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July 20, 2016 -- Today’s installations range from the extremely complex and ultra expensive to the more basic and economical. Either way, creativity and countless man hours go into each job. The key then for any 12-volt retailer is to balance it all and make the process profitable. Bryan Schmitt, president of Tempe, Ariz.-based Mobile Solutions, who started out in 1990 as a car audio fabricator, recognized early on how challenging these custom jobs could be. Each time, for each job and for each car, the wheel had to be reinvented. “Back when I started out we didn’t really have a lot of resources and the biggest thing with working on cars is we didn’t have some type of template or clean geometry,” Schmitt said. “We were always cutting with cardboard and using a jigsaw and I just had this inspiration.” Not surprisingly, it was prompted in part by Schmitt’s education. “My background before I even got into car audio was mechanical engineering,” he said. “I knew that using geometry was the key for making clean shapes and keeping the automotive DNA, if you will.” In the beginning, Schmitt kept things basic. He started making some simple templates—circles and ovals—which helped…
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Mobile Electronics July Issue, July 13, 2016 -- In the business world, they say it takes an average of five years for a new business to turn a profit. In that time, the business must establish itself into the company it will be for the rest of its existence. The job of the owner/manager during this time is to work out the kinks with processes, employees, sales, execution and customer presentation. For a 12-volt retailer, those elements are easier said than done. But thanks to the way industry insiders support one another with suggestions and communicating best practices, the amount of failures the company must endure is significantly lowered. All that the shop needs to be successful rests on how much the owner/manager and employees are willing to learn through communication. This year's Top 12 Retailer class is filled with people who have learned lessons both ways. Those lessons allow them to enhance their chances of not only surviving times of economic hardship, but completely bypassing them to remain in a state of constant growth. Take Richard Grimm, owner of Cartunes in Atlanta, Ga., who has been in the industry since 1972. Over that time he's seen multiple recessions, an…
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Forbes, July 11, 2016 -- Every upcoming generation is something of a mystery to those who born a decade or so earlier. Thus, baby boomers scratched their heads and wondered what to make of so-called “Generation X” and today anyone who is over thirty five is probably coming to terms with a world that is increasingly dominated by “millennials.” If you’re a marketer, you’re probably trying to work out the best way to reach a generation that doesn’t play by the same media consumption rules as its predecessors. If you’re an employer, someone may well have told you that 18 to 30 years old are coming to the workplace with a new and unfamiliar set of expectations. So how exactly to you attract and (perhaps more importantly) retain the best young talent? And if you’re a business owner, how do you design products that will appeal to the hearts, minds and wallets of the first generation of exclusively digital age consumers? But let’s look at it from another perspective. The millennial generation is not simply comprised of consumers and employees. The startup culture that is so much part of modern life is increasingly dominated by those who are still less…
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Entrepreneur.com, June 24, 2016 -- Too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that being likeable comes from natural, unteachable traits that belong only to a lucky few -- the good looking, the fiercely social and the incredibly talented. It’s easy to fall prey to this misconception. In reality, being likeable is under your control, and it’s a matter of emotional intelligence (EQ). In a study conducted at UCLA, subjects rated over 500 descriptions of people based on their perceived significance to likeability. The top-rated descriptors had nothing to do with being gregarious, intelligent or attractive (innate characteristics). Instead, the top descriptors were sincerity, transparency and capable of understanding (another person). These adjectives, and others like them, describe people who are skilled in the social side of emotional intelligence. TalentSmart research data from more than a million people shows that people who possess these skills aren’t just highly likeable; they outperform those who don’t by a large margin. Likeability is so powerful that it can completely alter your performance. A University of Massachusetts study found that managers were willing to accept an auditor’s argument with no supporting evidence if he or she was likeable, and Jack Zenger found that just 1 in 2,000 unlikeable leaders are considered effective. I did some digging to uncover…
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Mobile Electronics July Issue, 7-1-2016 -- Once upon a time there was a 12-volt technician. After years of learning his craft by working at different jobs, he decided to open his own car audio business. He struggled for years, learning tough lessons along the way. Eventually, after educating himself thoroughly on industry best practices using every resource available, he created a list of procedures that helped grow his business. With seemingly strong procedures in place, he began to hire and build a team. Despite using common sense to hire, eventually, one of his employees decided he wasn’t happy and left to work for a local competitor. With him were digital files he took on a cloud-based database. The files included build photos taken while working for the shop and operating procedures with sensitive financial data. Without thinking, he brought them to his new shop on his Smartphone and synced his phone with the shop's cloud database. The files were now in the hands of a competitor. Despite his best efforts to protect his shop, the store owner had not taken  all steps necessary to protect his data.  In most industries, this practice can bankrupt a company. But in the mobile…
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Forbes, 6-30-2016 -- Entrepreneurs who want to launch a new product or service are facing two problems that are continuing to grow in scale – rapidly increasing competition, and shorter life cycles in marketing. The channels entrepreneurs and businesses were using a decade ago have changed dramatically, and the long-term effectiveness of many of them is diminishing each day as their lifespans collapse. When Adwords launched, there were years of $0.05 and $0.10 cost-per-clicks because a lot of marketers didn’t know about the platform. And it wasn’t really that long ago that Facebook launched its ad platform, but savvy marketers jumped on board right away. Because of that, Facebook is becoming out of reach for cash-strapped and bootstrapping startups. Add that to growing competition, and the wins feel like they’re getting harder to achieve. The SaaS market is a prime example. It’s much different now compared to even a few years ago. You can’t just launch a basic, one-feature app and expect rapid success. You have to offer something innovative – or have an unfair advantage in order to capture attention. Read the rest of the story HERE.
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