CVBSummit: Expanding Your Horizons
Imagine if your primary business was predicated on vehicles sustaining body damage that then required repairs. What would happen if suddenly these cars and trucks weren’t on the road, and therefore weren’t running into each other (or other objects)? While we frequently have short memories – and this can certainly be a valid defense mechanism to protect ourselves from painful experiences – this scenario just described is exactly what happened during the COVID pandemic when shelter in place orders went into effect.
If you know Tony Rimas, who is a Venture Partner from Autotech Ventures, you likely know of his personal involvement in a company called Repairify. During early 2020, when COVID started to become a common word in our vocabulary and our world changed dramatically, Repairify faced a huge challenge to their business model, and in reality, their survival, because they were in the collision repair business.
So what did they do? According to Rimas, who shared this case study when speaking at the recent Commercial Vehicle Business Summit, this is when they started to “look at what we could do to diversify our business in order to live another day.” And diversify is exactly what they did. This diversification led to them expanding their horizons and adapting to a changing world.
The lesson here for all of us is to look toward the future and examine what needs exist in the market and ways that you [your business or your department] can fulfill these needs. When viewing the commercial vehicle space this way, you quickly recognize there are many opportunities for those who are willing to look. Rimas explains it this way, “Think about a deeper relationship with your commercial customer. What else do they purchase alongside the vehicle? Who do they do business with from a roadside standpoint? What telematics technology are they using?” If you look at your business and your customers with this type of view, once you identify some of their needs, you can then look at how you can help, which is really what the commercial vehicle business is all about, as most of us who’ve been part of this ecosystem for any length of time will attest. Figuring out how you can assist your customers (who you likely look at as partners – and hopefully they look at you the same way) is key to building trust with them, while also building your business, and providing them with a way to be more efficient and profitable in their operation.
Rimas also brought up some questions to consider when talking about commercial customers, such as, “Are you tracking how long they’ve had [their vehicle(s)]? Are you tracking how much their business is growing?” When you approach it this way, and then take action once you have the answers to these questions, you apply a future thinking mindset that will expand the horizons of your business, along with boosting your bottom line. This expansion means growth in both today’s market, as well as the future, whatever that might be.
So don’t wait, start applying a forward-looking mentality today and expand your business horizons; you’ll be glad you did.
Access the full playlist of all of the presentations/panel discussions from the Commercial Vehicle Business Summit Spring 2023. [button]