State of the (NWHD) Union – September 2013

Who writes a blog every six months? Kids, this is NOT how to drive hits on your website!!

Then again, I never set out to build a website optimized for search engines. I set out to build a rep agency. And thank goodness, I’m having more success in that arena then I am in publishing a monthly journal entry.

Here we are on the two-year anniversary of launching the business. Still grateful, still having fun. And without a doubt, growing the business. In fact, the past 12 months have generated a groundswell of business that presents some great questions. “Am I meeting the expectations of my clients and customers?” “Can I take on more business on my own?” “Is now the time to bring on a partner, or a contractor?” As you can see, these are good questions. Important questions. The type of questions, as a business owner, you want to have.

The answers to these questions are developing. Evaluation of client / customer satisfaction is ongoing, always subject to the quality of work performed in any given month, week, or even day. All of us, regardless of position, should be asking ourselves if we’ve met that standard. More often than not, we’ll see opportunities for improvement – I know I surely do. At the end of the day, the market will tell us if we’ve delivered value or not.

The question of expansion is trickier, and requires a near-term resolution. The more I examine the issue, the more I see a need to bring in a partner.

For one thing, I am an individual with limited resources. Right? Very soon I will reach a big milestone … three decades in the heavy truck business. But I do not, and cannot, presume to be an expert on every system or evolving technology. Likewise I do not, contrary to some people’s opinion, know everyone in the industry.

 There are some vehicle systems that I understand on a fairly high level. Cab controls. Air systems. Fuel handling systems. Safety systems. Brake systems. Ride height control. Multiplexing. Sensors. Mechatronics. Seating. There are more, and you get the idea, but folks, that’s leaving out a lot.

The same can be said for contacts. Yes, I’ve worked with a lot of people in the industry. As an account manager and sales leader, I’ve met with a lot of engineers, a lot of buyers. I have connected with people in marketing, product planning, test, field service, warranty, etc. Through TMC and HDMA there is a whole other network of Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers that are my professional peers (many of whom are good friends). So yeah, I’m connected, but let’s be honest. My direct contacts are still a fraction compared to the industry as a whole. I can only hope that there’s only one or two degrees of separation between my contacts and the one’s I hope to work with.

So does it make sense to build a one-man agency based around these core competencies that I have? Or does it make more sense to partner with other individuals that complement my expertise with specialties of their own? Is that what clients want? Is that what customers value? I think so. I think so.

For now, I am privileged to serve clients with a fantastic array of technology that includes cab systems (visibility, air horns), interior and exterior lighting, ride height control, mechanical and electronic cab controls, custom software solutions, and an array of switches and sensors. Please let me know if you have an interest in any of these areas.

A year from now there will be another State of The Union entry. Hopefully there will be a few mid-year blog posts. And who knows … one of them might be a formal announcement of expansion. Stay tuned!!

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Reader Comments (1)

Could have fooled me John - I thought you really DID know everybody in the industry!! Glad to hear that things are going so well. While there are always problems to be solved and questions to be answered in the business world, it sounds like you have the very best kind to be dealing with. Continued success my friend!

September 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Traylor

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