Forge the Relationships that Count
I was recently talking with industry friends Randy Wilson, of Wilson Home Theater Systems, and Eric Leicht, president of AV Partners. Our candid conversation touched on those who are going to survive the current changes in our industry. Said Eric, “In general, it seems that the custom integrators that work in the high end are super busy, but their numbers are down. They have plenty of jobs that are long-term; it’s the smaller jobs that are drying up.”
Added Randy Wilson, “During the recent writers’ strike [Randy is based in Los Angeles], there was a knock on effect to my business, but now everything is back to normal and the phones are ringing.” Both men agreed that there are always lots of new companies starting up and offering competition. Said Eric, “There are a lot of guys coming in from the IT side. One advantage they have is that they are very nimble and quick. It keeps everyone on their toes.” Countered Randy, “Yes, but they haven’t had time to establish themselves with the interior design and architectural communities; that is absolutely crucial to our higher-end business.”
So true. Forging those relationships is oftentimes the only way some custom integrators break into the high end. I hope all of you pick up a copy of CEDIA’s Electronic Lifestyles® magazine at EXPO this month. I had a wonderful time producing it with CEDIA and my amazing editorial team and art director. It is being mailed to 30,000 interior designers, builders, architects and building designers. Also of great importance is our Security Supplement this issue. If you really want to distinguish yourself from the new-guy competition in your town, security could be your answer.
Thrive & Survive
Take a peek at our updated editorial calendar for the remainder of the year and on into 2009 and you can’t help but notice a lot more coverage of practical business strategies that speaks to revenue, profit and the bottom line. The featured strategies in each issue are targeted to enhance your overall business acumen, written and presented by some of the most accomplished experts in their respective fields.
Maureen really shines at attracting talent! The who’s who of our industry are eager to share their experiences and you will see a lot more use of case studies to drive home our philosophy that CustomRetailer is a catalyst for learning from one another.
You’re important, too! Look for a new reader survey in every other issue with results published soon after online and in an issue of CustomRetailer. The new year will ring in surveys and coverage that range from products and services that sell from the luxury market to home security in addition to core best practices in customer service, employee compensation and education.
In fact, here in this issue, we ask you to share your opinions on your educational experiences here at CEDIA EXPO and the tear-out section on How to Sell Security is intended as a reference guide.
Speaking of reference guides, the CustomRetailer Annual Directory, mailing with the December 2008 issue, presents a comprehensive guide to the Best of the Best companies that offer products and services for the custom installation industry PLUS the Best Strategies for Thriving and Surviving PLUS the 2008 CEDIA Manufacturers’ Excellence Award Winners.
CustomRetailer is your champion for thriving in an ever-changing and competitive environment. See you in Denver!