Archive for November, 2009

Do you feel the NEED FOR SPEED?

Monday, November 30th, 2009

The phrase doesn’t always mean “low profile tires”.  In business software this refers to the time it takes to get the data you request to your screen. This is a key factor in customer satisfaction, as well as your satisfaction with Tire Power desktop software or our ePower websites from Tire Company Solutions.

So how can you as a end-user, get the best results? 

First a bit of background, after 25 plus + years in SQL databases, what worked years ago still works today, and will work in the future; “Be as specific as you can!”.

When you search for a product, part or name, the more information you provide the faster the information or data can be found; for example when searching for a name:

  1. Entering “S” will search for all names starting with S.
  2. Using “ST” will be faster as it will find only those with ST
  3. Using “STA” will be the fastest to gain what you’re looking for.

Using a minimal of 3 letter s at least on any name will speed up your searching.  Since we already know “our geeks are better than their geeks”  you will continue to see these speed increases in screens as we can address  each area of the product and streamline it.

Additional Tips:

  • Use your settings to minimize history searches (you can always change the dates to get past the beginning time).
  • If you only know the middle of the word or item use % between like %stapl%  to find Andy Stapleton
  • Search ALL, will take the longest.
  • If you have to page down more than 3 pages, refine the search if possible.
  • Run large reports just before you leave, so it has time to finish instead of during the day.

Basically Speed is up to you, the  more you let off the “brakes”, and allow the server to find the road, the faster it will go. 

At the same time, we will be paving new interstates thru software and data to get you all the information you request as quickly as possible.

Code hits the Road

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

Programming applications and modules for the tire and automotive industry keeps me familiar with all the specifications and options for tires, wheels, and other special equipment. Attending trade shows like SEMA is great because I get to see the products that my projects help to move through the market. Here are a few favorites of pictures I took:

Beautiful painted flames – and whitewalls!

Check out the sweet tires on this mini. I’d love to take this car for a drive.

All the monitors are nice, but not so handy for driving.
Nice bikes.

It was also great to meet clients and others in the industry. Hope to see more friends next year.

Do you know your competition … Because they know you!

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

To succeed, you must know the market you are a part of. Part of that market is your competition. Do you truly know how you stack up against them? Knowing your competition should be a key ingredient of your market strategy. Most think of “knowing” their competition simply as “I sell x tire for this price and they sell the same tire for that price.” While price shopping is necessary, it should only be a portion of your overall strategy. Below are some questions to ask yourself before you feel comfortable that you “know” your competition.

  • What services are offered by your competitors that you don’t offer? Are you and your employees as well qualified to serve as specialists or customer problem-solvers as your competitor?
  • How does your competitor treat their customers? Is their service prompt and efficient?
  • Does your competitor accept methods of payment that you do not accept like debit or credit cards?
  • Can you answer questions about your competitor’s products and services knowledgeably and objectively?
  • Who keeps more complete records on each customer, you or your competitor?
  • Do you mail a thank-you letter or send an email after each sales call, whether or not a sale was made? Does your competitor?
  • What equipment does your competitor use that is better than yours?
  • As you watch the product display of your competitor, do the products seem to be moving?
  • How soon are those products marked down or moved to the sales table?
  • How many times has your competitors name been in newspapers and other local advertisements the last three months? How many of those times have been free publicity such as announcements, promotions, seminars, sponsorships, donations, etc? How many times has your name been published for these reasons?

Let me conclude with the following quote …

If you’re attacking your market from multiple positions and your competition isn’t, you have all the advantage and it will show up in your increased success and income.”

- Jay Abraham

The key to growing a business – great people!

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

I just spent a great business building week at SEMA.  We had more interest than ever before in our suite of solutions and in just the few days since we have been back, have already brought on many new customers due to the great efforts of our staff.

I was reminded at SEMA how having the right people on board is the surest way of growing into a GREAT company.  As I saw how much potential business is closer to becoming a customer of ours through the great efforts of everyone with TCS, I also witnessed something different happening in many other booths.  Employees sitting at the back of their booth, not actively talking to potential customers as they lingered or stopped, preferring to let displays, posters, and “rented” booth personnel handle the important relationship building aspect SEMA week provides.

In a day and age where there is more competition than ever before, it is your employees that will determine success or failure.  Spending the time to get the right people on board is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your business grows.  Always be on the lookout for good people, even if you don’t have any current openings.  If you find them, hire them anyway.  They will always pay for themselves.

When you are in the hiring process for a specific position, don’t cut corners or hire the first person you see.  Spend the effort to fully understand who they are, and what they are about.  Get them in front of multiple people, in different environments.  Check out everything they say and verify their entire background.  Better to persevere for the perfect candidate, than have to do it all over again after an impulse/desperation hire.

Great people bring great results.  I can really see the difference in TCS and how fast we are moving in the right direction because of our staff and because we pride ourselves in hiring the best.   Do you or your company take the extra effort to have great employees?