Azione Unlimited Spring Conference Stresses Interaction, Growth
Members suggested online platforms that enabled them to keep in touch with employees and track project status. GroveSite.com, Google docs, Tigerpaw.com, Google Drive and Dropbox were among the sites the members cited in their group discussions.
The dealer-only meeting continued with a presentation by David Daniels, Co-CEO of Xssentials, a Denver-based dealership that was one of the founding members of Azione. Daniels covered a topic sure to be on the minds of many dealers in attendance: “The Impact of Disruptive Technologies.” In this presentation, Daniels discussed how today’s rapidly changing technologies necessitate the development of new pathways to profit by integrators. Customer service/support was cited as a growth area that Daniels felt could be integral in driving additional business in years to come.
“Make sure you acknowledge we’re living in a changing world,” Daniels advised the attendees. “The way you run your business is radically different from the way you’re going to run your business five years from now.”
Daniels offered these suggestions for turning disruptive technologies into opportunities:
• Find the disruptions that can/will impact your business.
• Analyze the potential effects these technologies could have on the industry.
• Embrace and accept these new technologies.
• Determine their potential market penetration time.
• Look for opportunities you can take advantage of from these changes.
• Build value-adding programs around these technologies.
Speaking about customer support, Daniels suggested that dealers start charging more—and more often—for services they often do for free. “We’re giving labor away right and left,” he said.
Daniels cited lighting and temperature control as potential growth areas, and suggested dealers consolidate vendors (a move facilitated by buying groups such as Azione), extending lines and introducing new categories.
The next dealers-only roundtable was based around the question, “What was the single most successful or profitable idea or change you implemented last year?”
Here are some of the ideas that were offered:
• One dealer spoke of carefully tracking labor—every service provided to a customer. This dealer also adds a mileage surcharge for drives out of a certain area.
• Revisiting a stagnant category to find new opportunities was a recurring theme. One dealer did so by starting their own IT business for Apple products and systems by recruiting employees from Apple Stores in their area. Their Apple certification gave the business instant credibility.
• Hiring a personal assistant was a crucially beneficial step for one dealer.
• Finally, a dealer stressed how honing his product mix—constantly reevaluating his offerings—helped improve his profitability and performance.