Our industry is comprised of thousands of independent businesses and individuals who choose this industry for their livelihood, to feed their unique abilities and to secure themselves a better future. Although being independent is good for the soul, being fiercely independent has clouded our vision of the future of our own industry. right here in our own back yard.
What's clear is that we need to do something that can not only enhance what we do and how we want to do it, but will also brighten the future of our industry, especially in the eyes of our customers.
We need a common thread that connects us together voluntarily and can act as a catalyst to bring us together as a strong industry network for sharing ideas and generating solutions.
That common thread is information resources.
ASBN is the most comprehensive online resource community for the professionals of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry.
We're not just talking about technicians, we're talking about the businesses and all the supplier industries that all work together to support the Automotive Aftermarket.
Yes, we're bringing the whole industry together under one roof, focusing on one region at at time, beginning here in British Columbia.
The original and still the core mandate of ASBN is to be the primary center to find and access the resources we need to expand and grow our businesses and careers. These unlimited resources are spread unevenly throughout the world wide web and although they can be openly accessed, may be difficult to find, even by the most seasoned web user.
Our continuing job is to find and validate the thousands of pages available, categorize and store the direct links within the libraries and freely present them to our members in an easy to use Directory format. What is really building the library is the videos, tips and links we receive from all our members because ASBN is, of course, your network to build as you need it to.
But, since valuable resources come in different formats, we have expanded beyond our simple beginnings.
Bringing the total industry together under one roof may look like an impossible task, but it really isn't.
Our business owners, managers and technicians may have their own individual interests and there are really good reasons to have businesses that cater specifically to each of these groups. But, what's interesting though, is that both of these groups overlap interests and blend into each other for common goals: the growth and success of a retail automotive sevice business and an individual career.
So, why not have divisions that cater to a group's individual needs but put them together in one environment, where each can share and contribute to the common goals? It just makes sense.
The Office and the Tech Center are main divisions with their own lists of invividual focuses but we've created other divisions that feed the needs of everyone; The Link Library, the Tool Room and the Supplier Pages.
Each division performs like individual web sites, with it's own subjects and focuses but are also linked to shared resouces throughout the platform to simplify your experience.
The stage is set for a well organized Resouce Library for a total industry.
Directories and sub-directories are simple organized lists that group different types of information in a structured layout.
This is the core of ASBN.
At the last count, there are over 44 Billion pages (yes, that's BILLION) on the internet. It's no wonder we have to use search engine programs to help us find things. The common problems to unsuccessful search results may be the low level skill of the user, the popularity of the page or, just maybe, that page was never optimized for use by search engines and the world's general population.
Being the commercial side of our industry, we need our own system tailored specifically for the Automotive Service Industry and simple directories are the answer. They provide permanent alphabetical indexes to our world, are easily accessed and are not governed by popularity or optimization.
The simplest, and largest directory is the Link Library where every website out there, related to our industry, has been reviewed and categorized by brand name, company name and/or subject matter.
If it's out there and important, it needs to be easily available to all of us. This means it needs to be fed constantly to be as complete as possible and since ASBN belongs to all of us, we're asking all members to help feed it by sending us your web 'nuggets' we can add to the directory.
Another directory that's worth noting is the Supplier Pages.
This is an expanded directory to house all our suppliers, potential suppliers and vendors whose focus is on the commercial side of our industry.
"Who is the factory representative for this product?" "Where can I find a supplier for this product or service?" They certainly can't be found in the local telephone directory or the local newspaper because they don't deal with the retail consumer. It's not like they don't want to be found, because they really need to, the same as you need your customers. It's just that there isn't a practical way they can advertise or promote themselves without physically visiting your business.....until now.
Yes, having access to the right suppliers, at the time you need them is critical in keeping your business moving. But, what is equally important is that many of our suppliers offer additional valuable resources beyond the supply of products or services. Product and sales training, tips and product support; these are just some of the resources we need and they offer.
ASBN recognizes that they are an integral part of our industry's growth and the best way to start improving this relationship is with the Supplier Pages.
Catalogues are great ways to present items of a given data type that contain further details.
One example is in the Tool Room/Diagnostic Tools/Scanners where we present every OBDII scan tool that could be found (55 and counting), saving you hours of research time when it comes to selecting your next tool investment.
Yes, most E-Catalogues you see are set up to sell you products, but we're using that format primarily as an information resouce tool.
Making informed buying decisions is one of the keys to a profitable business.
Everybody has something to say and something to contribute that can only help this industry forward.
Articles are pieces of information that we simply wish to share and become permanent resource material within each division of the ASBN library.
Blogs are articles about topics that invite discussions. They too are divided into their related divisions for direct access and may evolve into
permant articles for the library.
All members are encoraged to submit articles or open a Blog discussion.
It's what keeps the wheels of progress going.
Most of us have ventured into forums to talk about one thing or another. Yes, Facebook is a forum. But, when it comes to talking to other professionals, within this industry, the options get quite slim.
The most popular is IATN.net. The problem is that since they have become so international, wanting to talk about Canadian vehicles or Canadian issues, let alone BC issues, we get little response. Oh, by the way, we have every online help and resource forum linked and listed in the Link Library.
Since ASBN is Canadian and we are focusing on the thousands within this industry right here in BC, having our own forums is just the right thing to do.
Each division has their own sections, it is monitored and it's open to 'members only' to give us the freedom to talk turkey.
We also have our own group on LinkedIn, which is open to all professionals of our industry across the country.
If you want you can check it out. Just click on the logo.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth volumes.
It's really great that today's technology allows everyone to produce a short film and post it online for the world to see. For us, in this industry, many of the repair manuals are sometimes quite vague and having a video on the repair brings so much clarity and gives us the confidence to do the job correctly and efficiently, the first time.
Then there are the tips and tricks that make us look like geniuses, the personal builds that really show our 'moxie', courses and seminars to help us get to where we want to be, incredible inventions and discoveries that could, one day, change our industry and finally some humor to break the monotony. Plus, unlike many video sites, all videos are permanently catalogued so you can find them quickly. Isn't that what a reference library should be?
As an ASBN member, you can upload your own or add interesting ones you found from other public sites. Plus, you have your own file system to manage your uploads. This way, everyone gets to share your discoveries, the library grows and you can start cleaning out your closet of saved favorites and bookmarks.
The future is looking great.
This is a massive resource tool.
There is a solution to every problem and issue and it's in the minds of someone right here, within our own network.
What's interesting is that if you have a simple solution to a problem, you begin to think that everybody else knows the solution.
Well, believe it or not, most don't know.
ASBN was designed as a network that belongs to each and every one of us and is the one platform where everyone can contribute freely which, in turn,
helps the whole industry.
Unlike forums, where ideas come and go, ASBN catalogues them permanently in the library so they can benifit everyone at any time.
Together, we can fix just about anything.
Classifieds may not be an information resourse, but they are an important resourse tool.
Nearly every business has tools, equipment or inventory that need a new home. Even the business itself may be looking for a new owner.
How about employment? We're always looking for proffessionals to fill our ranks and individuals may be looking for new challenges.
The problem is that consumer classifieds may not be the best platform to get the reults you need because only those within this industry would be intersested in what you have to offer.
So, it only makes sence that our industry has its own.
As an introductory special, all ads posted to the ASBN Classifieds will be FREE to all members.
This offer will end on June 30th, 2016.
Site advertisements are an invaluable resource tool for all our network members. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
Because this is a private network, we are taking the opportunity to go against traditional internet marketing and advertising practices by creating our own system where every ad is not only presented to those who are interested in the subject but is also an important nugget of information for all our industry.
Since the majority of potential advertisers are small community focused businesses, we have created a multi-tiered system that not only matches every budget, but can also be targeted to their individual marketing region(s), making industry advertising highly practical and affordable.
In addition, all advertisers are also members of our network.
Not only does it make them accountable, it gives them the opportunity to better connect to their customers within their market region.
Inevitably, we need each other.
So, if you're not promoting your product or service on ASBN, where are you?