Insights into the forces shaping our industry.

Who Don’t You Know

Industry Commentary

One of the benefits of being a successful company with over 21 years of industry ties is that we’ve developed a database of over 32,000 unique companies and over 119,000 unique people. That’s a lot of data entry, industry research, conferences, journals and phone calls. But having that resource is incredibly valuable. Our core value is identifying talent, of course. But identifying the right talent should mean conducting a thorough search; not simply doing multiple postings of a job opening.

We’re leveraging 21 years of confidential conversations with CEOs, Presidents, GMs, Owners, Investors, Boards and VPs. We’ve consulted on strategic plans, organizational strategy, channel strategy and compensation policies. Our value to our clients is the legacy of these conversations and emphasizes that we’re an active participant in the electrical industry at large. We speak at conferences, we write articles for trade journals, we attend trade shows, technical conferences and investor forums. Our mantra is to meet new people; every day, which brings us to the changes in our industry.

Most of our clients have some belief that they are experts in their segment. This belief manifests itself into responses that ‘we know everybody’; or we know our competitors better than anyone; or we know all our customers. Those beliefs are based in confidence or they’re based in tenure and they are never truly accurate.

Let’s play a fun little game, please guess how many companies, located in the US, there are for each category:

  1. Lighting manufacturers
  2. Electrical distributors
  3. Wire/cable manufacturers
  4. Power Distribution manufacturers
  5. Lighting design firms

So, the point of this exercise is this… if you can’t accurately assess the number of competitors you have; how does that impact your annual strategic planning efforts?

How do you calculate ‘market share’ if you’re missing new competitors, and subsequently the key talent at each competitor, that you don’t even know about?

If your plan is to simply outcompete your top 3 competitors; how does that strategy address the impact of hundreds of smaller companies each taking a $1M+ from that market pool, each year? Your sales may grow; but your presence is declining. Eventually you will be outcompeting large companies that overall have lost relevance.

Business has changed. We’ve tracked well over 1,000 new entrants in the just the past 7 or 8 years (and we readily admit we don’t know everybody). These could be new sources of revenue, or new sources of competition. But if you view the industry as… we know everybody… you’re backing up.

Business has changed. New channel players are selling basic ‘stuff’ every day… but, do you know them?  We’re talking about new companies, selling new technologies through their industry relationships; which may not include legacy channels.

Business has changed. Technology has changed the industry. Software, sensors, electronics, wireless, communications… . We’ve changed. Buying influences have changed. Competitors may be companies that you ‘know’; but there may be someone you’ve never heard of. Even traditional channel players are changing; industrial and plumbing distributors sell lighting; NEMRA and lighting reps are selling wire, power distribution and lighting equipment; wire manufacturers are promoting wireless.

We lose 10,000 baby boomers every day to retirement. Technology is evolving as you’re reading this.  Your good customers are changing rapidly. It’s no longer who you know; it’s who you don’t know.

Let our expertise introduce you to someone new!