The excitement builds as The Clean Show 2017 approaches. This opportunity for those of us in the drycleaning industry to mix, mingle, learn and share always provides special insights that can only be found in peer-to-peer cost groups. From the Young Presidents’ Organization, Vistage, Tuchman Advisory Group and others within our own industry, these groups have proven to be very valuable to business owners around the world.
#1 ~ You Are Not Alone
Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely endeavor. So the ability to get together with non-competing peers to share information, discuss concerns, learn from each other, achieve goals and be held accountable has proven to be of great assistance. All of us have the same objective. We want to create greater value in our businesses. We want to become more effective at managing our costs, improve profitability and increase customer satisfaction. We want to learn from the best and most creative minds in our industry. Getting the answers to particular questions from our peers is important even as we share and learn from each other. The true value of participating in a group is that it provides a sounding board, helps us to rise above the day-to-day minutia, and gain a broader view of where we need to go.
#2 ~ The Value of a Cost Group
The founder of the Tuchman Advisory Group (T.A.G.), the late Sid Tuchman, defined the value of meeting as a way to compare issues of common concern. Describing his own methodology in guiding his groups, Sid explained: “At each meeting, members prepare a presentation about their company, each participant is asked to discuss its content, and distribute a copy to those in attendance. Our members’ creativity is nourished at these meetings and everyone will take home material of up-to-date ideas from each of the other participants. The essence of this whole idea is sharing! There are so many topics in our industry that can be explored. Every topic is open for discussion, from routes, pillows, draperies, shirt laundry, dry stores, wash & fold, bridal preservation, fire restoration, package plants, uniform rentals, insurance, leases and more. The possibilities for exploration and discussion are numerous.”
#3 ~ What You Should Expect from Participating in a Group
1) Interchange of key business issues.
2) Monthly financial comparison.
3) The group serving as a sounding board for new ideas.
4) Peer pressure to improve performance.
5) Training to become more efficient managers.
6) Ways to recruit, train, appraise and retain employees.
7) Complete confidence and confidentiality regarding any and all ideas.
8) Critiques of each other’s plant.
9) Comparisons of advertising, social media and promotional ideas.
10) Improvement in labor and supply costs.
11) Learning to control utility costs.
12) Discussion with those facing similar business challenges.
13) Outside speakers on key topics (e.g., performance-appraisal process).
#4 ~ Having Fun Together
Having a good time together is a key part of the process. We have found in T.A.G. that the camaraderie and friendships that have developed over the years have proven to be invaluable. At each of our meetings we take full advantage of the entertainment available in that location. Whether playing golf, fishing, touring San Francisco, enjoying horse farms in Louisville, or just sitting around talking or joking about the issues of the day, we have fun. Communication and team spirit grow with each passing meeting; veteran members and newcomers alike enjoy being together.
Is a Peer-to-Peer Cost group a good investment of your time and energy? The answer received over the years is an emphatic YES!! Here are some comments from our members about the value of belonging to the Tuchman Advisory Group:
“Being part of a cost group for the past twenty-plus years, specifically T.A.G., has helped us to become better operators. Having the opportunity to share ideas, experiences and financials can only be done in a non-competitive cost-group environment. If you are not part of one you are missing out on the best way to grow in our craft. It is important to mention the value in developing lasting relationships with teammates who have a mutual interest in each other’s success. Business sharing plus relationships equals ‘Winning’!”
Michael E. Nesbit, President ~ MW Cleaners, Houston, TX
“Being a part of the Tuchman Advisory Group gives me the advantage of being associated with a group of premier cleaners. I have had the opportunity to tour their facilities and see their operation and products. It is especially valuable to be able to discuss hot topics, bounce ideas around, have as a solid sounding board, and receive feedback of anything pertaining to our business. It is a privilege and a competitive advantage to be a member of T.A.G.”
Anne Nash, President ~ Highland Cleaners, Louisville, KY
“I joined the Tuchman Advisory Group in the early 1990’s with my father, Tom Garrett as owners of Lexington Dry Cleaning. Prior to that venture, we had the privilege of working with Sid Tuchman beginning in 1984, when Tom became the third company to sell his business to The Johnson Group. After joining MW Cleaners in 2004, I was able to again participate, thanks to MW Cleaners’ membership in T.A.G. Even though there was a break in my membership, I really never lost touch with the individual members. In the Bible, there is a Proverb that states, “As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another.” I believe the benefits of being a T.A.G. member come from ‘rubbing elbows’ with like-minded people who can help you learn your craft. I’ve enjoyed being associated with this group and I just cannot put a price on the value of my association with T.A.G.”
T. Ron Garrett, Senior Vice-President ~ MW Cleaners, Houston, TX
Many of you have expressed an interest in meeting me in person and learning more about the Tuchman Advisory Group. During the Clean Show, I will be at Cleaner Supply’s Consultants Corner (booth #801) on Wednesday, June 7, from 10:00 am – 12 noon. If you prefer, please e-mail me to set up an appointment at another time during the show. I am interested in your feedback and would welcome topic suggestions you think would be of interest for future columns. I will look forward to meeting you.