Helping In Forgotten Communities - NTPDA

When we received word that Harvey had struck the Coastal Bend Area of Texas it hit a nerve with our Board and our Members. Recently Coastal Bend Map we held a meeting near that area and our Board had an opportunity to interact with residents there. (You can click on the map to see the area.)

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey it seemed like these communities had been forgotten as all the attention focused on Harvey Images Sept 2017Houston. This takes nothing away from the destruction in our nation's 4th largest city it has been awful. However, we wanted to help in an area we knew and where there was minimal assistance and focus.

The Board of Directors for NTPDA authorized a donation to buy generators, fuel cans and other supplies. Phyllis and friends loaded up a truck and drove to the Coastal Bend to deliver them. Buying, loading and driving took hours and the donated supplies were GONE in minutes.

Thank you to our staff and to our Board for your assistance in this effort. We have heard from several people in the communities we visited and they all extend their gratitude to you and our general membership. 

Giving back is often the very best feeling...ever.


The Power of Repeating Stuff

Who doesn't like repeat customers? Who doesn't like being told...a couple of times...that you've got a great logo or uniform or...heck a Man hay bale microphonehaircut? Just as much as we enjoy repeat customers and repeated complements so too should we learn that when we repeat something over and over it has real power.

In marketing and advertising it is what is called "Top of Mind Awareness". Making sure your product or service is at the top of mind when it comes to buying what you are selling. "One and DONE" doesn't cut it. It takes an effort to make sure you repeat your message over and over.

Here are a couple of examples and while they are for national brands we think you'll get the message:

" Winston Tastes Good Like a Cigarette Should" - Winston has been of television and radio for decades...yet we remember the tag line;

"The Campaign of Bottled Beer" - Miller used this slogan for years and years abandoned it and this year brought it back...for good reason;

"A Diamond is Forever" - DeBeers debuted this way back in 1948 and they are still using it because...it works;

"Breakfast of Champions" - Who doesn't know this 1930's Wheaties slogan;

"It's the Real Thing" - CocaCola hit it out of the park with this from 1970;

"Say it With Flowers" - This will surprise you, the slogan dates back to 1917!

You get the idea... True, each one of these slogans had real dollars behind them to push the idea and the brand. Maybe your business doesn't have that sort of advertising budget but maybe you don't need all that cash to accomplish much the same thing.

Think of your value proposition and what you bring to your customers and then put that in words. Not a bunch of words but short and sweet. We know of a law firm that has the tag line, "We get things done!" because the number one complaint complaint among legal clients is that far too often law firms don't get things done and clients have to wait...and wait. The firm went so far as to register the slogan and they use it...everywhere.

Find your value proposition and then repeat it...often and everywhere. The goal is to have your customers hear or see those words and identify you and your unique value. 

It very well could bring you...repeat customers.


American Workers and Hostile Workplaces

Last week we saw a national news story that shocked us. In a recent study of over 3,000 U.S. workers by the Rand Corporation, Harvard Man Angry Medical School and the University of California, Los Angeles one fifth of these American workers say they face a hostile or threatening environment at work. This can include sexual harassment, bullying and co-worker abuse.

That is a shocking number.

Some additional findings:

  • Nearly 55 percent say they face "unpleasant and potentially hazardous" conditions;
  • Nearly three-fourths say they spend at least a fourth of their time on the job in "intense or repetitive physical" labor;
  • Only 38 percent say their jobs offer good prospects for advancement and the older they get the less optimistic they become.

Why do we share this with you? Because we often hear from members that it is difficult to find workers to fill jobs even while the unemployment rate is at a 16-year low.  Could it be that working conditions matter?

How are things at your shop? If you are having issues in hiring and retention? Perhaps it's time to do a self assessment. Some thoughts on that:

  • The "Stay Interview" - Why do some of your employees stay with you and other leave? There is much you can learn from an interview with some long-term employees;
  • Your Employment Brand - While every business has a brand not all business know what their employment brand is. What do current and past employees say about your company? (In this age of social media it's important to know.) What can you learn from them by asking and then making changes;
  • Job and Performance Reviews - Do you do them fairly and do you offer employees an opportunity for feedback?

To be fair, not everything about the American workplace is grim. Workers enjoy considerable autonomy with more than 80 percent saying they get to solve problems and try out their own ideas. Moreover, 58 percent say their bosses are supportive and 56 percent say they have good friends at work.

The goal is to take the time and find out what you can do...better... to retain your employees and hire well qualified staff. Everybody knows that turn-over is costly and when your "employment brand" isn't positive it impacts hiring, productivity and profits.

If you would like to read the study we referenced, click here.

 

 

 


Scholarships - Giving Back

Each year the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association (NTPDA) awards college scholarships to a group of deserving young people. Each Diploma Scholarship recipient was vetted by our Scholarship Committee made up of Carol Russell (Abilene Machine), Brian Kitch (Bates Corporation), Linda Benton (Southeast Tractor Parts, Inc.) and Paul Dyke (All States Ag Parts). Allow us to introduce you to our Scholarship Award Winners for the 2017-2018 Academic Year:

Andrea Blankespoor - Andrea is pursuing a degree in nursing at St. Luke's College and was sponsored by member corporation A & I Products;

Connor Brinton - Connor is seeking a degree in business at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and was sponsored by member corporation Hoober, Inc.;

Alexis Fabian - Alexis is at the University of Northern Iowa seeking a degree in education and was sponsored by Worthington Ag Parts;

Angela Good - Angela is working toward a degree in business administration and management at Millersville Univerity and was sponsored by Hoober, Inc.;

Matthew Kennedy - Matthew is at Indiana Purdue - Fort Wayne studying civil engineering and was sponsored by TTP-Diesel Power & Machine;

Dorea Lauer - Dorea is at Fox Valley Technical College working toward an Associates Degree and was sponsored by All States Ag Parts;

Lexee Lemler - Lexee is working toward a Doctor of Pharmacy degree at Manchester University and was sponsored by Bates Corporation;

Jamin Manus - Jamin is at Hawkeye Community College where he is working toward a degree in agriculture. Jamin was sponsored by A & I Products.

Once again, thank you to our Board the Selection Committee and congratulations to our scholarship winners!

 

 


How Does Your Business Measure Up?

Today is National Tape Measure Day! No kidding, we looked it up. It seems it is celebrated every 14th day of July. Who knew? But, that got us to thinking about business and how we measure our success and our relationships with our members and friends of the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association. Tape Measure Image

So, how do you measure success? Sure, we can look at sales (the easiest way to gauge how we are doing) we can measure expansion of our business and it's business model. We can measure customer satisfaction. We can measure our willingness to give back to our community. We can measure our ability to attract and retain employees. We can measure so very much and many of us do.

But what happens if we find out we're "coming up short" in our measurement of success in any of the areas above? What do we do about it? Might we chalk it up to mistakes, miscues, or is it mismanagement? 

Those are tough questions to ask ourselves and ask about our relationship with customers, vendors and employees. How do we measure up and what might we do if we find an area where we can improve?

One of the things your NTPDA attempts to do on a regular basis is take the measurement of what we're doing to enhance the value of membership. Where is it that we can improve in our communication our training our involvement with our members?

We'd love to know what you think. Take a moment and let us know. You can comment here on this blog or drop us an email or give us a call or check us out on Facebook. We're here and we'd love to know how you measure success and if we are measuring up to your expectations.

Thanks for reading!


The Value of Membership

One of the benefits of being a member of the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association is our Scholarship Program. Since 1992 NTPDA has been awarding Diploma Scholarshipcollege scholarship funds to deserving students of our members. To date your association has delivered 510 scholarships with a value of $461,250.

Think of that for just a moment. We have been able to impact the lives of several hundred young people because the NTPDA Board has seen the value in sharing our good fortune with our member families. It's called a return on investment.

True, you can invest in a host of other groups but here, at the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association our mission is to provide our members with service, value and business training. It's what we do on a daily basis.

This year NTPDA has awarded nine scholarships at $1,000 each. NTPDA kicks in $750 per student and the sponsoring member adds $250 to hit the one-thousand dollar mark. Be looking for our Summer Bulletin for the names of our scholarship winners.

We're proud to be able to help train the next generation of business leaders and grateful that you and your business are part of our continuing effort to offer concrete reasons for membership.

Don't you think this is something we should share with others?

 


Doubling Our Membership

Over the weekend several of us were talking about membership, the life-blood of any organization including the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association. It Join us imagecame to us that there are three things any organization must do to recruit and retain members:

  • Let Perspective Members Know You Exist
  • Provide Value for Membership
  • Ask 

Of the three NTPDA does a bang up job of providing members with value. Our website lists nearly two-dozen benefits. We also are pretty good at providing an opportunity to network, sell and learn during our Annual Conference and Trade Show. And, we're always here to help boost our members through our social media efforts.

Where we fall down a bit is in letting perspective members know we exist, sharing the benefits and making the ask. Sure we share information among our existing members through a wide variety of means from blogging to emails the quarterly NTPDA Bulletin. But, that is sort of like an echo chamber...we're talking among ourselves. For retention that is important but what about...growth?

The former Membership Committee had some ideas including outreach efforts, inviting potential members to our Annual Conference and reducing first year dues. Maybe it's time to ramp up the "Idea Machine" again...

Or what if each of us asked another supplier or a competitor to join our ranks. If we all committed to asking one additional person or company to join us and clearly laid out the case for value we could double our membership by January.

Perhaps it's something to ponder but more importantly just...do.

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Shoot us an email or comment here on the blog.

Thanks for reading and thank you for your membership!


National Small Business Week

All this week, in the United States, there is a celebration of National Small Business Week. Since 1963 the federal government has set aside a week for a Small Business Week Imagecelebration that is critical to our economy.  A few Small Business Facts:

  • There are roughly 29 million small businesses in the U.S. which account for 54% of all sales in this country;
  • Small businesses provide 55% of all jobs in the U.S. and 66% of all net new jobs;
  • There are 600,000 franchise operations here that employ over 8 million people;
  • The American small business sector occupies nearly 50% of all commercial space up to 34 billion square feet.

Astounding yes?

Many, if not all, of our NTPDA Regular Member Businesses would fall under 500 employees so, this week is also your week.  What can you do to take part in Small Business Week?  Some thoughts:

  • Share Your Story - Contact the local newspaper, radio or television station. Let them know this is National Small Business Week and share your small business story. Take a moment and share what your small business means to your employees and customers and how money spent with you stays in your local community. Believe us, reporters are looking for stories they can use all week long;
  • Get Social - Grab the National Small Business Logo from this post and share it on your social media channels...and tell your story there as well;
  • Say Thank You - Remember your customers...they are the people that keep your business in business. Post a note on social media, send a note to customers, enclose a note in your shipping items...let people know how important they are to your small business;
  • Email the Message - Send out a coupon or at least a thank you reminding your email list that this is National Small Business Week...many of your customers are also small businesses.

Happy National Small Business Week!

 


Old Tractors & Old Folks

Go to any country or state fair and walk among the old tractors that are displayed often as FFA projects and you'll no doubt see man and women nearly as old Ford 8 N Tractor Restoredas the iron on display. What is the draw to that old tractor? Is it the memory of life on a farm, long ago replaced by technology or is it that we see ourselves in those old tractors. Perhaps we've got a little rust here and there and our hair is sort of like the faded paint and maybe our joints get "froze up" if we sit too long. 

Those are some of the thoughts in this article (The Last Windrow - Shared traits with a little Ford tractor) we found in the PineandLakes Echo Journal written by John Wetrosky. It's about an old Ford 8N tractor...who doesn't remember and love those little machines?

But, with a little "spit and polish" some exercise and a better diet we can begin our own, personal, restoration project. Maybe that's part of the reason we've got hope in the future.

If you've got a story about your restored, or hope to restore, tractor let us know!  Replay to this post and let's talk...it's always fun meeting others who enjoy the hobby.

Thanks for coming by for a brief look at what the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association does...and is. Hope your Spring is off to a great start!

 


It's More Than a Tractor...

Every so often we run into a heartwarming story about a tractor. That's what happened this morning as we were searching for some news about tractor parts. Farmall H It was a great restoration story out of Lawrence Township, Ohio. If you want to read...here you go.

Now to some folks who have lived all their lives in the city that might not click. However, for those of us who have spent time on the farm...we get it. Who among us doesn't remember their first tractor? Mine was a Farmall Model H. Every time I see one my mind races back some 40 years and I can smell the gas, oil and grease. It's like that for so many of us.

So, why write a piece that talks about memories and old tractors? Because we are the people who have helped countless restorations come to life. Sure, you can look out at your salvage area and you see rusted equipment lying there waiting for the weeds. But, look again. If you concentrate you can see a field of opportunity. Of course you'll sell some parts to people you've never met. You'll sell parts to farmers who come to you to get through another season. But, you'll also sell parts to folks who are bringing back a memory.

We'd like to hear your stories. We know that you've got 'em. Hook us up with a recent (or maybe not so recent) restoration project that your company helped with. We'd like to take some time and tell the story. Send me 50 words on your story and some contact names. We'll get it done.

You see, it's more than just parts...

Thanks for being a member of the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association...it matters.