Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma’

The Thing Needed

September 6th, 2013 No comments

It can be very helpful to go back in time, and compare 'then with now.' The downloadable attachment below has many relevant points, and it was written years before I got into consulting. The points in sharing this are many, and can benefit all with an open mind. One of the points are that the basics – the fundamentals – are among the keys to success, and this article has a number of those fundamentals!

The article attached was first published in the November 1988 issue of what was then call the Mobile/Manufactured Home Merchandiser, later re-named, Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine. While much has changed in technology, terminology, attitudes and styles, it is surprising how some of the basics then are just as true today as when the attached downloadable article was written.

At the time, yours truly was the proud owner of a manufactured home retail center that was growing rapidly, in spite of the economic collapse that had taken place in oil-boom-to-oil-bust Oklahoma. My personal part of the business was marketing and sales – sound familiar? – while others at our center did a very fine job of other necessary functions like bookkeeping and lender relations, service and delivery coordination.

During a time when 80% of the retailers folded then in Oklahoma (sound familiar to the MHIndustry post 1998? Or the MHIndustry post 2008?), humble S&L Homes (we sold repos for S&L's, new and other pre-loved homes) was growing, growing, growing. We hit the top 1% of all retailers in the U.S. our third year in operation, all during a down market when other dealers that were far better established vanished.

Why? How?

Please read the article, because many of the basics then are the same basics today.

Are there differences? Sure – like change “mailers” for “email” or social networking. Change print for the Web. Change TV and radio for YouTube!

The reality is that we can market better today for less, for those who are willing to learn and do it. We can also sell better then than now, for those who are willing to dig in, learn and do.

My road to business ownership was not easy. There was no rich relative, no SBA loan and most of the 'training' came from reading and a handful of seminars, but also boat loads books and audios personally invested in to advance myself.

A tag line came across a public service announcement the other day that applies to all of us.

Learn to read. Read to learn.

That same issue of the Merchandiser had articles from people like Guy Laird (remember him?) and Bill Carr (still active!) that were among the many that I devoured every month. I would have proverbially killed to have had access to all that we share on monthly, because reading was the path to learning more and earning more.

In my career run up to opening S&L, yours truly managed at 3 retail centers and assisted at a 4th before jumping into ownership.

If you are an owner, encourage your people to learn more. Yes, someday, they may leave you. But in the mean time, you will be earning more and so will they! The good performance of some tends to lift the performance of others.

So the rising tide tends to raise all ships.

If you are an employee or contractor, absolutely make it your business to learn all you can. Read daily (yes, every business day). Go to meetings, attend seminars.

Learn not just from the present, but from the past.

Learn from every mistake. Learn from every success.

Keep a good attitude!

Sure, a smile came when my eyes revealed how much younger I looked in the picture on the last page of the attached article! I wonder what happened to the others in that photo, after the business was profitably sold, we eventually lost track of each other (no email or Facebook then).

What we did as signage then, would not be what I would do as signage today. We'd be talking social networking and lots more online stuff in such an article.

But much of it applies – attire, attitude, training, marketing, sales basics – so much that you may want to read and re-read this, because it covers the fundamentals – the basics of success – quite well. But you can decide that for yourself!

Near the end of the attached article, there is a phrase yours truly typed 25 years ago. Doing what is needed. Doing the things needed is the only pathway to success.

No one will hand it to you. Everyone has to earn it in some form or fashion! Do what is needed, whatever that 'thing' is. It will pave the way to your future. ##

Download the article

Increasing Sales in a Down Market –
Mobile/Manufactured Home Merchandiser, November 1988 – by L. A. Kovach.

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L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach | |
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Looking Back on MHI Congress and the Great Southwest Home Show

May 1st, 2011 No comments

Heading Home from TulsaSaturday, April 30, 2001 — We’re headed home from Tulsa today and I just wanted to share a few thoughts on the final big events of the 2011 show season.

I arrived at MHI Congress and Expo at the Caesar’s Palace Convention Center in Las Vegas on Wednesday and immediately noticed the upbeat atmosphere of this year’s show. Our “Dominate Your Local Market” presentation was attended by an enthusiastic group and the response rate (those wanting more information) was very high.

Walking the show floor on Wednesday and Thursday morning, I spoke with exhibitors at almost every booth and all agreed that they were having a good show, even though everyone’s definition of “a good show” can be unique to their business and their visitors.

Keynotes speakers were very good and feedback from those who attended the sessions was generally very positive.

On Thursday morning, we presented “Engaging the Media Successfully – How to Get Good PR for the Industry,” As panelists, myself and Publisher L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, reporter Matthew Silver and last, but certainly not least, Indiana MHA Executive Director Mark Bowersox led a lively discussion on dealing with the media – print, TV and radio and online alike.

One observation I made was that just 17% of attendees were men. Come on, guys! This is some important stuff. Don’t just send the women to do a job that all of us need to be involved in for the betterment of the industry. I hope to see more men next time out.

Leaving Las Vegas on Thursday, we headed for Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Great Southwest Home Show. This show, in a wonderful indoor facility (QuikTrip Center at Expo Square) in a prime location was an even well worth looking forward to.

Despite the recent outbreaks of tragic weather events in the southern U.S., the turnout was reportedly up from last year.

The layout of the show floor was superb and allowed easy access to all of the homes on display. One and a half days of trade show preceded two and a half days of a public show.

While we didn’t stay for the two final public days, we presented both of our workshops again in Tulsa.

Tony And I presented “Dominate Your Local Market” and although Mark Bowersox and Matthew Silver weren’t with us in Tulsa, their places for the “Engaging the Media Successfully – How to Get Good PR for the Industry,” panel were filed in with a great, informative fill-in by Don Miner of Abernathy Agency. Thanks, Don and great work.

Turnout for the workshops was about the same as when we presented them in Tunica in March and attendees displayed the same high level of enthusiasm as in Louisville, Tunica and Las Vegas.

There are a lot of ways to gauge the success of a workshop at a live show, but by any measure we choose to use, I’d say both Congress and the Great Southwest Home Show were a rousing success for us.