Month: April 2011

Evolve or Die – Seven Steps to Rethink the Way You Do Business

Robin Crow, author of Evolve or Die – Seven Step to Rethink the Way You Do Business, was the Featured Speaker at the MHI Congress and Expo in Las Vegas, Thursday, April 28.  His theme was the solid example of companies that have successfully reinvented themselves by adapting to ongoing events as they occur.  Following are some of his comments as noted by Publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

The Crow Company and Dark Horse Recording have worked with many recording artists, including star performers Michael W Smith, Scott Hendrix, Faith Hill, Neil Diamond and Tim McGraw.  Consumers do not buy CDs like they used to; they prefer downloading for free.

Faith Hill and Scott her producer/editor make a typical hundreds, perhaps thousands of vocal takes to compile the final recording you hear.  After one week in the studio, Scott was talking about the deli sandwiches that Robin made.  They ran long on the planned five weeks, and needed two more weeks in the studio.  Robin said, “Before Neil Diamond comes in, but we have to raise my rates $75 a day.”  Faith said, “No problem, the sandwiches alone are worth it.”

This was a paradigm shift for Robin, who realized he was not in the business of hi tech systems, but in the business of serving people and exceeding their expectations.  To this end, he created Raving Fans.  Serving food to famous people was only one way he exceeded the expectations of his clients.

When Tim McGraw did his last recording at Dark Horse, he booked all the facilities.  Not just the studio, but the log home and other facilities.  He brought along 35 people.  Faith and Tim live only six miles away, but six nights a week they would stay at the studio compound.  Tim brought firewood.  Flames reached two feet, four feet and then six feet.

Robin didn’t have much money.  He had been let go by RCA, and was too old to rock and roll, too young to die.  But he had a vision and he could visualize the next step.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” ~ Thomas Edison

Robin traded future studio times for labor, ran up credit cards sky high and raised $134,000 in cash on credit cards.  Once his building was up, banks took interest and he raised several million from the banks.  A decade later, his business is solely in serving.

“We find ways to reinvent ourselves to serve our customers.”  His business is “more like a guest resort that serves our customers.  The best bonding experience is working your tail off, let young see the work ethic.  Let the youth take pride of it.”

One son is video editing for the company.  The other son is a world class chef who sometimes gets involved.

When asked, “What were your failures, how did you overcome them?” Robin replied, “Just don’t stop.”

He doesn’t consider himself the smartest, but he is really persistent, putting one foot in front of the other.

The studio was hurting, but his speaking engagements were really, really good; three of four income steams were hurting, but six months turned it all around.  He received 132 rejection letters before getting signed by the RCA studio.  “Getting a job is full time job until you get employment,” he says.  “Jump and it will appear.”

Success is people and priorities. A leader leads by example whether he means to or not.  Bryan Tracy, for instance, is slow to hire, quick to fire.  Some leaders do not have enthusiasm; persistence or whatever is not in their DNA.

Get people who are hungry and want it – that’s the best team we have.

Raving Fans:

If someone is ordering a home – if they do not know how to solve all the steps involved, make sure they know you are trying to take care of it.

We he spoke for ATT last week, he noted that it is eight times as expensive to find a new customer as it is to keep the existing ones.  So bend over backwards to make sure the customers know you care.

His book, Evolve or Die, presents a seven-step challenge:

  1. Do whatever it takes to EXCEED EXPECTATIONS.
    2.  Commit to daily MEASURABLE IMPROVEMENT.
    3. Develop an ACCOUNTABILITY MATRIX – take responsibility.
    4. Revitalize Your Organization through MULTIDIMENSIONAL THINKING.
    5. Create a Culture of SHARED SACRIFICE.
    6. Transform your Business Philosophy to a TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE (Profits. People. Planet.)
    7. Dedicate Yourself to a Lifetime of MAKING A DIFFERENCE.

    He has a list of relationships and sends a Quote of the Day to everyone; that’s 20,000 people who get the Quote of the Day, twice a week.  Add value to people’s lives.  This might not have sex appeal, but every word is real.

    Exceeding expectations.  You are not a winner or loser, you are a chooser.  Be the miracle.  Then decide.  Will you be a force for good, and for God?  Step out on faith or give into fear.  Will you bleed, will you lead?  Will you keep going when the cold wind blows?

    There is no better way to be a winner than to exceed expectations.  Go the extra mile.

    You were not born a winner or loser.  You were born a chooser.  You are the miracle. # #

    Robin Crow, The Crow Company,

    What do NV, PA and OK have in common besides music?

    Why, outstanding manufactured housing venues – congress/expo and shows – that’s what!

    Next week is SHOW TIME around the country! Three big manufactured housing events are all scheduled for the week of April 24. Enjoy the venues – enjoy the songs!

    2011 National Congress & Expo
    Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
    April 26-28



    HOMExpo 2011
    York, PA
    TRADE DAYS: April 26th – 28th, PUBLIC DAYS: April 29th – May 1st



    The Great Southwest Home Show 2011
    QuickTrip Center at Expo Square, Tulsa OK
    TRADE/INDUSTRY DAYS: April 28 -29th (1:00 p.m.), PUBLIC DAYS: April 29th (3:00 p.m.) – May 1st



    See you in Vegas and Tulsa for our two seminars:

    Engaging the Media: How to Make Positive PR and Good Media Relations a Reality
    MHI Congress & Expo, Caesars Palace – Las Vegas, Nevada,
    Thursday, April 28 at 11:15 a.m. PDT – See MHMSM in Booth 610
    Great Southwest Home Show, QuikTrip Center, Expo Square – Tulsa, Oklahoma,
    Friday, April 29, 2:00-3:00 p.m. – See MHMSM in Booth 101

    “Dominate Your Local Market” Seminar
    MHI Congress & Expo, Caesars Palace – Las Vegas, Nevada,
    Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 1:00-2:30 p.m. – See MHMSM in Booth 610
    Great Southwest Home Show, QuikTrip Center, Expo Square – Tulsa, Oklahoma,
    Friday, April 29, 2011 10:00-11:00 a.m. – See MHMSM in Booth 101

    Video credits:  “Viva Las Vegas” Video for Elvis Presley singing “Viva Las Vegas”; “Hills of Pennsylvania;  “Oklahoma”

    The Sum of All Fears and Manufactured Housing

    “The Sum of All Fears” is a 2002 movie based on a Tom Clancy political/action/thriller novel that used the same title.  In the movie, a neo-Nazi group plots to get Russia and the United States to destroy each other.  This was to be done by the hidden swastika-brandishing group staging a spectacular incident, and making it look like one nation planned to attack and destroy the other.  Without giving away the story for those who may not have seen it, the two powers have to learn to trust each other – during intense conditions – just enough to avoid disaster, and defeat the real and somewhat hidden enemy who hatched the plot.

    Movies and books can often have ‘morals’ or lessons they can teach us.  Beyond the action, the movie suggests that sometimes rivals have good reasons – or life-and-death motivations – to set aside their differences, and strive to trust each other enough to get a critical job done.

    From time to time, the word or wish goes out that the Manufactured Housing Industry needs to speak with ‘one voice.’  Without denying the inherent value and potential power of unity, there must also be a realistic approach to the dynamics of competing groups and voices. Competing viewpoints arise for specific reasons.  History, personalities and unique interests can entrench positions.

    But those sorts of realities do not mean that the professional rivals are unable to cooperate when conditions warrant it.

    During a critical phase of the Cold War, Ronald Reagan popularized the phrase, “Trust, but verify.”  Professional negotiators or mediators learn the art of finding the areas of mutual interest, and crafting agreements that yield benefits to the various parties that still respect their key interests.  This is precisely what needs to happen in the Manufactured Housing Industry today.

    This message should not be viewed as some sort of veiled reference to parties active in Washington DC, because this scenario is likely as close as your own business and market area.  This potentially valuable lesson of working with people or parties – even those whom we may have doubts or real concerns – is an important one for our Industry at this time.

    Mutual victories are possible. Industry progress can be achieved.  But this is best accomplished when a healthy respect for the other’s capabilities and interests are in place.

    When we doubt – or worse, decry or demean – a potential resource, who or what can be an ally (even if for only a short term) can be lost.  The costs for failing to bridge the gap for a business, group or Industry can be high.  The win-lose mentality can, in fact, lead to a loss for all concerned.

    Every need a professional, company or an MH Industry segment has today can be met.  Not someday, but almost immediately. How is it done?

    Mutual respect.  Sincere understanding.

    Listening with keen attention to not just your own goals, but the interests and needs of other stakeholders.

    Learning to work together with people or groups that we may not be used to (or want to?!) work with, and yet do so with the goal of mutual rewards.

    Think about these facts:

    – American incomes are down.
    – U.S. households continue to form.
    – We sell quality, affordable homes.
    – Manufactured home communities have vacancies.
    – Retailers want more sales.
    – Homeowners need economic security in a home they can enjoy and the ability to sell when needed or desired.
    – Manufacturers and suppliers want orders and business.
    – Government officials and associations need to find ways to serve the public and business.
    – Lenders and investors desire security and a reasonable return on their investment.
    – Professionals and companies need each other and should respect and build up each other.

    This sketch above is not a plan, but an outline that may point the way to business growth and mutual success.

    Consider “The Sum of All Fears” and its lesson as a metaphor for the Manufactured Housing Industry, its professionals and businesses.  What do YOU need?  Who or what can help you or your interest group?  Who or what can you reach out to help?

    Learn to work with others who may seem like rivals, but who offer you something that you need!  By respectfully working towards sincere mutual victories, the results can be professional, business and Industry success. ##

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