Industry Commentary

Common Characteristics of Businesses That Thrive...


Lately, I have been thinking about businesses that have had a positive effect on my life. These businesses are thriving. It’s worth noting the characteristics they have that enables them to thrive in an ever-changing marketplace.

Tending Life’s Garden…

One of the things I enjoy doing is taking care of flowers on our front porch and tending to the few house plants we have. I enjoy the color they bring to our home entry and people often comment on how pretty the flowers on our porch look. 

It’s not hard to do. These annual flowers bloom, look great for a while, and then start to lose their color and die. As they fade, I simply pull them out and replace them with something new, and the planters look great again. It’s really simple to keep my porch flowers fresh.

I Could Have Slept In!

Something strange has happened to me. On a recent 3 day holiday weekend I had the opportunity to sleep in. But I didn’t. Saturday night was a concert at the Hollywood Bowl and Sunday we started early packing meals at our church for families in Haiti. I was looking forward to sleeping in on the Holiday Monday when my wife told me the runners group we hang out with was going out at 7:00 AM. What would seem like an automatic NO has become a much easier YES for me.

ADD…on an (A)

In the promotional marketing industry, we all know what an (A) represents. The (A) in ADD, (Attention Deficit Disorder) doesn’t mean half of anything.

In a commentary I wrote on organization, which is certainly is not my strong suit, I mentioned my ADD. From that piece, I heard from several other people who are also blessed with ADD. We realized bringing the subject of ADD out in the open enables others to realize that how they function isn’t necessarily a negative thing.


It is HOT as I write this in Southern California, making it hard to believe that Summer is over and Fall is upon us.
This year we didn’t take a big vacation, but took a couple of short ones. Our end of the summer getaway was a few days on Catalina Island. Catalina is an awesome gem, just an hour by boat out of Long Beach, CA. We hiked, visited the interior where bison roam, saw bald eagles, did miniature bowling, which I am horrible at, and had a few good meals. Getting away is SO important to our personal and professional development!

Where Are Trade Shows Going?

In our first article on What’s Happening with Trade Shows, we covered the SAAC Show in Long Beach, which is a strong Regional Association event. This article was posted online and there were a couple of anonymous comments complaining that the article featured links to product videos. These were interesting items we found at the show. 

What’s Happening with Trade Shows?

Full disclosure here…and I’ve said this before, I LOVE trade shows. There is no better way for distributors to connect with their supplier partners. Suppliers have the opportunity to connect with new prospects and strengthen relationships with current customers. There is no question however that the dynamics of trade shows are changing. It’s a big topic that I will address in two parts.

Maintaining Profitability – Part 1

The news of a well-known supplier with a long history closing their doors stunned the industry recently. This isn’t the first of such casualties and it certainly won’t be the last. There will also be losses of distributors and more consolidation. Strong suppliers will buy smaller suppliers and strong distributors will absorb smaller distributors. Some companies will just close their doors.

I Confess. I Lied.

Many of you may know that my faith and values are important to me. Reluctantly, I must share that I've done something I normally don't do. I lied.

Business Lessons From Mickey Mouse!

I learned some things during a few day trip to Disneyland. My wife and I agreed to be chaperones for Grad Nite. On Grad Nite, Disneyland is open until 2:00 AM with just high school graduates and their chaperones. (It sounded like a good idea at the time.) I’m sure this goes on in locations all around the country, but being from Southern California, Disneyland is the place to be.

Pondering Life’s Milestones…

My family celebrated a milestone occasion when my son graduated from high school. I am sure many of you can relate to these significant education accomplishments, either as a proud parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle.

What Some Buyers Really Want…Cheap Crap Online!

We’ve talked about evolving business models that have created uproar in recent commentaries. First we addressed this in The Wave...This Issue is not Going Away. In a fun, tongue-in-cheek story, Snoopes Promo Uncovers the Truth About Bad Companie

A "Condemned" Supplier Shares the Truth!

Much has been said lately about how businesses in our industry operate. I’ve covered this issue in a recent commentary; The Wave…This Issue is not Going Away and in my “tongue and cheek” April Fools piece, Snoopes Promo Uncovers the Truth About Bad Companies.

There clearly are companies who operate in ways that are contrary to the traditional Supplier/Distributor model we are comfortable with. However, some companies are being judged by what people perceive is really happening, without an understanding of what is actually happening.

Snoopes Promo Uncovers the Truth About Bad Companies!

Responding to a need in our industry, a group of savvy distributors and suppliers have come together to create a badly needed resource. Their mission is to bring truth and justice to our industry.

The landing page of the site offers this intro:

The Wave...This Issue is Not Going Away

Some topics never really go away. Like “the wave” in a stadium, an issue comes around…there is a lot of standing up, screaming, arm waving, then the fervor passes.

But like the wave, it doesn’t mean the arm waving and conversation on a hot topic isn’t important to have once in a while. I know this has been addressed before, but based on the fervor over this in multiple discussion forums, it seems worth revisiting again.