Mobile Electronics Magazine

11-22-2017 -- From its modest beginnings in Cleveland, Ohio as a vehicle security company to its leadership position today in the connected car world, Directed has grown tremendously while keeping a sharp focus on consumer service, tech support, and dealer relations. According to James Turner, senior vice president of product and technical services, who will mark his 16th anniversary with the company this month, it was about a year ago when Directed made a critical change to fuse back together several departments—namely tech support and product development—that had been operating independently of one another. “It made sense because product design depends so much on the voice of our customer and the techs have the closest relationship to the installers,” Turner said. “I view installers as our first customer and the end-consumer as the second one.” Today, there are three legs of support to address dealers, consumers, and installers. Directed’s dealer customer service department handles dealers and sales reps. “This group addresses warranties, processes orders, sets up new dealers with our reps, gives reporting information on different customers, and follows up on satisfaction issues,” Turner said. Consumer service handles calls from end users. “We get contacted about SmartStart—maybe a consumer has…
Read more...
11-16-2017, Mobile Electronics -- It was the middle of winter. The temperature was 10 degrees below zero. Two men were outside in a dirt parking lot, working on a remote start install with a blanket draped across the door to keep out the snow. An electric heater was pumping warmth into their makeshift cave to offer the only sliver of comfort they'd get on this cold, cold day. The two men had no experience with remote starters, their only guide being a printed installation manual. Nineteen years later, those two men—owner Ben Larson and his brother John—would see their store, Sound Connection, Inc., become Mobile Electronics Retailer of the Year, Store Chain. "The moral of the story is that every day I come to work, I'm kind of amazed that we've made it this far. It really did start from absolutely nothing. We had no prior experience in car audio or business and we just fumbled our way through it," Larson said. "If anybody ever wanted to start a business and was worried they didn't have enough money or knowledge, I can tell them otherwise. All you really need is grit." Since 1995, Ben Larson has been in business as…
Read more...
11-8-2017, Mobile Electronics -- Back in 2010, there was a collective mindset bubbling in the minds of 12-volt retailers across the country. Margins weren't sustainable at their previous levels due to challenges with educating the general public about all products and services available. The buzz soon built into a roar, resulting in the formation of the Mobile Electronics Specialists of America, known best as M.E.S.A.  "It was formed by a handful of retailers that were looking to be part of a buying and marketing group. They all had the same marketing needs in trying to get customers in the door and all ran similar sales," said Ryan Gunter, executive director of M.E.S.A. "As long as you don't have overlapping territories, why can't we all just share? The goal was to maximize their efforts and spread across the country to match the high tide, raising all boats." The group began with a core group of 10 members and has grown to include 135 members today. With only one retailer allowed per territory, growth is limited, but continues with over $269 million in sales to date and 261 store locations covering 43 states. Membership is broken into different levels, with the Platinum…
Read more...
11-8-2017, Entrepreneur.com -- Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the tasks you carry out as an entrepreneur? The reality is that you can automate more than you think. By taking advantage of the right tools, you can take tasks off your plate, automate the ones that remain and either delegate or eliminate tasks altogether -- to start working smarter -- not just harder. More times than not, a SaaS solution is available to help with these goals. Here are several that will make you and your business more productive. 1. Work on conversion-rate optimization: GrooveJar. You're probably already driving traffic to your website but the problem may be that most of that traffic isn't converting. GrooveJar notes that most websites have a conversion rate of less than 3 percent. That means 97 percent of your traffic is leaving your site without buying. But, what if you could lower that rate and convert 4, 5 or even 6 percent of your traffic? Just think how much of an impact that would have on your bottom line. GrooveJar is a tool that helps you optimize your conversion rate. It offers several tools that can aid in email collection, highlight social proof and promotions and…
Read more...
11-6-2017 -- For most of us, and for a long time, thinking about the phrase “the office” or “office culture” conjured up a similar, and quintessential, image. It probably contained rows of cubicles, and variations on an uncomfortable type of chair. But these days, office culture is increasingly about the intangibles we can’t see as easily: ideas. Startups have emerged in recent years as thought leaders in a variety of encouraging ways throughout the business world. By the time they’re done, office culture might mean something totally different to the next generation. Here are three ways they’re doing it. Letting Employees Address Life’s Small Necessities   One of the greatest gifts startup culture has delivered so far to the corporate world has been the loosening of the clichéd and claustrophobic nine-to-five routine we’re all so familiar with. Sure, even some of the larger corporations have embraced ideas like “flex time” over the years, but it took our great pivot back to garage-based startups and locally owned businesses for the concept to really take off. A lot of today’s startups choose to trust their employees with managing their own schedules, up to and including deciding for themselves when to show up…
Read more...
10-25-2017, Mobile Electronics -- Growth is interpreted differently by business owners the world over, and that’s because it’s different for everyone. While one business may wish to expand, another might want to stay small. Over the years, each business picks up various strategies that work well for them. Mobile Toys, Inc. in College Station, Texas expanded in unanticipated ways, increasing space, diversifying product and adding staff. “Three years ago, we opened up our own upholstery shop,” said Chris Pate of Mobile Toys. “We brought in our own stitcher and sewing machines. We expanded our offerings to dealerships for aftermarket leather kits and are able to do more custom interiors and repairs,” he added, noting that this was an entire segment of their business that they were unable to do before. At their second location in Bryan, Texas, the company has a 600 square foot space dedicated to special upholstery. “From there we got into doing hot rod interiors, which went hand-in-hand with our work,” Pate added. “Since then, we started to do truck accessories. We can do everything you want on a vehicle. We just don’t do paint and body.” While Mobile Toys expanded, Tunes-N-Tint of Lakeland, Fla. has consolidated…
Read more...