Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Good decisions, family values help local business

Small business owners are working harder than ever to survive these tough times. As the small business feature in Wednesday's Bradenton Herald illustrates, brothers Bob and Rocky Smith have had to do a lot of retooling to keep Universal Window Solutions afloat and competitive.

During my interview with the local business owners Tuesday, Rocky Smith said, "We've worked harder in the last four years than we have in the last 20 years."

Much of today's story focused on the business decisions the Smiths made that allowed Universal Window Solutions to pull through the recession. But it's important to add that family values and relationships have played a big part in the success of Universal Window Solutions, which was incorporated in 1981.

Rocky Smith purchased the business in 1999, and Bob Smith joined the business in 2001.

"We grew up understanding the value of a dollar," Rocky Smith said. "That has truly helped us."

Bob and Rocky's parents, both manufacturing representatives, taught them that value, as well as some good sales and business tactics the brothers have been able to carry into their own business.

"Our parents would be on the phone with clients and you'd be eavesdropping not really knowing you're eavesdropping," Bob Smith recalled. "It helped us see there's a lot of skill in understanding the sales process. It's not easy -- it's a very difficult process."

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