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.
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 MHProNews.com 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. ##
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