Business

You Should Be Very Afraid!

It is Halloween and the spooks are out...no really! But if you are fearful of ghosts that is nothing compared to missing the National Tractor Parts Dealer Annual Man Shock Meeting and Trade Show. Missing that adventure should really send shivers down your spine!

We'll be headed south to Corpus Christi, Texas in January and there is no time like the present to make plans to attend. We've got some frightfully dynamic events in store including our great headquarters hotel the Omni Corpus Christi. Check it out by clicking on our special page...go ahead and the price won't scare you away!

In addition to a great location we've got a boiling cauldron of great information to help you better run and manage your business! 

  • Richard Flint on Embracing Change - Folks are often scared by change but it's coming any way. Richard will offer up "Six Steps to Embracing Change" in our first session on 18 January.
  • Crystal Washington on Advanced Digital Marketing - She's baaack! Crystal was with us last year and you enjoyed her so much she is back for a second round of training. This time she will be helping you better understand the best methods of using digital (think computers and smart phones) marketing. She will also be presenting on 18 January.
  • Got the Right People? - Richard Flint joins us for an afternoon session that same day and talks to us about hiring smart and retaining well. We all know how difficult it is to find the RIGHT person for the job. Richard will help take the horror out of the effort.
  • Got Skills? - Then on the 19th Richard is back with "Mastering the Five Skills for Effective Leadership". What skills are necessary to be able to get people to their most productive level? He'll have the answers!

Don't miss out on this fantastic training...it ain't at all scary!

One other thing:  "Knock, knock" (Who's there?) "Booo!" (Booo who?) "Don't cry it's Halloween!"

Thanks for reading...see you in Corpus Christi! 

 

 

 


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.

 

 

 


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!


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!

 


Online Sales Smash Retail Sales

For years many of our National Tractor Parts Dealer Association members found value in adding e-commerce to their sales efforts. Sure, it was a difficult Online Add to Carttransition and it cost money to staff call centers and online chat professionals but it has paid off because online sales are crushing traditional retail efforts. How do we know?

Let's look at one example...Wal-Mart. 

Retail giant Wal-Mart reported solid fourth-quarter results last week with the U.S. business producing another quarter of comparable-sales growth. But the star of the show was e-commerce. Get this, U.S. online sales for Wal-Mart soared by 29% year-over-year, an acceleration driven by the company's investments in the acquisition of Jet.com. E-commerce is still small relative to Wal-Mart's brick-and-mortar operations, but that won't remain true for long.

According to the Department of Commerce in 2016 total e-commerce sales in the United States rose by 15.1%. And that is far faster than the overall 2.9% growth in total retail sales.

We understand that our members are not Wal-Mart however the trend is clear. Your customer is just as likely to come from five states away than five miles away and those numbers will continue to grow. Your challenge is finding a way to build your digital business while continuing to serve your local consumer. It can be done and many of our members have been very successful in their marketing efforts.

If you would like to share your thoughts...please do!

 


A Perfect Storm for Used Parts?

A "perfect storm" may be brewing in farming communities that could have a direct impact on the used agricultural parts industry. In a report published by the Perfect Storm Road USDA this month we learn that, once again, farmland values in the "Farm Belt" have slipped. Lenders have seen another 2% drop in the value of an acre of farm ground. The reason is low commodity prices which, in Iowa alone, will cost farmers $2 billion in income this crop year. The other issue is the rise in oil prices. In just the past week we've seen a barrel of crude go from near $40 to knocking on the door of $50. We are all aware that agriculture uses an abundance of petroleum products from fertilizer to fuel.

All of this, if we pay attention, may signal an opportunity for the used, rebuilt, re-manufactured parts business.

When farmers see the economic reality of lower prices and higher inputs they begin to re-think their spending patterns. If, for example, they can save several thousand dollars on repairs this fall it's money in their pocket.

This has a direct impact on members of NTPDA if we start telling our story. Farmers have long been independent do-it-yourself experts. And when they realize the economics of doing business with you...you are more likely to increase your business.

But, they have to know about you and how you can help so here are three things you might consider over the next several weeks.

  • Share the Story - If you are using social media you should start telling your story about being an independent business who can assist the agricultural community through this economic downturn;
  • Your Website - If you have, and you should have, a call to action on your website you should use that space to highlight the savings and benefits of doing business with you and how you can provide high quality service at lower prices. If you have a business blog (and you should) consider pointing that call to action to the story about how you can help;
  • Media Connections - We all have local newspapers or radio stations. You should consider writing a quick piece about the economics of the farm economy and then pitch that to the media outlets. They are always looking for solid stories that impact their listeners or readers.

You have an excellent story to tell and people are seeking answers.  Go get 'em!


How About a Checkup From the Neck Up?

Doctor FunnyEveryday our NTPDA Members go to work making life better for their customers and employees. That, at least, should be the goal because when we are "other focused" we all get what we want.

So, how can your association make your life/business better?  That is constantly the focus of our Board of Directors and staff and we think, based on your response to some recent polls, we may be on target.

Next year we'll gather in San Antonio to offer your business a "checkup from the neck up". We'll help you take a hard look at current business practices and ask you what you think has worked and what might need work. We'll spend time on marketing, social media, sales, employee recruitment and retention. We'll listen to what you've done and offer some tips on how you might change some tweak some things to boost your level of happiness.

Sure, we'll have fun and have the opportunity to enjoy the company of our family and friends but we also want to deliver value for your membership and we, honestly, want to help your business get better.

We're looking forward to doing that business checkup in San Antonio and be watching for registration information soon!


Membership - Why Not?

Join us imageBecoming a member of the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association is easy...if you meet specific guidelines which are in our organizational by-laws.  We have two categories of Membership.  Ready?

  • Regular Members are those corporations, partnerships, and individual businesses whose main business includes the distribution of recycled tractor and equipment parts;

  • Associate Members are manufacturers and wholesale suppliers and those who provide products and/or services to the Regular Members.

So, you can be in the business of selling recycled tractor and equipment parts OR be a company who provides products and/or services to folks who are Regular Members.

So, what's the VALUE in becoming an NTPDA Member?  Glad you asked because there are many right here. On top of the realization that taking advantage of even just a couple of our benefits you will offset the cost of membership...easy.

Let's DO THIS...here is the application page for membership. We'd love to have you join us in San Antonio in January and get to know you between now and then.  

Thanks for reading and for joining the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association!

 

 


Too Early?

The Summer Board Meeting is in the books and much of the meeting had to do with the 2017 Conference and Trade Show headed to San Antonio starting on Save the Date January 18. So, this is your "heads up" to Save the Date!

The Membership Committee is working on details surrounding the event and recently members filled out a survey telling them what they wanted to learn while in Texas.  The survey was sent via email in May to 192 email addresses we have on file. 14% of our members responded and told us these are the top four things they would like to learn more about during the 2017 Conference and Trade Show:

  • Marketing including Social Media - 74% of those who responded said they want to learn more about how to market effectively and how to better use social media in their marketing efforts. This would include traditional marketing methods such as print, radio, television as well as new media such as Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram and a host of other products that are available;
  • Employee Recruitment/Retention/Motivation - 44% of our responding members say they would like to learn how to better recruit and retain employees. And 59% said they would like to learn how to better motivate current employees. This didn't surprise us much because across most industries we hear the same thing, "We can't find good people who want to work." Our goal with this area would be to examine what works and what might need work when it comes to finding, keeping and motivating employees;
  • Sales - This area received a 51% rating. Our members want to know how to increase sales and who doesn't? What new ideas are there to boost the bottom line and deliver a more sound profit?

You can be assured that we are working, right now, on delivering on our promise to bring value to your membership. 

We hope that you'll Save the Dates of January 18 - 21 for our Annual Conference and Trade Show this year in San Antonio!  More information will be coming to you on a regular basis!

See ya in Texas y'all!