I know about as much about football as I do about quantum physics. Being from New York, I was happy when the Giants won, but other than that, I couldn't tell you who scored the first or last touchdown. When I heard that Mike Ditka was the keynote speaker at the recent Car Wash Show™ in Las Vegas, I was excited in that I had at least heard of him (thanks to a few Saturday Night Live sketches).
Shuffling into the Showroom on May 8 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center (which is where The Car Wash Show™ was held from May 7-9), there was definitely a buzz in the air, and you could just tell that the attendees were excited.
After a few remarks from International Carwash Association® Executive Director and CEO Eric Wulf, who also announced that Bill Martin, of Metro Express Car Wash in Boise, ID, was the 2012 inductee into the Car Wash Hall of Fame, he set the stage for Ditka to come out and address the crowd. And, address the crowd he did.
Ditka didn't give a scripted speech. He spoke as if he were talking to friends on the golf course or in a bar. He gave a brief bio on himself. Cracked a few jokes about his career, and gave some tips on how to be successful, not just as a business owner, but in life as well. Actually, his advice was pretty simple: Be good, not bad. Be positive, not negative. Ditka didn't preach to the crowd, but instead made it very clear that good things don't just happen, they come with hard work and a non-dubious attitude. "Practice doesn't make perfect," he told the crowd. "Perfect practice makes perfect."
The football legend didn't hold back his praise for the carwashing industry either. He admitted to taking his vehicle to the carwash at least three times a week, thanks to his cigar habit. He said he goes not just for the services it provides, but he likes going because of the people. Having good people work for you is imperative. You can have great food at a restaurant, he said, but if the service isn't any good, no one will come back. Ditka, who owns three successful restaurants, also said that when owning a business, it's important to never be satisfied with being satisfactory. "Whatever you've done, you can always do better," he said.
My favorite part of his keynote had to be when he looked out at the crowd and point blankly said, "You people are the real people of the world. You're the backbone of America. You're what makes it go." That's some strong praise from a legend. And it's something I believe as well.
As for The Car Wash Show™, I would say it was a success overall. Attendance numbers were up 4 percent, education sessions were standing room only, and attendees and exhibitors told me they thought it was a great show, with a lot of good energy. So, let's all hope that positive vigor carries over and sets the course for the second half of 2012.
Until next month,