What would the scouting reports say about your company? Would they truly represent your strengths and weaknesses, or would they turn be as false as the predictions below (source: trap17.com/forums/Funny-Quotes-Predictions-t2364.html):

  • "We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." -- Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles in 1962
  • "Fred Astaire can't act, can't sing, balding... can dance a little." -- an MGM talent scout in 1928
  • "I'm sorry Mr. Kipling, but you don't know how to use the English language." -- Editor of the San Francisco Examiner in rejecting a short story from author Rudyard Kipling
  • "You ain't goin' nowhere son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck." -- Jim Denny of the grand Ole Opry, in firing Elvis Presley after his first performance
  • "What can you do with a guy with ears like that?" -- Movie mogul Jack Warner in 1930, rejecting actor Clark Gable

    "Makes a Good First Impression"

    That's what struck me most about our Best of the WOOD 100 and this month's cover article company, Anton Cabinetry. (See story beginning on p. 28.) From its very first meeting, the commercial casework and millwork company begins building a "relationship" with the customer, and not a transaction.

    "We get engaged with the owners and contractors right away, which allows us to see any potential problems and issues early on," says President John Anton.

    This has helped provide the company with a reputation for service, quality and attention to detail, which in turn has led to numerous business referrals from contractors. In fact, in the company's 35 years of business, only once, in the 1980s, have sales decreased.

    Anton Cabinetry is not the only company banking on its reputation. In our Survival Guide stories featuring the success strategies of several of our WOOD 100 companies, A Ward Design President Kevin Ward credits his company's professionalism and service for gaining and maintaining clients.

    "I was a general contractor before founding this company, so I understand what the 'other side' wants and needs. We try to make a good impression from the first phone call. We answer questions and return calls. Our shop is always clean and neat, so that when customers visit, we make sure we provide the kind of atmosphere they expect," he says.

    Listed below are more examples from this month’s issue of ways in which companies are developing good "scouting reports."

    "Demonstrates Diversity and Flexibility"

    In Associate Editor Wade Vonasek's article on Trendsetter Karona Inc., he details how the door manufacturer sets itself apart from the competition through its diversity, flexibility and manufacturing prowess.

    "We have systems that allow us to do a lot more things than most of our competition can do, and that in turn is probably our greatest advantage," says Steve Sisson, general manager.

    "The company's strategy all along was to be vertically integrated and to be able to flex our capabilities to meet demand, both in standard and custom products," adds Eric Ash, sales manager. "We continue in that vein. I think, because we service both residential and commercial markets. They benefit from each other."

    Jorge Lagueruela, president of Trinity Furniture, also cites production flexibility as one of the key factors in his company's success. "We have stressed quality improvements and customer satisfaction with all our product lines and it has been a big success. No one ever complains about a company's quality being too good," he says.

    What is your company doing to stand out from competitors -- and will the scouting reports accurately reflect it?

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