After blocking and tackling (another in this series), you have to think out of the box to stay ahead of the competition and the industry in general. Here are a few ways to stimulate your out-of-the-box thinking:
- Read, read, and then read more. Your competitors aren’t doing it, so they don’t know what they don’t know. The latest management and leadership tactics, tax avoidance, technology tools, the list goes on and on, but it’s all out there; there aren’t really any secrets.
- Attend conventions, join your association, and go to as many training course as possible, at least 4 per year. Your association’s trade show and seminars are great ways to learn more.
- Although trade shows and conventions are great, hanging out in the bar with other operators will give you a wealth of ideas about what to do and what not to do.
- I loved attending trade shows of related industries. The collision repairers had great conventions and trade shows, and I attended every third year or so. I saw the greatest new tools, marketing techniques and products, technology and HR-related items. The new car dealer’s association, NADA, was 10 years or more ahead of us in almost all areas, and their members were focused on getting the customers’ money and keeping them happy, while making a good profit. What great goals for any business owner!
- Don’t be afraid to be a rebel. I was one of the first to use direct mail. Nationwide. I had competitors call me from across the country and tell me “Don’t be mailing my customers your materials; when they need something, they will call me, and I will call you.” WOW. But old habits and paradigms die hard. Try things you learn that have never been tried; some will be great and set you apart from your competitors.
- I also read publications off the beaten path, like Advertising Age, and magazines related to factory production and efficiency. I read to learn what others were doing and teaching. There is a wealth of information out there. I love marketing, and think it’s key to maximum success, so I was always hungry for the latest ideas. INC magazine wrote a 4-page articles in 1995 about how my yard tracked mailers, prospects, customers, and close rates, which was truly innovative at the time. Even today, most yards don’t do it.
Remember only you can make business great!
Ron Sturgeon, Mr. Mission Possible, has been a successful business owner for more than 35 years. As a small business consultant, he can deliver wisdom and advice gleaned from an enviable business career that started when he opened a VW repair business as a homeless 17-year-old and culminated in the sale of several businesses he built to Fortune 500 companies.
Ron has helped bankers, lawyers, insurance agents, restaurant owners, and body shop owners, as well as countless salvage yard owners to become more successful business people. He is an expert in helping small business owners set the right business strategies, implement pay-for- performance, and find new customers on the web.
As a consultant, Ron shares his expertise in strategic planning, capitalization, compensation, growing market share, and more in his signature plainspoken style, providing field-proven, and high-profit best practices well ahead of the business news curve. Ron is the author of nine books, including How to Salvage More Millions from Your Small Business.
To inquire about consulting or keynote speaking, contact Ron at 817-834-3625, ext. 232, rons@MrMissionPossible.com, 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117.