This issue is GEARS Magazineâ€™s silver jubilee. Itâ€™s hard to believe itâ€™s been 25 years since we first started publishing GEARS.
Itâ€™s common when someone celebrates an anniversary, whether itâ€™s a wedding, a business, or anything else for that matter, to ask, where did the time go? I canâ€™t believe itâ€™s been that long. Itâ€™s the same for ATRA. I started working here during ATRAâ€™s 35th anniversary; now here we are at 63!
Itâ€™s fun to reminisce, and weâ€™d like to share some interesting stories and photos from years past. Check out the article on page 40.
Something else happens at anniversaries, especially wedding anniversaries: Someone inevitably asks, â€śWhatâ€™s the secret for lasting so long?â€ť People want to know how they made it through 25 yearsâ€¦ even more so when it gets to 50 and beyond.
So here are some thoughts about what we do at GEARS and ATRA that, I think, keeps us at the top of our game. Thereâ€™s no big secret, nothing all that special, but itâ€™s important, and something you can put to use in your own business.
The first thing you need to do is identify your purpose. Weâ€™ve covered this before, and itâ€™s something Iâ€™ll be talking about at this yearâ€™s Expo. Itâ€™s an important part of keeping your company focused.
Why? Because without a defined purpose, your employees will wind up defining your business as a series of task-oriented points: â€śWe do this, that, and the other thing.â€ť
Those points might describe what you do throughout the day, but they donâ€™t define why you do it. They donâ€™t provide a â€śbig-pictureâ€ť idea that people can relate to and remember. So whatâ€™s the purpose of GEARS?
The purpose of GEARS is to create a reader.
Notice thereâ€™s nothing about sales or advertising, nothing about the financial part of the magazine that pays the bills. Itâ€™s simple: Create a reader.
Creating a reader means being in touch with what the reader wants. In our case, they want to fix cars and get paid. They want their customers back on the road. Itâ€™s the test we use with each article we publish. We ask this throughout the process, and yes, weâ€™ve tossed more than a few articles because we didnâ€™t feel they met that goal.
Taking this to the next level, the new GEARS Magazine web site now tracks the number of â€śreadsâ€ť for each article, providing even more feedback about what readers find interesting.
Itâ€™s no different than you getting feedback from your customers on social media and review sites. Itâ€™s what keeps you on track with what your customers want and itâ€™s important that you get that feedback, good or bad.
In the end, though, GEARS is a business and has another group of customers: its advertisers. For them, we have another purpose, another â€śbig-pictureâ€ť idea:
Access to the industry.
Seems simple enough, right? After all, thatâ€™s why advertisers place ads in the first place: to reach their potential market.
Whatâ€™s interesting about that is that it feeds right off of our other purpose: create a reader. Those readers are the industry. By creating a reader, weâ€™re helping attract the industry that advertisers want to reach. So creating a reader provides access to the industry. Perfect!
Of course, providing access to the industry also demands that we remain focused on circulation, to make sure GEARS is reaching our market. Whoâ€™s receiving the magazine? Is it a good address?
That means access to the best and most accurate mailing list available, while continually adding new subscribers and deleting old addresses that no longer exist.
But think about this: By maintaining our mailing list, weâ€™re making sure we reach working industry professionalsâ€¦ the very professionals we want to reach to create a reader. The two goals are symbiotic, each supporting the other, working together to make sure weâ€™re meeting our two purpose statements.
The same is true about operating a transmission repair shop: By identifying your purpose, youâ€™ll be better able to serve your customer base, and earn better reviews and more referrals. The purpose isnâ€™t about profits or tasks; itâ€™s a big-picture idea. These simple ideas have kept GEARS Magazine on track for the past 25 years.
Iâ€™ll be talking about creating your purpose at this yearâ€™s Expo. If youâ€™ve never thought about it, or arenâ€™t sure where to begin, you need to be there: Reserve your spot at this yearâ€™s Expo, and weâ€™ll see you in Vegas!