Working with local partners was essen- tial to the success of SawHaul, which is sold in 36 countries. “We’ve devel- oped a tremendous network through- out Kansas,” says Finley. “Not only are our products made in the USA, they’re made within 30 miles of our hometown. For a multinational business, keeping all manufacturing in two neighboring counties is virtually unheard of.” REFINEMENT AND EXPANSION Naturally, rigorous field testing is an important part of launching any new product or service, and SawHaul was no exception. “Getting a product to market right the first time is very important, so we’ll work with field testers and modify a design several times before it hits the market.” GearHaul works with industry professionals using chain saws across all trades, including arborists, foresters and fir efighter s. They’ve tapped into Facebook groups to identify qualified testers. While Facebook can feel like a daunting prospect, it can be a useful tool when used correctly. It’s not just a medium for placing paid ads and hoping for a return on investment. “We were very fortunate to use Facebook groups as a new way of marketing, by friending group administrators and generating connections with some of the most knowledgeable experts across indus- tries,” says Finley. “I test our designs first. Then, we have a core group of field testers who report their findings and request modifications. Aer that, we send fresh product designs to You- Tubers, who share their experiences with their followers. This is how we’ve launched several of our products, and the environment is so different than it was five years ago. We’re constantly evolving as a result.” Listening to the customer is the best way to identify opportunities for im- provement. “It boggles my mind how some businesses don’t leverage custom- er feedback,” says Finley. “Our original design was welded onto a tractor, but based on feedback, we went back to the drawing board and created a universal
kit that allows customers to bolt their SawHaul to anything. We then added the scabbard aer feedback request- ing additional protection.” Customer feedback also inspired additional gear holders that work with their universal mounting solution, driving the brand’s expansion from SawHaul to GearHaul. “We even started offering custom colors because we recognize the importance of colors and branding from a marketing perspective.” Sometimes, people want to
TAKEAWAYS Drawing parallels between starting a tree care company and Finley’s experi- ence creating a product, testing it and marketing it is relatively easy. For example, joining Facebook groups may not be top of mind for a busy owner, but going to the places where prospects spend time is just one of many ways to market a business. Tapping into neigh-
SawHaul is a protective chain saw caddy with a universal mounting system that fits on any rig. Photo courtesy of GearHaul.
create their own designs, but will reach out to GearHaul for advice. “All of our components are available for purchase, and we’ll work with people who have created their own caddy, but just need a small component for mounting.”
borhood and city groups on social media is one way to get a pulse on what’s hap- pening in your service area, whether that means identifying opportunities to offer pest services in response to reports of a new pest in the area, or just answer-
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