Will Sampson takes his wood industry business advisory on the road
Will Sampson
His keynote played well the October 2017 woodworking show in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. So Will Sampson, the redoubtable editor of FDMC magazine and widely respected wood industry figure, is bringing it to Wood Pro Expo at the Charlotte, North Carolina, Convention Center. Will's presentation is sponsored by Quis Machinery.
Sampson's address is part of the show and conference that runs February 14-16, with a pre-show educational tracks and plant tours on February 14; and woodworking equipment and supply expo February 15 and 16. Sampson will keynote February 15, the opening day of the Expo.
Sampson is delivering "Seven Ways Woodworkers Can Improve Their Businesses," which earned plaudits at Wood Pro Expo in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 
"I’m a perennial optimist, so I don’t want to come off too negative," says Sampson. "But I do get frustrated when I hear woodworkers who are convinced that they can’t prosper in their chosen profession without somehow sacrificing creativity or scruples. Maybe they just need a kick in the pants or an opportunity to see potential success from a different angle.
After decades in the woodshop and as a business entrepreneur, FDMC magazine editor Sampson has accumulated a quiver full of advisory arrows, and now has an unprecedented opportunity to let them fly, as the opening address  when the Wood Pro Expo Charlotte expo floor opens February 15. 
Sampson originally titled his talk, "Don't Be That Kind of Woodworker." Then switched to "Seven Ways Woodworkers Fail at Business: Do You Really Want to be a Woodworker Today?" Woodworking Network's marketing department thought that might scare people away. (We think not.) 
Sampson has strong opinions about how easily woodworkers can go astray running a business.
"It’s hard for any business to move ahead if it just focuses on staying afloat in a sea of sharks," says Sampson. "If you are just fighting to survive, you are typically less interested in investing for the future." But that can mean a very limited future for a business, Sampson says.
Woodworkers also tend to be craftsmen first and business operators second, another recipe for disaster.
"It is too easy to overlook business fundamentals while scrambling to get work out the door. But just as no amount of finish will cover up bad preparation on woodwork, there can’t be any profit if your system isn’t in place to build that into the price."
Which leads to another area the raises Sampson's hackles: Pricing. His legendary FDMC Pricing Survey for years has shown wildly varying bids for identical jobs, with no explanation.
"Can the same custom kitchen really cost three times as much from one shop as another? The answer is a resounding yes," he has noted. "This is akin to a customer taking the same bidding specifications to three different shops and getting bids ranging from under $12,000 to nearly $40,000 for a frameless job and from nearly $25,000 to almost $70,000 for the face-frame project."
At Wood Pro Expo Charlotte, expect Sampson to be at turns wry and acerbic. Learn more and register at www.woodproexpo.com 

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About the author
Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for WoodworkingNetwork.com, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for WoodworkingNetwork.com.

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.