By Jim A. Luff
I believe it is human nature to watch other people when we do something new to make sure we are doing it right. It is human nature to emulate those around us as a matter of learning and social acceptance in many ways. Whether you are bowling or playing baseball, it is natural to watch how someone holds the bat or bowling ball. How they swing the bat, how they release the ball and how they stand. By watching, you can learn to do it right or you can learn what clearly does not work.
I believe the same can be done within our own industry. When we started in 1990, much of the service we did and our policies came purely from how we believed it should be but may not have always been correct. At some point in my career I was fortunate enough to meet Dean Schuler of Signature Livery dba Carey New Orleans. As someone who has been in the business since the `70s, I knew he knew how to do it.
I began to ask him for advice as well as reading everything he wrote from policies to brochures. I listened to his marketing strategies and adopted his military style of running his company with a chain of command and no room for deviation of any kind. I learned his zest for perfection and excellence and knew I had to strive for the same to become as successful as he is.
Over the years he has become not only my mentor but a personal friend as well. He has supported me beyond my limousine career and into my personal life and projects. He has busted my chops when I needed it and attempted to set me straight when he thought I was wrong. No one likes that but I do respect him for it and always listen to what he says.
Over the years, we achieved success and grew by leaps and bounds. I have shared my advice and knowledge with other operators and been honored to have several come and visit our operation spending days at a time watching what we are doing, how we do it and ultimately emulating us in their own operation. I have been fortunate to meet people like Marc and Alison Rold in Montana, Marcus Rosen in Canada, and Christine Bennett in Boise.
I have formed a lifelong friendship with Mark & Marie Joiner in Modesto. All of these people and their companies have all adapted our policy manual to fit their own operations. It is an honor to be emulated as much as it is to share my knowledge with those that seek it and I get as much reward from helping them grow their business as I do growing our own.
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