So there I was roughly about eight years ago sitting in my little office in my then new shop. I needed to come up with a logo for this business I had started. At the time I didn’t have two nickels to rub together so hiring someone to help me with it was out of the question. At the time I really felt like I had won and conquered something. I quit my day job and went to work for myself. So I took the words Little Power Shop and started playing with them. I added some checkered flags to either side. They are the universal sign of winning which reflected my inner feelings at that moment but to be honest looked like shit. I then just altered the words so that they waved a little like a flag. It needed something else though. I looked around the shop and there was a blown big block car sitting in the one bay. Perfect. I found some clip art of a blown engine and added it to the logo. Done. You may have seen this before. It looked like this:
Eight years have passed since the first time I posted that logo up. I couldn’t begin to guess the way we would grow and the place we are in now. I would say that we have been lucky and blessed but if you knew all the behind the scenes challenges to get here today you may be questioning my sanity. Growing a business isn’t easy. Because as soon as you have something figured out and a system in place, any growth will make you toss it out the window tomorrow if you want to stay in business. I have never had any formal education past high school which I detested. I sometimes feel completely unequipped to make the daily decisions I have to these days. On sheer will and determination I power through.
One of the funny things you learn along the way is that it is really hard to be the type of person that someone can just tell you that the logo you designed and has defined your life for a decade just plain sucks. The logo that you wear every day doesn’t convey the true essence of your company. I work really hard to be that kind of person but probably fail at it. I’m lucky to have people in my life who don’t care if I’m not and tell me straight up truths anyways. The hard truth is that we are not the bitty company from Pithole Road in Cyclone, PA and in order to thrive I need to make some changes. The first was a new logo:
We sat down to define what our company stood for. We are a strong but simple company. We adhere to old school speed shop type mentality. We wanted something modern and clean but yet retro and old school. We wanted a logo that did not represent a gas or diesel engine since we do both and so much more. I tasked Tim from www.brandblazer.com with the job of coming up with the new logo since he did a great job on the Black Diamond Diesel logo for us. He did an incredible job again. So the new logo was one of the changes we made this week. Here it is:
The second was a new phone system. I made this change kicking and screaming but I think my staff was ready to kill me if I didn’t. I personally hate any kind of automated system. I prefer to speak to a real English speaking person when I call a business. So an automated phone system was completely against my inner fiber. But our call volume had grown to a point that the phones rang nearly non-stop during the day at every station. Not only is that distracting but nine times out of ten when you answer an incoming call it isn’t for you and needs redirected. For those that have called this week, your call was answered by our new phone system. I strived to keep it the message as short and quick as possible as to not waste anyone’s time. I wasn’t surprised that our staff was much happier, but I was surprised from the feedback customers have given me. They get to the right person much quicker now. So I probably dragged my feet too long on that one.
The next big change is our website. If you are reading this right now you were directed to our new website. Yes, we just redid it last fall. Yes I want to pull my hair out. While the new version that came out a little while ago was a step up from our old site, there was a bunch missing. One of the biggest things I want to do with our website is be a resource to help you get your truck fixed or at least understood. In our old site the tech articles, blog, and newsletter sign up were all buried. Some of it was clunky and hard to use. We spent a lot of time making sure that this one is user friendly and the resource information is easy to find. We are still adding to it so please be patient for the next couple of weeks as we iron out all the kinks.
Lastly we are working on a customer management system that will streamline our entire business. We grew from very small to the size we are now very quickly. We really didn’t plan for it. It just happened. And I’m thankful. But keeping track of everything that goes on here on a daily basis is like herding cats with a vacuum cleaner. We have been streamlining our systems for about a year now and have one last piece to put in place. I won’t bore you with all the details but our staff will have complete information about every customer whether they ordered off our website, over the phone, on Ebay, or have a truck in the shop, bought something two years ago, or just called up for advice. I want to serve our customer better. We owe you that. If you are a regular customer you will see a huge shift in the level of information you receive during any purchase or scheduled shop work.
I just want to take a second also and thank all our customers and friends who have helped us get where we are today. We really try to do our best every time with every customer. I feel lucky that I get to get up every day and live my dream. I feel blessed that I have not only the best staff in the world but also some of the best customers in the world. It motivates me to try to work harder to make things easier and better for both groups. Thank you.