One aspect of ChangingVelocity is helping companies in the global consumer electronics arena develop and implement growth and go-to-market strategies.
|Candles on the River, Howard Gladstone|
The diversity of clients brings lots of spice to my work. With each engagement, I experience a new set of circumstances. But one thing remains constant… People. People are the key to success. And while it’s frequently thought of as a cliché, I am firmly convinced passion and persistence are the accelerators of a good process. So meeting interesting clients, such as Torus Power, is such a rush.
When he’s singing, Howard Gladstone’s voice has a way of drawing you in. You can’t help but stop what you’re doing and listen. It’s the clarity.
You could say the desire for clarity is what brought Howard and I together last year. Business clarity, that is. A talented singer/songwriter, Howard’s day job is CEO of Plitron, an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of Toroidal Power transformers and parent company of Torus Power – a direct to consumer product the company started selling a few years ago that adds protection and performance to audio components.
Howard and his team had built the OEM side of the business into a robust enterprise over the past 30 years. But their experience in brand building and global sales direct to the Consumer Electronics market was limited. The business of producing and selling a consumer level product is a very different type of business than being an OEM supplier. Howard knew this. In fact, like many successful CEOs, Howard knew enough to know what he didn’t know. I was introduced to him as someone who could help him with the things he didn’t know. Ultimately, I engaged with Torus Power to increase sales and market share in the Consumer Electronic Power Conditioning marketplace.
I saw right away that Howard had passion for the industry, and for the quality of sound itself (no doubt, stemming from being a musician). I also understood and appreciated his tendency to accept nothing less than the best. Torus Power was a top-notch product in every way, and he wanted to make sure their market efforts measured up. “We wanted to make sure our thinking was sound and not distorted or warped by our needs or misconceptions. That third party validation was important to us,” Howard says.
|Howard Gladstone & David Rodarte at Plitron Manufacturing, Toronto, CA.|
So we followed a simplified strategic planning process, assessing owner goals, current strategy, and company strengths and weaknesses, as well as doing a market assessment and financial review of product pricing and costing (when you want to do something right, nothing is too basic). We identified key opportunities and then determined where they should withdraw effort and where they should spend effort. “No company can do everything, and we needed to make decisions about where to spend time and allocate resources,” Howard says. A key initiative was to hire an experienced Sales and Marketing Vice President to lead the implementation of the company’s aspirations and focused plan. Through relationships with colleagues in the industry, I was able to assist in the recruiting of Kevin Main, a proven sales executive in the Custom Electronics Industry. He accepted the position of leadership effective July 1, 2014.
“The business of supplying components to manufacturers who make the world’s best high fidelity equipment has always been satisfying. But now, we’ve been able to get even closer to consumers and help to improve the quality of sound even more,” Howard says. In fact, Torus Power has continued to steadily grow and gain market share.
What Torus Power set out to do – add a brand new focus without sacrificing any quality – is not an easy thing. They had decades of experience and technological know-how behind them. But perhaps what’s most important is that they got out of their own way. Often, it’s that step out of the way that truly provides the clarity – and in the end, truly makes the difference.
Listen to the music of Howard Gladstone: