United’s Vision 2011 Event Brings a Crowd

Filed Under (OP News & Views) by Don on 23-05-2011

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I was fortunate to once again attend United Stationer’s Vision show/event this year held last week in Orlando Florida.  Their previous event was held at the same location last in November 2009 and I must say that in my opinion this show had more attendees than previously.  The location at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resortis a beautiful facility and the grounds and golf course are second to none.  United does a great job on their event and this is the fifth United Stationer’s show I have attended.  I have not had the privilege to attend an SP Richards show so I can’t compare theirs to United’s but I have never been disappointed at the event hosted by United (USSCO).

I spent a lot of time this year speaking to other dealers from around the country and I’m never disappointed with the humble temperment and genuine good-heartedness of most dealers.  One very noticable difference this year was the number of attendees in their 20′s and 30′s.  I’ve thought for many years that our industry didn’t do a very good job of attracting workers in this age group but this year proved me wrong.  I heard very little negativity from dealers regarding the economy and most told me that they have learned to do business on a different scale than in years past.  They are reaching out utilizing different methods than before and don’t fear the big-box competitors.  I think the issues the last few years regarding some of the big-boxes have made many dealers realize that we/they can compete on price and when it comes to service we (independent dealers) blow them out of the water.  I’ll discuss some of the other things I learned during future posts so visit here again in the next week.

My compliments to United Stationers on a great show, excellent seminars, and to our host site for great food and a spotless facility.  Kudos to Hewlett-Packard for their Tuesday night party and to all the vendors for their support and participation which makes the event possible.

What was my biggest take-away from this years event?  Jay Baer and his discussion on social media.  Do you participate in Twitter of Facebook as a business?

The last word: “If you live your life in the past, you waste the life you have to live.” -Jessica Cress

Some Not-So-Obvious Reasons Why Some Businesses Fail

Filed Under (OP News & Views) by Don on 01-10-2008

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I was daydreaming today about what it was like when I had my own company and what challenges I would be facing in today’s ‘fubar’ economy. So I began to ask myself some questions and do some retrospective analysis.I’ve got over twenty-five years experience selling, sales management and entrepreneur business owner experience. I no longer own a business and in today’s economic condition that may be a real blessing! It is easy to see some of the obvious reasons why a business fails but what else can spell disaster in a business? Obviously inadequate funding and mismanagement are fairly apparent causes but I’m seeing something else. I have witnessed the failure of some businesses and identified a few things that in my opinion can lead to failure if they are not seen as the potential danger they are.

Lack of vision. Vision for the growth and future potential of the business and, most importantly, the sharing of that vision with your employees. This is your dream, make it happen by sharing your dream and vision with those who have a stake in helping you make that happen.

Lack of direction. While vision and direction are intertwined one cannot succeed with the other. Without direction vision has no where to go and without vision you cannot define your direction.

Lack of communication. Another critical element of the above, vision and direction, but so often the business owner thinks that everyone is on board and thinks the same way he/she does. However, your staff are not mind readers regardless of how talented they are. Openly discuss your plans and aspirations for the future of your business and hold your employees accountable to reaching your dreams (goals). So often I have heard, “I didn’t know we could do that,” or “…so when were you going to tell the rest of us about these changes?” If you’re a small company it may be easy for everyone to be “on the same page”. As your company grows don’t forget about the brainstorming sessions you used to have when your new business was struggling for a piece of the market and you needed ideas and input. Include your staff and openly discuss what needs to be accomplished and don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong and especially don’t forget to let your employees know that you appreciate them.

Lack of team spirit (harmony). I don’t mean a RAH-RAH stand up and cheer event or the silly-ass statement “Can’t we all just get along?” I’m referring to an atmosphere where everyone knows the task at hand and everyone works toward the same goal. Great people working harmoniously together to accomplish a shared dream. It is indeed a beautiful thing!

While all these points are necessary to make it happen what else do you think should be included? Think about your personal successes and failures. Be honest with yourself, no one else will hear you.

The last word: “To be a leader, you must make people want to follow you, and nobody wants to follow someone who doesn’t know where he is going.”– Joe Namath