Ridin’ in my Low Rider

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I am very fascinated by low riders. 

What’s not to love? They sit 6 inches off the ground, they are customized to the gills with 13 inch rims, flamboyant colors, hydraulic systems controlled at the flip of a switch creating unnatural gyrations including the ability to dance to your favorite country or rap lyrics. 

The best part? The LEAN! You know what I’m talking about. The LEAN of the driver seated in what looks to the naked eye like the back seat.

It is just a physical expression of confidence, pride and dominance because she knows what that thing can do as it rides real slow down the boulevard.      

Here’s the deal: That expression of dominance started out as a hoopty that someone put a ton of love, time and money into earnestly wishing for the day they got to express their emotion through that glorious lean. 

That dominance is called sustainable competitive advantage. On a street filled with other cars, That low rider is one of one.


Building My Low Rider

Well, we are only a few iterations from the “hoopty phase” of the build with my business. From dealing with our strip club customer strategy, fighting a steady flow of former employees turned competitors to navigating the impact of Covid, it is obvious that we need to reduce our center of gravity so that our asset light operation doesn’t get blown out of existence.

Here are two areas where we’ve made the most investments

1. The happier the people, the funner the ride down the boulevard

As you would expect, people were undercompensated when I bought the business. With revenues declining in the early days, the last thing I wanted to do was monkey around with the cost structure and risk blowing covenants. That was not smart. It’s hard to overstate the toxicity of having people who were overworked, unhappy or incompetent in their roles. The overhaul necessary was significant: Significant enough that I turned over my entire team twice!

Another important practice of ours is partnering with our people to achieve their personal goals. We’ve worked with employees on creating the space and flexibility to achieve their personal and financial health goals. These things have increased the retention and tenure of our people significantly.    

2. The Technology Investment – The engine that powers the ride

The Flintstones are a great cartoon. But operating in the stone age with paper systems left us with no differentiator from our competitors. Our speed to serve was equal or worse, and our overhead was higher. So implementing field management software systems to enable efficient operations were paramount. Frankly, it is tough to quantify the value of this to our customers especially because of the broader battles that we’ve had to fight. But I know as we scale the impact will be more apparent. 


Rookie top reads

How To Develop Your Competitive Advantage

Developing your competitive advantage is about considering your positioning and how you can innovate on your current offerings for increased market share.

Key insight: There’s a difference between sustainable advantages that you’ll reasonably be able to maintain and unsustainable ones, so think about your business in the long-term to develop your competitive advantage.

Summary: Building your competitive advantage is about looking at customer needs, the variety you offer, and making yourself more accessible. Think about how the design of your sales process and customer experience as the first step and use that as a building block to create sustainable changes that your business can maintain in the long-run rather than drastic changes that won’t last.

Workforce Planning for Competitive Advantage Post-COVID-19

As Covid continues to loom over us, it’s essential to think about building competitive advantages around your workforce in this new normal.

Key insight: Flexible workforce planning will give you a significant advantage and enables you to retain talent during a challenging time.

Summary: Make remote work a crucial part of your future workforce planning. This can help you in creating flexible cash flows along with many other benefits for employees. As we move forward with Covid lingering, this is the best time to think about your business conditions and analyze what skills are needed to create a talent plan for your organization moving forward.

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