“An Awesome Business To Be In”

Getting the First Quarter edition of Welding & Gases Today ready for publication is an exhausting process: sort of like an athlete training for a marathon, an actor for an Oscar, a coach for a playoff—when the work is finished, I shake my head in amazement at all I have learned about the  businesses in our industry.

The fun starts in late October when the magazine staff begins to call GAWDA members to inquire about the upcoming year. We talk about business strategies, challenges, new offerings, sales projections and more. This year, we asked a question that stumped a few people: What can you do to make your company go from being really good to being really great?

For the 2012 Business Forecast, 136 executives from GAWDA member companies were interviewed, representing both large and small distributors and suppliers from all geographic regions and product offerings. When the interviews are finished, we sort through thousands of pages of notes, tabulate responses and begin the process of writing the Business Forecast story.

I always finish this process with a big exhale…anticipation. Members tell me they use the Business Forecast to learn more about what is happening not only in their regions, but nationally; the new products and services soon to be available; and to read the projections of competitors and colleagues. Many share this information with their staff to help plan their own company’s strategy. This is “print networking,” and it’s the most highly anticipated story of the year.

I can’t get out of my mind the comments of two distributors: “This is an awesome business to be in,” said one, “the best retail business in the world.” And another: “We empower people to be able to breathe, fabricate things and even drink their pop. We need to remember how important and rewarding our work is.”

So what do I do when the forecast issue is put together and finished? I go to a big-box store and quietly point out directions to the nearest GAWDA member’s location and on my way out,
I may even try to tip over a cylinder or two!

Here’s to a Great and Awesome 2012!

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
Carole Jesiolowski Carole Jesiolowski is managing editor of Welding & Gases Today magazine, which is published by Data Key Communications in Syracuse, New York, and on the Web at www.datakey.org. She can be reached at 315-445-2347 or carole@WeldingAndGasesToday.org.