hand full of booths I stopped at were familiar with the NeoMag and many said they use it daily. A couple people even had it on them right then. Several booths welcomed me in and said they have been wanting to talk to me about carrying the NeoMag in their shop as they see the need and value in the product for their customers. All of this left me really excited for the future of the brand and product I pour so much into.
On Saturday I attended The Gun Collective panel. It's a Town Hall style event with about 8 of the top YouTube channel hosts. Anyone was invited to step up to a microphone and ask one or all of the guys a question. (You can watch the event in its entirety on The Gun Collective Facebook page if you are interested.) Some great questions were asked and great answers were given.
After the panel was done I stuck around to try and introduce my self to as many of the hosts as possible. I have been looking for an opportunity to meet these guys for over a year. I figured this was as good as I'm ever going to have to get my name, face, and product in front of these guys.
The first one I get to talk to is Eric (AKA IV8888). As I am giving him a 30 second run down of the NeoMag I hear a voice from behind me say "Yea the NeoMag! I have one right here!" I turn around and a young man behind me reaches into his pocket and pulls a magazine from his NeoMag. Honestly at that moment I was so excited about someone randomly being there that was so enthusiastically using a NeoMag that I forgot I was there to connect with Eric.
After my conversation with Eric was over I turned around, introduced my self, shook his hand, thanked him for his support, and gave a patch to the guy. He wouldn't let me leave without a photo with him. It's moments like this that make all the hard work and stress worth it. It's exciting to meet someone excited about what I'm passionate about.
It can be stressful to go to these shows when it's your job. Long lists of meetings and expectations I put on my self for what I want to happen can be consuming. Thankfully I have made some great connections and friendships with a few other small businesses in the firearm industry. Usually when we talk throughout the year it's business so it was great to have the time to get dinner, hang out and decompress after the show.
In my last post I said everything I post here will have something to do with the Sword & Trowel or Build & Protect. So how does this fit? One of Nehemiah's tasks was to build a wall. One of my tasks is investing in people. Whether it's loving my customers, building business relationships or hanging out with friends, I see opportunities to invest in people. Like in the stories I tell above the reward for investing in people can be so many things. Validation, business growth, and friendships are just the beginning.
Carry on, Graig