The Week's Features
Three-time cancer survivor is doing what he loves
App, web-based service provides lien-holder contact information
Digital Recognition Network CEO lays out company's vision
Unit designed to bring greater awareness to Move Over law
Buddy's gets farmer's tractor with corn silage in open field
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Five Lessons to Grow in 2016

Personal-Growth-and-Development-300x199 81f39By Don Archer

Now that the New Year has come and gone, I'm sure you've spent some time writing out your goals, resolutions, hopes and dreams for 2016. It's a good time to look at where you are and decide where you want to be. Your plans may include increased market share, buying another truck and hiring new employees.

We are always looking for ways to do better and build and grow, but most of us set goals based on numbers or things outside of our control and wonder why nothing changes. I'm suggesting that you try looking at a few of the things you can control and possibly change what you don't like.

I've compiled a list of five lessons you can use to change yourself in a good way that will have the residual effect of growing your business.

Forget About Your Reputation
You may own a well-established towing business, one that's been around for decades. Everyone knows your company name and the colors of your trucks. But lately you're experiencing a downturn due to increased competition. Now you have a need for increased business. And one strategy to fulfill that need might mean a fresh new look to gain attention.

But the fear of disrupting your reputation (by changing the colors of your trucks) causes you to do nothing. You're telling yourself some variation of this story: "If I make a change, then I'll be showing my hand ... and they'll know I'm hurting for business." The underlying need is to protect your great reputation.

I say forget about your reputation. If it's such a good thing, then why are you losing market share? Besides, everyone else is too busy worrying about themselves and their own lives to give a damn about what you're doing. Do what needs to be done and make the necessary changes.

Move More

Whether you sit behind a desk or sit in your truck, by today's standards, if you do it for more than five hours a day you lead a sedentary lifestyle. The biggest problem about leading a sedentary life is that your brain stops growing and you start to become a cranky, cantankerous old man. But there is a solution.

Keeping in shape is a good idea, and nothing does a better job of keeping your brain working sharp than a good old-fashioned run around town. According to a recent article in "Runner's World," running stimulates the creation of new nerve cells and blood vessels in the brain, and promotes the release of endorphins that help your brain hold on to mood-boosting neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine.

The best part is running boosts your ability to learn and have better focus. You can juggle more stuff, and make better, quicker decisions. Not only can you do your job better, but you won't fly off the handle and get angry as quick either. You'll keep your mind open to new opportunities.

Pay Yourself First

You started this business to have the ability to pay for a better way of life for you and your family. But after so many years of doing it, you still only take a small amount of money home, just enough to pay the bills. This causes you to keep larger and larger sums of cash socked away for "what-ifs" ... while you're complaining that you're not making enough money.

The problem is you're not putting money away for your eventual separation. I know it's a hard thing to imagine, but one day you will not be doing what you're doing. Paying yourself first will help you much more in the short run. The more you can see the fruits of your efforts, the happier you'll be about doing what you do.

You should pay yourself an income that, not only pays the bills, but allows you to save and invest in an alternate reality: your eventual retirement. Doing so will give you peace of mind and strengthen your resolve to work smart and grow your business.

Promote Yourself, Shamelessly

It's getting harder and harder to be seen and heard. Your voice is like a starving baby bird, begging to be fed, amongst numerous other starving baby birds.

The reality is you must make some noise to be heard. I'm not suggesting that you be obnoxious and crazy; instead, I'm saying you can't be timid when it comes to self-promotion.

You are your business and the only way that people are going to know that YOU have something to sell is if you tell them. That means wearing your uniform everywhere, driving your tow truck everywhere, and allowing the entire world to see that you are 100-percent devoted to your business. Go to church in your uniform, go to breakfast in your uniform, go to little league, choir practice, PTO, graduations and funerals in your uniform. Be relentless about it.

Help Someone Selflessly

Have you ever been in another town, out of your element, and forgotten something that you had to have in order to complete a tow? In a last-ditch effort to solve your problem, you do an online search for the nearest towing company. You call, and they quickly run out and give you the right-sized wrench. You're saved and appreciative of what they've done, and offer to pay ... but your money ain't no good. "Maybe I'll be in your town and need help one day," they say.

What a good feeling to know that you're not alone!

You know what feels even better? When you help someone without expecting anything in return. I'm not suggesting that you provide your services for free. What I'm saying is help someone in a way that has nothing to do with your business. It doesn't need to be huge. It can be as simple as putting your neighbor's paper on his porch, or retrieving his trash can.

What does this do to help your business?

When you help someone, you always get something in return. You become a better person. You are more deserving and your inner voice quiets. What once was incessant chatter that questioned your worthiness is now acceptance and gratitude for all that you receive.

People do business with people. To have a better 2016 you need a more people-friendly business.

To get that you need to work on yourself first.

Don G. Archer and his wife, Brenda, own and operate Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, Mo. Don is also multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country. E-mail him direct at

How Do You Define Success?

images 3097bBy Don G. Archer

It is a paradox that most business owners believe that they know how to run a successful business, but in reality eight out of 10 businesses fail each year. Although you might comfort yourself with the knowledge that you're part of the elite 20 percent who made it, failure can come in many forms.

Like most business owners, you had grand designs when you started out. You had one or two trucks, a magnetic personality and loads of energy. The goal was to add customers, employees and trucks, to build a proud legacy.

It took some time, but your connections and hard work paid off and now you're busier than ever. However, if you're like most tow company owners, you're probably still in the truck 70 hours a week—while managing employees, customer relations and doing all the paperwork.

Over time this workload can have a detrimental effect on your health and relationships.

Was this your intention when you started? Was this your idea of success—to have a monster of a business that consumes every waking moment?

I doubt it.

Consultant Robert Hirsch helps business owners who want to free themselves from this type of treadmill existence by using an exercise designed to change their perspective.

"In the game of chess," he asks, "if you could be any piece on the board, what would you choose?"

He said most people choose either the king (because if the king's no longer on the board, the game is over), or the queen (because it's the most versatile piece).

What's the right answer? Well, it's a trick question, because the answer is not a piece at all.

It's the board.

Robert suggests that rather than being a piece of the game, be the game. What he means is to truly succeed in your business, instead of insisting on being the "Big Cheese" yourself you should work on attracting the best people into your business and let them take the reins. If you know where all the moving parts fit, then your job is to put the right pieces on the board and watch the board.

This is tough on many levels. To begin with, how do you know who goes where? What if you choose the wrong people and they muck up the whole game?

What if I told you that you may already be doing that?

Just as you want to be the "Big Cheese," so does everybody else. When you hire quality people but continually insist on keeping them in lesser positions, you're stifling those who have the desire to lead and harming your chances at freeing yourself from the treadmill.

The question that always follows is, "How do you attract the right people into your business?"

The answer starts with your goals. What was the reason you started in the first place? Was it to help stranded motorists, assist law enforcement and to alleviate traffic congestion? Or was it just to put some dollars in your pocket?

Many businesses are started out of a desire to move away from a stressful situation, like having no money. But after you've done that and you've made money, to be successful and to keep YOU motivated there must be something more.

"Something more" is what quality employees are looking for, too.

If you are "successful," you undoubtedly have reasons other than money for staying in this business. Those reasons are what will attract the right people.

So what is your mission? What do you value?

When you are authentic and allow people to see what drives you, this will attract quality people into your life. This will give you the ability to free yourself from being just a piece on the board and allow you to do what you've proven you do best—grow your business.

American Towman Field Editor-Midwest Don G. Archer is also a multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, Mo. Email him direct at
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