I heard or read a quote recently that really stuck with me. It went something like this:
Running a small business is like driving a car. If you’re looking side to side or behind you you’re not focusing on whats ahead and you’re likely to crash.
We spent so much of 2014 working on our new shop and our process of making pickups. We added two new part time guys, and each has been an amazing addition. It has really helped our overall operation and work flow.
One of the things that helped with the efficiency in the shop process is working on what matters and focusing on the tasks that will allow you to accomplish your goals. That has inspired me to look into other areas of life and how I was focusing on them (or not, in some cases). I like to observe others in business or read about how other businesses have taken off and look for things I can learn from or even things I can avoid. I try to look for common themes in businesses who are successful such as things that make them stand out and keep a good reputation. The last few years I’ve also noticed that businesses can go down in flames very easy if they don’t focus on the important things (Things like filling orders, being honest about your products, etc).
Since the summer and fall, part of the additional focus has been in the online area. Social media has been a great outlet for us to let people know about our business, share news, pictures and sound clips. Unfortunately, it’s the other side of social media–You know, the “Social” part?–that can get a little crazy for a small business owner. You can find people who have taken to the forums talking about your business. It’s often both positive and negative attention. You can be closer involved with customers and connect better than ever before, but at the same time you’re giving access to people who you don’t know.
I am not a huge extrovert by any means. I can get worn out by crowds pretty fast, and I tend to enjoy more close relationships in life. This has been an area i’ve tried to take a step back and evaluate. I want to be involved in forums, connect with customers and just talk gear. I really do love gear or I wouldn’t be trying to make my living building it. We have tried very hard to keep our selling style as non threatening as possible, since I know people don’t want to be sold to all the time. If I’m in a forum solely to try to be cool or get more sales, maybe my true motivation will show in the end.
My wife and I usually spend time each week talking through dynamics of business and direction. We’ve talked more about the increasing responsibilities we have to continue to keep this moving forward. It’s been the theme lately that some of the extra noise can be distracting to the goals of our business.
We have an amazing group of people working for us, we have great customers and industry friends. Those are the things that are worth focusing on for Porter Pickups.
We have some great things in the works for you this year, stay tuned!