thoughts from the shop
Everybody Needs Somebody
by David A. Casey
Everybody needs somebody sometime. You can grow further, faster and more enjoyably when you have tangible technical, marketing and emotional support in operating and growing your business. Some of us have this support built into our companyís system, but some independent repairers donít and are missing out on a lot of support, education and enjoyment.
I had the opportunity recently to meet with more than 100 windshield repairers at our recent annual SuperGlass convention in Orlando. I had one of the best weekends of the year as we shared technical and marketing issues that affect our businesses and soaked up the warm weather together. But I was surprised by how much I benefited emotionally from just being with a large group of friendly, supportive people who share a common vision.
No Holds Barred
The educational benefits that we derived from attending were important to all of us, but were equaled by the enjoyment that came from being able to relax and talk about windshield repair, basic business and marketing plans in a comfortable, friendly environment.
As I looked back on the event afterward, the rewards I got from it and the unique opportunity to meet with so many people with such a common interest, I realized that not many people in the windshield repair business have the same opportunity to enjoy and benefit from the same type of gathering.
Meeting with your peers each year offers a rare chance to share and compare recent technical updates and upgrades that make us all better repairers.
One of the things that made it easy for us to share information and relax completely was the fact that we donít compete with each other. Any information shared just makes us all better at repair and service.
So, I started thinking, ďHow could other repairers enjoy the same type of benefits of sharing information and enjoying the company of others, when they donít belong to an organization like ours that holds an annual meeting or convention?Ē
Make New Friends
My first thoughts are the glass industry trade association memberships, which offer annual events with a wealth of business and technical knowledge and the opportunity to meet and talk with lots of people in your same position as a small business owner. AGRR magazine and its parent company, Key Communications Inc., also hosts Glass Expos in each season regionally across the United States.
By attending any of these events regularly you can establish relationships that will grow into friendships, which you will look forward to revisiting each year. You will be more informed about issues that will affect your business in the upcoming year and the strategies to help you take advantage of that knowledge.
All states have some form of glass association that will offer memberships or associate memberships that will give you access to conferences, newsletters, e-mail information and regular meetings. Many cities have their own associations for the same purpose and can help turn some of your current competitors into allies.
Outside the glass industry there are associations and organizations that serve some small businesses and provide education as a major product for its services. The National Association for the Self-Employed (www.nase.org) and your local Chamber of Commerce can give you a forum for creating new business and personal relationships.
Your local Yellow Pages also has listings under the headings of clubs, organizations and associations that may lead you to business support groups that fit your needs.
Do yourself a favor and tap into some of the resources outside your immediate area of influence and see if you donít find yourself more professionally and personally rewarded by the experience.
David A. Casey is president of SuperGlass Windshield Repair Inc. in Orlando, Fla.
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