Written by Huiping Iler
Originally published on The Association of Language Companies (ALC) Blog
Isn’t a retreat just for fun?
The Unconference in Carmel was essentially a retreat for translation company owners. But why is so great to have a retreat? – I mean the food and ocean views were wonderful but couldn’t we have been more productive at our offices chugging away and making money?
Hi, my name is Huiping Iler, I am the president of wintranslation, a Canadian translation company with its headquarters in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.
Building deep and authentic relationships
As human beings, we rejoice in the company of like-minded people; when we feel we belong; when we share our pain and joy and establish a deep and authentic connection with those around us. When that connection is there, there is trust. When there is trust, we share even more.
Each one of us is a CEO or a senior manager at a language business. We each have unique knowledge of processes, industry verticals and technologies yet we have so much in common. Our experiences are beneficial to each other. That experiences get exchanged and become powerful knowledge for building success and wealth when we trust each other and share.
That is what Carmel did for me. I reunited with old friends and made new ones. Through breakfasts, lunches, scavenger hunts, tennis and evening drinks, I got to know these company owners not just as entrepreneurs. They are people – human beings that have their triumphs and heart aches.
Things I learned
I learned some very interesting things. An example is a bidding strategy for public sector contracts. One company was bidding 1 cent per word for low volume languages and very high price for frequently used languages. The calculation formula set out in the procurement protocol is such that their price was the lowest yet they made amazing profit from the high margin, high volume languages while taking a loss on the low volume languages.
Another thing was the benefit and strategies of having an advisory board. I had been wanting to do that for a very long time and never did it because I did not know how to compensate the advisor. One West Coast company owner shared how he organized his advisory board. All of a sudden, a light went on for me and I am confident my company will have an advisory board very soon!
A treat for the heart and brain
I often thought with each conference I go to, if I can come back with one thing, make one positive change, come up with a creative solution for a persistent problem, then the conference would have been worthwhile for me. Carmel was definitely that. The friendships I built, from Carmel and other ALC conferences make me warm and fuzzy inside. The knowledge I learned from the other owners who have been there, done that have the warm and fuzzy effect on my brain.
Inspiration, personal expansion, growth – those are things that make me wake up each day with a smile and feel grateful that I am alive!