May/June  2001

an iga viewpoint


Is Diversification Beneficial?

by Donovan Trana


I’ve been talking to many glass shop owners who are disappointed in sales levels. They’re wondering if they need to look into diversification. During the past 20 years, I’ve had my share of successes and failures when it comes to diversification. I have to admit I’ve had more of the latter than the former. 

Jim Schell, a noted entrepreneur and small business owner, puts it well: “Many business owners try to offer more services than they can successfully provide,” he said. “The successful business is one that is operated with the recognition that its resources are finite, that the business can only do so much and do it well. 

Have you ever felt like there is more to be done to get your business to that next level than you honestly have time for? What makes you think that adding the complexity that diversification creates will somehow magically produce the time that you never had? 

For most business owners the solution to lackluster sales should not be a shotgun approach, creating new revenue streams, but rather a laser-beam approach, analyzing what forces that rob sales volume are at play. Is it employee turnover or indifference? Or maybe it’s a lack of efficiency or market awareness. 

Times are a-changing! These times call for out-of-the-box thinkers and doers. Those businesses that are diversified are faced with two choices—eliminate the noise of diversification, or involve experts and apply business tools that build efficiency into the total operation. Those who are not diversified need to focus! I haven’t seen a glass business yet (including my own) that can’t benefit from a whopping dose of fresh ideas and solutions. We’ve seen large glass companies repeatedly evidence their vulnerability to small glass shops that are highly-focused and resourceful. When times get tough, there is a price to pay for not knowing your business better than your competitor. Wishing the old days would come back is tantamount to failure. Forget the old days and start building a new future for your business, where you determine your destiny.

wpe2F.jpg (1675 bytes)Donovan Trana is president of the Independent Glass Association and owner of Express! Auto Glass in Muscatine, Iowa.



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