Picture This: Serious Business at a Tropical Resort

RSPA Channel Leaders Report

By: Jim Roddy, President & CEO at the RSPA

We all know a picture’s worth a thousand words; but sometimes that picture doesn’t tell the whole story. RSPA Inspire is a perfect example of this.

Our association’s annual winter conference is held at gorgeous resorts in warm locations (like Hawaii, Aruba, and up next Puerto Rico in 2024) and features tropical excursions (like whale watching, snorkeling, and kayaking). So when photos from Inspire are shared, they create an illusion that the event is a boondoggle from sun up to after dark.

Here’s what you wouldn’t see looking at a thousand Inspire photos (which would translate into a million words, by the way): Serious business takes place at RSPA Inspire. A few examples:

  • A VAR member attended Inspire for the first time in 2023. Sitting at his table for the morning workshops was an executive from an RSPA distributor member. Because Inspire education sessions facilitate attendee engagement, they talked and found mutual opportunities. The VAR picked up a new product line which grew his sales, and he’s now enjoying one of his most profitable years ever.
  • An Inspire speaker a few years back instructed attendees how to embrace the Entrepreneurial Operating System. For three days, VARs and ISVs dove deep into operational best practices for SMBs through exercises and discussions. One VAR told me after she implemented EOS, her business transitioned from floundering to growing to thriving.
  • The photos from one Inspire in Hawaii showed mountains, palm trees, and glistening water. But there’s no photo of the reseller who tracked me down afterwards to say the recurring revenue session at that event was the best channel education they experienced during their career. There also isn’t a photo of the VAR who told me the lessons shared during that session improved his business forever.

I’ll share one personal story with you as well from my days at Business Solutions Magazine. During one Inspire, BSM Chief Editor Mike Monocello and I gathered tons of industry intelligence which we were downloading to each other during our flight back home. That’s where we hatched an idea to extend the BSM product line which positively impacted our bottom line by six figures over the next few years. But what was the reaction of our co-workers when they saw a photo in RSPA Connect of Mike and me kayaking during an Inspire excursion? “Looks like you guys were really working hard,” they said sarcastically.

Team RSPA describes Inspire as “Networking Nirvana” because it’s both the best place on the planet to engage with retail IT channel leaders and it’s hosted in an idyllic setting. Inspire proves an event can be both bliss and business.

Inspire 2024, set for Jan. 28-31, will be true to that theme for sure. Photo-worthy aspects will include the host Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort, a rainforest adventure, a catamaran and snorkeling excursion, and the celebration dinner at Vista Verde Gardens.

Those jaw-dropping scenes will likely overshadow the interactive workshops about cash discounting and industry trends on Monday; culture, hiring, and employee retention Tuesday; and monetizing AI, robotics, alternative payments, and retail media networks Wednesday.

I hope you attend Inspire 2024 so you can experience firsthand the blend of golden beaches and serious business – and snap memorable photos to share with friends and family.

Jim Roddy
President & CEO, RSPA

To register for RSPA Inspire, visit GoRSPA.org/inspire
Email Membership@GoRSPA.org about special first-time attendee rates

Jim Roddy is the President and CEO of the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA). He has been active in the retail IT channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as an RSPA board member, one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board, and several years as a business coach for VARs, ISVs, and MSPs. Jim has been recognized as one of the world’s Top Retail Influencers by RETHINK Retail, a Leading CannaTech Influencer by The CannaTech Group, and is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences on SMB best practices. He is author of two books – The Walk-On Method To Career & Business Success and Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer – and is host of the award-winning RSPA Trusted Advisor podcast. For more information, contact JRoddy@GoRSPA.org.