How many companies can you name that have been around for more than 100 years?
Bell performance is one of them. Glenn Williams is the President of Bell Performance, a company that helps people take care of their fuel to get the most out of their vehicles and equipment. While he leads the company today, Glenn looks back at the history of the company to be reminded of the roots that have kept the company running after so many years.
When Robert J. Bell founded the company in 1909, he had one goal in mind: create a treatment that would clean and restore the engine performance of the newly minted Model T automobile. In other words, he wanted drivers to have the best experience possible in their new car. He wanted to solve their fuel, performance, and lubrication needs with his product.
He led his company with the motto: may the world be better because of Bell.
Over 100 years later, that’s still Bell Performance’s goal, even under new leadership. Glenn has been running the company with his family and intends to run it for another 100 years.
Four Ways To Achieve Longevity In Business
A business doesn’t run successfully for more than 100 years just by luck alone. It’s hard work. But with passion, intention, and grit, your business can also live a long life ahead. Here are Glenn’s four tips for achieving longevity in your business:
Have a clear purpose and vision
Robert Bell started his company because he saw a need he knew he could meet, so he went after it. He wanted to help as many people as he could through his fuel additives.
Glenn’s family wanted to follow in his footsteps when they bought the company. They vowed to go out of their way when it came to helping people. What they’ve learned from doing this is that success naturally follows this type of purpose and vision.
They know they’ll continue to be successful as long as they keep the customer and their needs at the forefront and hold onto the passion to do whatever they can to solve their problems and meet their needs. They are on a mission to impact people in the marketplace, and they will achieve that because of their clear purpose and vision.
Selling is helping. -Todd Hockenberry
Consistency in your business helps performance. Bell Performance leadership has been as consistent as possible over long stretches of time. They see this as a unique ability to see their ideas come to fruition- in other words, they can be patient to implement their ideas because they’re loyal to the company.
A consistent leadership team is also better equipped to educate the sales team. This creates sales teams that are knowledgeable in the product, able to uncover potential problems for the customer, and offer valuable solutions that actually help.
They also remain consistent in the content they create. They’re intentional about creating content they know the readers will value. This yields good credibility for the company as an expert in the industry which leads to more trust in their product and brand. And we all know more trust equals more profit.
It’s difficult to be successful when you’re eyes are trying to look in multiple directions. Glenn says that identifying a specific need in the marketplace and being relentless about focusing on solving that one problem at the highest level gives you greater probability of succeeding.
They don’t focus their efforts on multiple car-related products; they do one thing well. They fix fuel so that you can have a better experience in the car/equipment you value. This narrow focus helps the team make decisions confidently because they can quickly tell when they’re going off track with an idea. Know your purpose and focus on that.
High trust environment
Glenn might run the company with his family, but that doesn’t mean everybody gets to do whatever they want or that they always agree.
But to him, a high trust environment means they don’t micromanage, they designate responsibility, and they don’t meddle in another’s area once they’ve been given responsibility over it. Easier said than done?
It starts with the people you hire, family or not. Glenn told us, ”we don’t hire people who just punch the clock. We hire people who take initiative and have the ownership mentality of their particular part of the company.”
An ownership mentality means the team member “owns” their small part of the company and it’s up to them to develop, innovate, and grow that particular part. They make it clear up front in the hiring process that any particular role isn’t a passive role. They are required to be actively involved and excited about the purpose of the company.
Everyone identifies with the ownership model and are encouraged to make mistakes in the name of innovation.
Take a look at some companies that haven’t survived the long-haul and what will you see? Anything from a breakdown in leadership, to a lack of vision, or an inability to reach their target audience. That doesn’t have to be you; what change can you start implementing today, this week, or this year to survive and thrive in business?
Listen to our conversation with Glenn Williams on The Industrial Executive podcast. To ensure you never miss an episode, subscribe on iTunes (or where ever you get your podcasts!)
Topics: Industrial Executive