Small Business

Seller Beware!

We're all aware of the old saying, "Buyer beware!" and while that's true even sellers need to beware of scam artists. Here is a story about that we think Man Selling Elixer you'll enjoy and, perhaps, learn from.

We get phone calls all the time from people wanting to sell NTPDA something. From Medicare insurance to car warranty insurance to copy paper. It's a steady stream. However, not long ago we received, for the second time, a phone call from a company who wanted to sell us parts. The  person on the other line said, "Please, we would like to sell you tractor parts. Can you put me in touch with your purchasing agent?" We told them we don't actually sell parts but our members sell parts.  He was not listening. "No, no, no...we have tractor parts for you. Please let me speak to your purchasing agent." Again, I shared with my insistent friend that we do not sell parts but if his company wanted to sell parts to our members his company should become a member of NTPDA. He said, "Yes, yes I understand but we do have tractor parts to sell to you. May I please speak to your purchasing agent?"

Clearly he didn't understand and this went on for some time (we are very patient people here at NTPDA) before I asked the caller for his email and I would
send him a note about who and what we are and give him the opportunity to join our group. That was three weeks ago and we've not heard back.

Man Shell GameLast week I was visiting with one of our long-term members who I knew sold a specific brand of parts to dealers. I told him the story and he said to me, "I know who you are talking about and it is a scam."  He told me that he had gotten a call from this same company requesting that he send some parts to three of their clients in the U.S. and that the company ordering the parts would pay the bill.  So, our member received payment online and filled the three orders. All good...right?

Except a few days later the company that called to order the parts disputed the charges and the payment was reversed.

Our member was out the parts and the payment.  While it was not a huge order it still hurt.

The bottom line here is know who you are doing business with. One of the great things about being a member of NTPDA is that we do know each other. We do business with each other and there is a method to attempt to fix problems that arise. 

Yes, along with our many benefits, there is a sense of comfort being an NTPDA member...and thank you!


NTPDA Leadership with Scott Schelling and Trey Russell

Over 40 years ago a group of agriculture equipment recyclers got together and formed the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association (NTPDA). The group was small and mostly confined to the United States. Today the association has members not only in the Trey and Scott KC July 2021 U.S. but also Canada, Italy, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom and Malaysia. Here I sit down with Scott Schelling the Immediate Past President and owner of Rock Valley Tractor Parts of Iowa and Trey Russell the incoming President and second generation to Russell's Tractor Parts of Alabama during our time at our Annual Conference and Trade Show. We talk about what they've gotten out of the association and what may be coming in the future.  Plus a "Shout Out" about the Summer Mixer coming in July. 

Thanks for listening!

The award winning Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is the only weekday business news podcast in the Midwest. The national, regional and some local business news along with long-form business interviews can be heard Monday - Friday. You can subscribe on PlayerFMPodbeaniTunesSpotifyStitcher or TuneIn Radio. And you can catch The Business News Hour Week in Review each Sunday Noon on News/Talk 1540 KXEL. The Business News Hour is a production of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications. You can follow us on Twitter @IoB_NewsHour.


Meet Our Members - Schmidt Machine Company

We welcome back to NTPDA our friends at Schmidt Machine based in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. Recently the company was featured during an broadcast interview Kevin Schmidt 13 December 2021 for Insight on Business the News Hour here is that piece:

"Over the years we've interviewed hundreds of business owners. Some that are in a brand new business and others that have taken over a company that's been around for decades. Today, in our Small Business Spotlight, we're visiting with Kevin Schmidt whose grandfather, back in 1928, started Schmidt Machine based in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. For a family owned company to have been around that long is a testament to hard work and quality products. Schmidt Machine specializes in creating aftermarket ag parts and does business world-wide.  Meet Kevin...who also does a bit of "standup comedy" when he's not running the business and, yes, he offers up a sample."

If you've got news about your company we'd love to hear from you! Send your press releases for The Bulletin and for consideration for a broadcast to Michael@NTPDA.com. You can also call us at 877-668-0900 for details.

Thank you for being a member! 


BIG News for Small Businesses and the NTPDA

Thanks for clicking through. As we work to get critical information to members of the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association  (NTPDA) we thought this Veronica Pugin DC SBA conversation about getting capital from the Small Business Administration would be very helpful. There have been many changes to the COVID19 Loan Program. Pay close attention to the new guidelines for gaining capitol for your small business. And, second, if you know a person who owns or manages a small business send this link to them. It could make a huge difference.  My guest is Veronica Pugin who is the Senior Advisor in the Office of Capital Access for the Small Business Administration. Here too is your link to the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program that we talk about. Know there are new guidelines and an easier way in which to apply for business capital.

Thanks for being here!

The award winning Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is the only weekday business news podcast in the Midwest. The national, regional and some local business news along with long-form business interviews can be heard Monday - Friday. You can subscribe on PlayerFMPodbeaniTunesSpotifyStitcher or TuneIn Radio. And you can catch The Business News Hour Week in Review each Sunday Noon on News/Talk 1540 KXEL. The Business News Hour is a production of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications. You can follow us on Twitter @IoB_NewsHour.


Got News?

Every weekday we, at NTPDA, reach out to our current, former and potential members just to check in, thank them for their membership, encourage membership and better explain the benefits of membership. But, long before we get into all of that we explain the reason for our call, "Hi, and thanks for Man phone call plad shirt taking our call. We reach out to our members, potential members and past members just to check on you and your business. Tell me, how are things with you and your family?"

We can tell you that the overwhelming response has been very positive. Somebody actually cares and is willing to take the time to reach out. And nearly every call we've been making we're hearing reports that business in the agriculture world is solid. It could be a combination of farmers/ranchers having the time to focus on repair or it could be lower prices are forcing many do DIY or it could be that they are seeing value in their relationship with their parts supplier.

In other words...business is good.

We share that with you for a reason. On each call we learn more about our members and their unique place in their community and how they reach out to customers old and new.

Just like with everything else, if you stay in touch with your customers and keep your business "top of mind" they will more likely continue to do business with you. But, just like we're doing with our membership it all takes time. But, the rewards can be very positive.

One other thing.  Have you got news for us?  

Onion Dump Chicago TribuneFrom time to time our membership forgets to let us know about what's going on so that we can share that through our robust social media efforts, here in our
business blog or with other news outlets.

Just a reminder...if you've got news about your business or a story you want to share...like the onion story we heard last week from our member Steven Sparks at Nyssa Tractor & Implement. Check that HUGE yard!  Did you know that the biggest user of onions isn't the consumer but schools and restaurants?  And because so many restaurants and schools have shut down many farmers are having to "dump" their onion crop because it's way too expensive to try to hold them. And...Outback Steakhouse uses those "jumbo onions" for their famous "Bloomin' Onion" and many of them come from onion patches near Nyssa. (Photo - Chicago Tribune)

Who...knew?

So, if you've got a story send it along, we'd love to share.  You can send it to Michael@NTPDA.com

Stay safe and well!


Open For Business

During the past week we at the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association (NTPDA) have been reaching out to our members and visiting about their business Open Sign and their families. We've talked to dozens of people and we're hearing that, compared to last year, business has been really good. "Farmers have been in the mood to fix and repair what they have and because planting season is coming up they are busy and they are buying", was one comment we heard often.

Meanwhile the biggest concern shared with us was that if business starts to falter what that might do to their employees. "I've never laid off a person since we started this business," said one of our members. "My goal is to stick with it. We had a tough time several years ago and we kept everybody working. I hope to do that now and into the future."

Commodity prices are also playing a part in how farmers are dealing with fixing and repairing their equipment. One of our members told us, "You know, if the commodities were higher maybe we wouldn't be so busy. Farmers have had a rough couple of years so buying new doesn't seem to be on the mind of many."

One of the very cool things about this association is that we all know each other, do business with each other and, generally, like each other. That always comes out in these conversations when we talk about family. It's important to them and it's also important to us so we talk about kids, grandkids, husbands wives and parents.

One final thought. Human connection is important. We've noticed that phone calls that may have been over in three or four minutes now linger as people want to stay connected and talk. It's been a pleasure to spend fifteen or twenty minutes talking business, family and friends. It's what we...do.

If we have not yet connected with you be assured you're on our list and remember on March 24 we'll celebrate National Agriculture Day.

Thanks for reading and stay safe and well. 


YOU Did It!

Congratulations NTPDA Members...YOU DID IT!  We have turned a big corner in our efforts to build back this organization. The official numbers shared with NTPDA20 Image Ten the Board last Saturday said it all.  This year in Maricopa we had more companies, more vendors/displayers and more attendees than we've seen in two years. That is a credit to each of you who have worked to make this happen. You have encouraged others to join you. You have brought along new people to experience our Annual Conference and Trade Show. And you have come away from this event with more knowledge, business opportunities and friendships than before.

That friends is outstanding.

NTPDA20 Image ThreeOver the next several months we'll be sharing videos, images and audio recordings from #NTPDA20 in Arizona. Don't be surprised if you see yourself and many of your fellow NTPDA Members.

This is not a time to rest but a time to take action and prepare for our Summer Meeting and make plans to attend our 2021 Annual Conference and Trade Show which will be held in Nashville.

In the meantime know that we are working every day to build our association membership rolls and to bring even more value to your membership dues.

Thank you...again and let's, together, DO THIS! 

 


Building a Business

Every business needs customers and to get them your business needs to do two things:

  • Recruit new customers;
  • Retain your existing customers.


Reruit Retain Puzzle ImageThose of us in business know that it take more time and money to recruit than it does to retain. From finding new customers to engaging them through advertising/marketing to proving that your product or service is valuable, it all takes time and money.

Retaining customers is much less costly but it does require your business to prove to them that doing business with you makes sense and brings value.

It’s the same with NTPDA.

Over the past several weeks I’ve been having some informative and interesting conversations with our members. I’ve been spending most of that time asking about their business, how it works, what its like and how this association can be of more service.  The answers are telling. Those members who have been engaged with NTPDA and realize that our mission is to help them build a better business have all been supportive and grateful for their membership. They understand the value, from a business side, of their membership in the association.

Those who have not been fully engaged want to know more about the value proposition. For those members the key is to help them understand that we can be a resource, an active partner, in helping them build a better business. It’s sharing with them why their annual membership dues is an investment and not an expense.

But (and you knew that was coming) making this happen takes forming a partnership and we can only do that if we are truly engaged.

Coming up in January we’ll be meeting in Arizona for our Annual Conference & Trade Show. Our goal is to bring us all together and work toward helping each other build our business through education, experience and networking. Meeting our vendor members and finding out how they can enhance product lines, distribution and delivery.  Meanwhile our education sessions are designed to offer you answers to the complex questions you may have about a host of issues from employee retention to internet sales tax and transportation.

If you’ve not yet made plans to join us...do so now. We’ve got so much to offer; all we need is the opportunity to prove it.

Let’s talk and see you in January!


Twitter Basics

Several weeks ago we shared with you that we've done a "social media audit" of our NTPDA members. Just to see what social media platforms they are using and what we might do to better help our members communicate with their customers. We've already looked at Facebook now a peek at Twitter. Twitter Logo 2019

We found a minority of our members on the Twitter Platform. Most likely that's because they may not be aware of how many people in agriculture are already there and think it's not worthwhile. Nothing could be further from the  truth. If you go to Twitter and search for #Farming #Agriculture #Harvest19 you'll find a host of farmers and ranchers there talking about their experiences. You'll also find some of the major equipment retail centers using Twitter to inform folks about their offerings, pricings, etc.

In other words: Twitter is a happening place.

So, let's set out some basics for Twitter use...ready?

  • Have a Plan - Just like with Facebook you need to have a plan for Twitter. What you want is to share information that farmers and ranchers find useful. That is a BUNCH better than using the platform simply for selling stuff. So, think about what you know about parts and agriculture that others might find useful and then create a calendar of what to talk about;
  • Your Business Blog - We've said for YEARS that every business should have a business blog that is attached to your website. That gives you more power from search engines AND you get to tell YOUR story in your own words. But then...what do you do with your blog?  Share it on Twitter. Again if you are sharing information farmers and ranchers find valuable...you win;
  • When to Tweet - We've always thought that the best times to Tweet is when your customers are active on their computers...makes sense right? However with so many farmers and ranchers using their phones to interact that means your customer isn't tied down to a computer screen. He or she might be waiting at the grain elevator or on the combine scrolling through social media and making comments.  Bottom line is that if you are active so too is your customer;
  • How to Tweet - You can jump on Twitter and create an account for FREE. However we think it's wise to purchase a subscription to a system that will allow you to manage your Twitter stream more effectively. There are several out there. We've used Hootsuite for years. It gives you the flexibility to follow others, schedule your Tweets and see what is going on at a glance;
  • Use Images - People respond to images more than just words. Make sure your Tweets have images most of the time; 
  • Tweet Often - Twitter is like a message board that constantly is moving. If you Tweet, say at 6:00AM but not again until Noon you've lost six hours of "eyeballs". We recommend tweeting at least eight to twelve times a day. By using your automated system that's pretty easy to do;
  • Don't Link to Facebook - OK...we know some of you do but your Tweet shows up like this: "facebook.com7476982" or something like that. The reader has NO idea what you've posted. Facebook and Twitter are two very different animals. If you are going to link to Facebook make sure you post what it's about;
  • Re-Tweeting - One of the best ways to engage is by retweeting posts you think are interesting and/or valuable. And, as a favor, always RT our Tweets...please;
  • Using the Hashtag - Once you've been on Twitter for a bit you'll get the hang of Hashtags. It's how to search for something or to keep a topic fresh. You can even set your search for a # Hashtag. For example, like in the opening of this post... #Agriculture put that into Twitter and see what people are talking about when it comes to topics.  This is really handy when you are at a trade show and there is a Hashtag for the event. NTPDA uses #NTPDA20 as the Hashtag for our upcoming annual meeting in Phoenix.

There you have it...some very basic thoughts about Tweeting for Business. As always let us know if you've got questions or comments. You can leave those here on this post!  Thanks for reading and being an NTPDA Member! 


Right to Repair Makes National News

The National Tractor Parts Dealer Association support the concept of "Right to Repair". Recently, during a campaign stop in Iowa a Sestak Farm Iowapresidential candidate spoke about "Right to Repair". Here is that story

Last week Insight on Business the News Hour was covering 2020 presidential candidate Admiral Joe Sestak (right in the photo) at a farm just outside of Des Moines, Iowa. Sestak was there to outline his agricultural policy. One of the highlights of his presentation was the "Right to Repair" issue. Following the talk the Business News Hour reported the following story: (To listen to this clip, click on the player.)

Right to Repair Clip NTPDA Sestak 2019


It is impressive that "Right to Repair" is on the radar screen of at least one of the 2020 presidential contenders. NTPDA is not endorsing any candidate for public office. We are simply sharing what was heard recently in Iowa and then shared across the county.