John O'Connor
John O’Connor

Let’s face it: running a senior living organization is a lot like traversing a mine field. One false move and things can turn ugly in no time.

Given the many uncertainties each operator faces, I’m amazed that more of them don’t do something that’s guaranteed to improve their odds for success. At the risk of sounding like a shill, that something is attending the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care’s Fall Conference.

Sadly, fewer than 2,500 people will be at this year’s event next week in Washington. Given the huge volume of operators and capital providers in this sector, that is indeed a meager showing, even if the limit is by design.

For that means that the overwhelming majority of players in this sector are missing out on an unmatched opportunity to make business-generating connections, learn more about why and when to invest, position their organizations — and gain the latest data and insight about what is actually going on. Oh, and did I mention that some of the biggest names and best minds in the field will be there?

In many ways, this sector is at a real crossroads now. Many operators will need to figure out whether they ultimately are in the healthcare or hospitality business. Others must decide which niche is their best fit for the long haul. The NIC conference is a great place to get the insight and contacts needed to help make such decisions more informed.

To be sure, this is not a “cheap” event to attend. And sadly, many people who would like to get in will be turned away.

Still, it’s worth a try. You can register here.

The odds are pretty good you may not be able to get in. Should that happen, here’s my advice: sign up as soon as possible for next year.

Some business opportunities are difficult to size up. As for whether attending the NIC Fall Conference is worth it? That just might be the biggest no-brainer there is.

John O’Connor is editorial director of McKnight’s Senior Living. Email him at [email protected].