Invest in Your Business to Outrun Your Competition

May 28, 2017

One of my favorite joke/parable/story is: Two guys are sleeping in a tent. They hear a large bear roar and start to claw at the tent. One of the guys starts to put on his running shoes and the other says, “What are you doing? You can’t outrun the bear.” The one putting on his shoes says, “I know, I only have to outrun you!”

Two recent happenings at Sea-Land brought to mind two of my favorite topics on how to invest in our business to be able to outrun the competition. The first are trade shows and the second are interns.

Last week was the STLE Annual Meeting in Atlanta. This gathering of individuals from our industry gives many opportunities to learn about important issues while connecting with others to strengthen relationships. Having attended over 30 of these Annual Meetings (many as field trips when I was young …..ok….that was a joke) I am amazed at the evolution. The meetings, like everything in life, used to be easy and different. Now they are a lot of hard work, but with a lot of great results. With the ever-changing world we live in, the relationships nurtured at this event with customers, suppliers and competitors make navigating the world we are now in easier.

Using technology along with an event such as the STLE Annual Meeting is fun and rewarding. Noting that one individual, Bryan Huston (our company policy does not allow me to reference other companies within my newsletters…LOL) was using LinkedIn to the max, I enlisted one of our new, young intern-turned-employee to see if I could duplicate, ok, surpass Bryan’s “likes”. This “competition” forced me to learn more about LinkedIn and further help my skills in digital networking. Thank you to Brittany, and I guess, Bryan as well.

Which brings me to my second form of investment to our business, interns. We have been fortunate to have had many great interns over the years. We recently had two more of them join us full time, the aforementioned Brittany and David. Interns bring a lot to the table. They can do things that you would like to do but cannot complete due to lack of those precious commodities known as – time and endless financial resources. It is also a way to assist them in paying for their education, as well as help them understand what working in an office is like in the real world. They also bring a lot of information and know how themselves. We have a mentoring program within our company and last week, at a conference I heard the term “reverse mentoring” used. It seems, with Brittany and I working together on LinkedIn, we are already realizing that the “reverse” works as well.

There are many ways to invest in your business so you can outrun the competition, please let me know of any of your ideas.

All the best,

Joe Clayton