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Volume 7    Issue 4            July/August 2005

Field of Vision
     from the Editor

Who's Whining Now?
by Charles Cumpston

As you will find in looking through the pages of this issue, there is a lot going on in our industry—major things with the potential for seismic changes.

These same topics—what State Farm and the other insurance companies are doing, dealing with networks and third-party administrators, the continued sale of mid-size companies—are also frequent topics of conversation on our online Message Forum at

One of the most interesting aspects of many posting I read there is the retort that a previous poster is “whining.” 

Typical post and response: (Post) We don’t have control of our businesses and they are killing us. (Response) Stop whining. You’ve bought into their program so you have to play by their rules. Get out of it and take control of your own business.

Then, there are the peacemakers who follow with a post like this: It may seem like he is whining, but he has a good point. Don’t try to intimidate people by calling them whiners.

Well, I don’t want to intimidate anyone, but I do have a question. Are there whiners who really can’t or don’t want to take control of their own businesses and all the responsibility that entails? Or is blowing off a healthy amount of steam through frustration and sharing knowledge through the AGRR Message Forum both healthy for the individual and the industry?

Call me the universal diplomat. I think it’s yes to both.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that there are people, too many of them, who don’t really understand how to run a business as thoroughly as they should. They lack the ability to keep one going successfully in all the ups and downs that any business encounters. These people tend to be called whiners.

There are people who are running businesses who have that innate (or so it seems to me) ability to see a situation for what it is, to be able to project what the future is likely to bring based on what is happening now, and can make the adjustments to successfully adapt a business and keep it running profitably. These tend to be whiner-callers.

As an observer, I can see what the probable future is for both these types of companies. 

For those business owners who are indeed venting frustration with peers whom they feel will understand what they are going through, I counsel caution. Understand that this is what you are doing. Don’t be the whiner who blames every outside resource for your failure to take responsibility and control your own company. 

We are an entrepreneurial industry, and traditionally it has been easy for a well-trained technician who is so inclined to go out on his own and start his own business.

However, in today’s world that is far from a guarantee of success. Running a business today requires savvy and a sophisticated understanding of many different areas (finance, employee relations, marketing, government regulations) that have nothing to do with auto glass whatsoever.

Successful business owners today are good business people, just like they always have been. Take responsibility. That’s the winning formula. 

Charles Cumpston is the editor of AGRR.

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