Offering the Best in Tent Washing & Drying Machines
GIFT OR CURSE?
When I first entered the business world, I knew I wanted to make money, and I knew I wanted my company to grow. As any good business owner knows, you have to come up with strategies in order to promote company growth and turn a profit. Without mentors, many entrepreneurs learn the ins and outs of running a company as they go along. One of those components is company meetings. At the beginning of my career, I believed that meetings were a waste of time, unproductive, and a way for employees to procrastinate instead of doing their actual work. In a sense, I was right. Staff meetings can be a waste of time if they are conducted poorly, but they are a wonderful tool for promoting productivity if you really know to run a successful meeting. One day, I was chatting with my brother about Teeco Solutions and our weekly routine at the company. I mentioned to my brother, who also happens to run a company of his own, that I despised meetings and I did all I could to avoid them. He asked me why, and then he told me how his meetings are the source of many wonderful and productive ideas for his company. I was shocked. How could anyone pull something valuable out of a meeting? Were my beliefs wrong? I asked my brother how he was able to conduct such successful meetings. These are the tips he shared with me. For every meeting you run, you have to create an agenda. Without specific topics, a start time, and an end time, it’s easy for the group to get distracted or waste time on mundane topics. With an agenda, everyone can stay focused and engaged, and topics are discussed thoroughly but succinctly during their allotted time. Time limits and a detailed list of everything that needs to be covered give your employees more incentive to get things done and stay on topic.
Next, keep your meetings simple. It can be tempting to cram three or four topics into one meeting for the sake of getting ideas out there, but often, your big projects will only be discussed at a surface level, and you will leave the meeting feeling unaccomplished. Instead, focus on one big topic per meeting. This will allow for in-depth discussion and the opportunity for great ideas to arise. If you don’t finish the discussion in one sitting, that’s okay! Schedule a meeting a few days out and continue where you left off. Finally, keep a notebook. At the beginning of each meeting, write down the date, the presenter, and the topic at the top of a fresh page. As the meeting goes on, keep track of who presented which ideas, a to-do list of action items, and important details and reminders. At the end of the meeting, write down the next meeting date. A detailed notebook will keep your life organized, and you will have a record to reference when you begin working on new projects. Notebooks have truly saved me, especially when rehashing the agenda of the last meeting. They also serve as an accountability piece because I can monitor progress on projects and which employees are meeting expectations. If I ask an employee if they have made progress on a project and they tell me no four months in a row, I know we have a problem. Although I used to think meetings were unproductive and useless in business, I am thankful that my brother proved me wrong. By creating an agenda, keeping the meeting simple, and using a notebook, I can conduct productive meetings that promote the success of my company. If you feel like you aren’t getting anything from your company meetings, consider my brother’s tips before you write them off for good.
– Steve Arendt
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When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, or so the saying goes. That’s exactly what Amir Harris did when he turned a roadblock into a $12 million enterprise. Harris is the man behind Shofur, the bus chartering service now used by the likes of Facebook and the NFL. But the business did not start out with those clients. It was a humble family endeavor founded by his uncle. Then, the Democratic National Convention came to town, and the small business had nowhere near enough buses to meet the transportation needs of the influx of visitors. However, Harris recognized a silver lining to the problem. Instead of turning down what he knew would be a huge money-making opportunity, he called neighboring towns and even states and asked to borrow their buses. Thanks to Harris’ determination, his family’s company was able to make thousands of dollars off the event.
the company to the next level and create a web-based service, they didn’t hop on board. Like most successful businesspeople, Harris knew he had a good idea and stuck with it. With $800 in his bank account, Harris struck out on his own, going full weeks without leaving his apartment while he developed the business. Teaching himself web design and learning on the go, he was able to turn his idea into a multimillion-dollar company — all without taking out any loans. What can other entrepreneurs and even successful businesses learn from Amir Harris’ story? First of all, when obstacles appear, look at them as opportunities in disguise. You’ve discovered a consumer need that other businesses are not fulfilling, so fulfill it. Secondly, believe in your ideas. People will try to tell you they aren’t going to work, but if you know you have something worthwhile, follow through with it. Lastly, don’t reinvent the wheel. Instead of buying buses, Harris partnered with existing bus companies and put their underutilized buses to work. He took an existing service and made it better.
Like many entrepreneurs, Harris faced a lot of early pushback from friends and family. When he told them he wanted to take
The lifetime value of a customer is an easily overlooked and often underutilized concept. Don’t risk doing yourself and your business a huge disservice. Why track customer lifetime value, or CLV? When you know the CLV, you have data you can use to your advantage. This data can be applied to customer retention initiatives, marketing campaigns, referral programs, and, most importantly, keeping repeat customers happy. Plus, when you know the current CLV, you can work to improve that number. There are different ways to calculate CLV, and some methods are more complicated than others. At a minimum, you need to be tracking the following data points: • The money spent by each customer (the revenue your business gains per customer, factoring in the margins of the products or services you provide)
With this data, you can then calculate CLV:
A x B – C = CLV
Just keep in mind this number is based on averages and will not give you precise information (for a more comprehensive method of calculating CLV, check the Wikipedia entry for customer lifetime value). The more data you have to pull from, the more accurate the number will be. For instance, if you’ve been tracking A, B, and C for the past six years, you will have a more accurate picture of CLV versus a business that started tracking last year. Think of it as an efficiency formula. With this data, you can determine which are your best customers and which are not. From there, you can tailor your marketing endeavors and get far more out of your marketing dollar.
• The time frame for each customer purchase (the average amount of time you keep a customer)
• The initial cost to acquire a customer
It’s Thanksgiving dinner, and the smell of hot turkey and fresh rolls has your mouth watering. Ready to dig in, you reach across the table for the butter when your cousin suddenly shouts, “Wait! Grab the margarine instead. It’s better for you.” “What are you talking about?” scoffs your brother. “Butter is better because it’s natural. Margarine is made in a lab.” Suddenly, everyone is arguing about what’s best, and your poor roll is left uneaten. The butter versus margarine debate can be confusing, especially when you remember margarine was introduced as a healthier butter substitute. People have been eating butter without a second thought for thousands of years, but in the late 20th century, scientists determined that butter contains high level of saturated fat. At the time, saturated fatty acids were believed to be connected to cardiovascular disease, so butter became public enemy No. 1. Enter margarine, which is made of plant oils and contains unsaturated fat. Health experts gave margarine a big thumbs-up, and it began to fly off the shelves. Then the data came in. Margarine has a very low melting point, and in its natural state, it has the consistency of vegetable oil. To match the spreadable consistency of butter, chemists added hydrogen atoms to make margarine solid. In doing so, they changed margarine’s chemical structure and inadvertently created what we call trans fats. Our bodies process trans fats differently than they do other fatty acids. When we try to break down trans fats, it lowers our good cholesterol and increases bad cholesterol. This can lead to a greater risk of coronary heart disease. It can be difficult to make a straight comparison between butter and margarine because margarine recipes vary greatly between brands. Many modern margarine spreads lack trans fats, but this does not automatically make margarine better than butter. Butter contains important vitamins, like vitamins A and E. Furthermore, recent research suggests saturated fats may not be as damaging as we originally thought. Ultimately, you want to be aware of exactly what you’re putting in your body and eat reasonable serving sizes. Check the nutrition labels and try to limit your saturated fats while avoiding trans fats entirely. And if you’re looking for the healthiest options, vegetable oil spreads and extra virgin olive oil beat out butter and margarine by a long shot.
At the end of the day, if you fulfill a market need and do it better than anyone else, you’re going to have the most popular lemonade stand on the block. Harris says, “We want to capture the market by providing better service.” Looks like it’s working.
TRACK YOUR TRUE COSTS Understand and evaluate all the costs of dirty tents and then take that money and use it to develop and invest in better systems to help you gain control, be consistent, and eventually, ultimately, eliminate many costs. Questions to ask yourself while examining these costs: What if I could reduce the number of employees it takes to wash, and what if we got more washing done in the same amount of space? And, what would it be like to have better employee retention and not to have to constantly hire new people?
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Offering the best in tent washing & drying machines
PAGE 1 Are You Running Productive Staff Meetings? PAGE 2 How This Entrepreneur Turned $800 Into $12 Million How to Calculate the Lifetime Value of a Customer PAGE 3 Teeco Tips: Track Your True Costs Butter vs. Margarine PAGE 4 Otis: A Very Good Boy
OTIS: UNLIKELY HURRICANE HERO
In late August, the nation was put to the test after Hurricane Harvey struck Texas, displacing millions from their homes and taking dozens of lives. Activists, charitable organizations, and ordinary people sprang into action to provide needed relief. Journalists, professional and otherwise, brought back stories and images of the destruction in Harvey’s aftermath. Among those stories was one dog who went viral for exemplifying that resilient Texas spirit. Otis, a German shepherd mix, belongs to a 5-year-old boy in Sinton, Texas, just north of Corpus Christi. He’s cherished by his owner, but if you talk to other residents, you could say he belongs to the whole town. “He’s a special dog,” said Salvador Segovia, the grandfather of Otis’ owner. “He’s been instrumental in helping my grandson following numerous hospital visits for seizures and asthma.” Apparently Otis has a free pass other dogs in Sinton don’t have. He can saunter down to the Dairy Queen and score a free hamburger. Salvador says he’s also the only dog allowed to lie down in front of the county court house and refers to him as “a local celebrity.” He has an affable personality and a quiet demeanor. But, as the hurricane proved, Otis also had a fighting spirit.
When Harvey struck, dogs, cats, and people went into survival mode. For Otis, that meant gathering resources. The morning after the storm, a woman snapped a picture of a damp Otis trotting down the street. In his mouth, he toted an entire bag of dog food, and not a small one.
The woman posted the picture to Facebook. “This dog is walking around Sinton, Texas, carrying a [sic] entire bag of dog food with him. LOL #refugee,” the caption read. The image resonated with people and quickly went viral, being shared over 50,000 times. The people of the Lone Star State have long prided themselves on their pluck and resilience. “Must be a Texas dog cause [sic] he can survive without help,” one commenter wrote online. Another site called him “the hero Texas needed.” Otis’ canine resilience was both humorous and inspirational. The most powerful images in a crisis aren’t of Air Force One or of celebrities donating millions. They’re of ordinary people — and pets — striving, surviving, and making their way back home, just like Otis.
4 • Cleaner Tents For Maximum Profit • Teeco Solutions
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