May 2006 Volume 45, Issue 4
a dealer's perspective
New and Improved—Almost
The Signs that Your Company is Anemic
by R. Mark Reasbeck
I recently received one of those e-mails that concludes with, “if you don’t want to die,” or “if you want financial blessings,” please pass this to at least seven people.
I never pass these on and I’m still alive and still broke. But this one had a phrase in it that I have questioned over the years: “New and Improved.” How can something be “new” and “improved” at the same time? If it’s new, then it has no history of success or failure, so how do you improve on that? See, in the very first paragraph, I made you think; I want to take this thought a little further.
Room for Improvement
A recent article from a transportation publication came across my desk entitled, “The Tired Company Syndrome.” As I was reading each of the eleven warnings, in my mind , I kept thinking, “Yes, sir, the XYZ supplier has this problem.”
Point number two I’ve seen in the ABC company. Three fit another company, and number 9, well that fits just about every supplier I have ever dealt with.
By the time I was finished, I had a shopping list of folks who I thought needed me to point out that their company required some Geritol. (For those of you under forty, Geritol was the first “energy drink” for iron-poor blood. Our grandparents needed it to move them up a length. I believe it was 25 percent alcohol.)
Just about the third or fourth phone call into expounding my new wave of revelation, my 12-step program teaching kicked in. I needed to take a look at myself, my company, and my way of conducting business. Do I need a drink from the Red Bull River and re-invent the way I do things ? To be honest, I fell into some of the categories, but not as many as the others. (I’m giving myself a pat on the back.)
Hi, My Name is Mark, and I’m …
“A tired company owner, or an owner of a tired company” is what I meant to say. Then again, maybe I’m both. So what are the signs of an anemic company? Glad you asked. Here are some symptoms:
• The dated look: If your brochures have people with plaid sport coats, you should probably update.
• Skewed self image: “We were the first to use insulating glass.”
• No internal challenge: “If the competition played fair and the economy was better, then …”
• A sure thing is just that; you haven’t taken a risk since opening the business.
• Livin’ in the past: You’re trying to promote your success today from achievements of 20 years ago.
• No new ideas: Sometimes you need to think and go outside the box.
• Technology has left the building: Technology is accepted but not invited in.
• Self-absorbed: You can’t recognize that single-paned windows are not what are being sold in the marketplace.
• 40 watt bulbs: Everything is lifeless, from the walls to the employees ... it’s not my job.
• Where does the buck stop? You can’t find anyone who can make a decision.
• Worst-case scenario: Paranoia is rampant. If we do this, how will people take advantage of us?
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
So there you have it. It’s kind of like looking into that magnifying makeup mirror your mom used that would make your blemishes look like the Himalayas. You can take that view and either pull the mirror away and it’s out of your sight, or you can start exfoliating.
Where did I start? The first one. I met with a great little promotion company, and we designed some awesome T-shirts, embroidered sales shirts, caps and tape measures with our logo. As I write, I am having my first service van completely vinyl wrapped with full color photos and on the back doors it reads, “Check out the graphics on the side of this van.”
If you are interested, the inspiration for this column was John R. Graham’s article, “The Tired Company Syndrome.” You can read it at: http://www.grahamcomm.com/mm-26.html. One more thing, the part about me and the 12-step program was made up to enhance the story content and was never intended to give you the satisfaction of thinking you have discovered what is wrong with me. That’s a wrap.
R. Mark Reasbeck is owner of Coyote Springs Window and Door in Las Vegas.
© Copyright 2006 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.