I had the privilege of hearing a presentation by Melanie Bergeron of Two Men and a Truck to EO Detroit at Walsh College this morning. It was Melanie’s mom, Mary Ellen Sheets who started the Lansing, MI based company in the early 80’s with a used pick-up truck and her two sons ages 15 and 17 (I’m assuming the 17 year-old did the driving). Melanie told stories of their family’s business, good and bad, and how they grew to became a $200 million dollar success story.
– Making the Leap from Legacy Management to Professional Management. This was a difficult period for the close-knit company and people who had been with the company for years had to be replaced with new people – with new skill sets; necessary to take the company to the next level.
– Living Your Core Values and What that Means. The company lives by six Core Values which are ultimately reflected in their motto “Movers who care”.
– Evolution of a 30 Year Old Company. For someone part of a company 65-year-old family business, this was interesting to me. The blessing of having to take it slow helped them set a solid foundation for the growth they enjoy today.
– Persevering Through the Curve Balls that Life Throws at Us. It doesn’t matter where the business is located, what industry, curve balls are coming. What you do with them is the important part. Melanie mentioned the saying “Where there is no struggle there is no progress”. This gave me hope as I thought about challenges that we face at Utley Brothers Printing.
– Franchising. While we don’t utilize a franchise business model, it never ceases to amaze me how much I can learn from someone in a completely different industry and business model. Come the end of the day, those of us in small business face many of the same issues and opportunities.
When asked in a Q & A session what she wishes they had done differently, Melanie said she wishes they had gotten better people in key positions sooner. Or as Jim Collins of Good to Great says, she wishes they had gotten the right people in the right seats…sooner. Sage advice from a Really Cool Lady.
Melanie added; she follows her 3 P’s daily: Prioritize, Persevere and Pray. I can say after spending the briefest of time with this Really Cool Lady…her 3 P’s have served Melanie and her family’s business well.