This is the last column I’ll write for BodyShop Business as its publisher, and while it’s a sad occasion for me, it’s also quite a relief. You have no idea how difficult it is to come up with topical, fresh and (hopefully) compelling editorial month after month. Can you imagine standing in front of 60,000 of your industry peers each month having to deliver a 600-word speech without saying something that will make them hurl rotten vegetables at you? Not to suggest that many of you haven’t wanted to throw something at me for the various diatribes and rants I’ve offered up over the years, but you get the picture.
To add to the pressure, remember that this is, after all, the collision repair industry, not the motion picture industry (thank God!) or professional sports (please!) or even consumer electronics or computers or the Internet. The topics are somewhat limited and not too “sexy”, but they’re never dull. Emotions run deep in this market, and the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. That’s what I love most about this industry. However, no matter what topic you pick or which issue you ponder, there’s a seemingly limitless supply of both supporters and detractors. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen, but it makes the job of producing a monthly trade magazine much more exciting and challenging, and for that I’m forever thankful.
Whenever we’ve been able to hone in on specific topics like DRPs, lean processes, steering or insurance company policies, we’ve not only been fortunate to have them as hot industry topics but also to have an audience that’s a “mile deep” in their knowledge of them and willing to share with us their viewpoints and opinions on them. Thus, we’ve been able to generate significant feedback, interest and intrigue. What more could a trade publication ask for?
If you’re ever so blessed to have the opportunity to sit in a wonderful pulpit like this and peer out over a vast and complex industry like ours, and then get the chance to offer up your comments and observations for all to read, absorb and react to, I hope you’ll shed whatever fear may be holding you back and take advantage of it as I did. Whatever you sacrifice in dignity and comfort will be more than made up for in mutual respect and newfound friendships. I’ve often stated that being the publisher of this magazine is like having a front row seat at a heavyweight title bout!
To our loyal readers, I ask that you allow this last column to serve as my personal “thank you” for engaging us with your challenges and frustrations, for challenging us to deliver a higher level of value in our overall editorial package and for praising us when we’ve touched the right chord, sounded the right note and mobilized and/or inspired you for the right cause.
To our supportive advertisers, I ask that you also allow this last column to serve as a personal “thank you” from me for your tremendous support of this magazine, and as a “thank you” from the readers of this magazine for supporting them in their daily challenge of running profitable businesses.
To all of you, I say “thank you” for tolerating me these past three years. It has been an honor to produce this tremendous magazine for you. I hope you’ve enjoyed our humble work at least half as much as I’ve enjoyed doing this for you.