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To all of the businesses, suppliers and individuals working on the front line of this industry;

Welcome to The Automotive Service Business Network

This is Our Industry's Network

Get ready for something really different and interesting. No, this isn't a new association or a platform to sell you stuff.

We're doing something bigger than that.

We're building a network designed to bring everyone affiliated with the Automotive Service Industry, here in BC,  together under one roof to share ideas and do business?

Yes, everyone. That means business owners, employees, students as well as all our suppliers and support businesses who depend on the success of this industry.

Yes, I too thought this idea was too big and a little nuts at the beginning.

But the more I thought about it and began building it, the more it made sense and I hope you will too.

The Big Picture

This industry may be huge with the highest employment number of any industry,(35,000 at last count, here in BC, not including all the suppliers and support businesses) but we're also highly fragmented and the most out of touch with the rest of our own industry.

As independants, we don't know and don't really care what other businesses in other districts are doing because they are competitors and that's the way it's always been.

But, it comes at a price.

We've lost the connection between us and our product manufacturers, most of our technical trainers are gone and we have a serious shortage of qualified people? What's next? Businesses start closing their doors?

Look around you. That's already happening.

That may be the big picture, but as individual operators, we could really use some help now with managing our businesses in today's market. We can also use some tech help to make the jobs go smoother and we need help sorting out the expensive tooling issues. We also need need answers to our questions and solutions to every day issues that are affecting our businesses and our careers.

These are all problems that would take too much time and too much effort to resolve independantly because they are all so tightly related to each other. The only way resolutions can be found is within a networking evironment, addressing all the issues as pieces to a larger puzzle. That way, one solution can solve multiple problems.

The internet is the perfect medium to use to build a network but, to make it the perfect tool for the Automotive Service Business Network, we have to do a few changes to the way it has been traditionally used. 

 

Why ASBN?

I started writing a short history of the net, how our industry changed because of it and how ASBN was born in responce to the negative changes, but that's water undet the bridge.
What is important is ASBN's relevance to this industry today and especially moving forward.
Here are some good reasons why ASBN is so important to this industry;
 

Search Engine Dominance

In this industry, we're always on the hunt for information and resources, whether it's a mechanical issue, looking for odball parts, a specific tool or maybe some information on that could improve your business or career. Ultimately we turn to the internet and search engines, such as Google and then start sorting the results for relevence. Sometimes we're lucky.

Here's better idea.

Because the Automotive Industry is such a small part of the World Wide Web, we're sourcing all the websites and pages, then catalogueing them for quick and easy retrieval and permanently in the Link Library. That way you know where it is for the next time it's needed.

But that was just the start.

Web pages are just that; web pages out there, somewhere, on some server just waiting to be discovered through the internet. That means we are dependant on search engines like Yahoo, Google and others, to return us results they think we are interested in along with sites that paid handsomely for a top ranking in order to be chosen to be displayed on the first couple of pages.
So, if a page you are looking for doesn't show up in a query, does that mean it doesn't exist?
No. It just means it wasn't fully optimized to be included in search results.
Here's an irony.
Most business information providers have fully digitized their data to be accessed on-line. But, being available on the internet also means the data can be accessible by anyone with a connection. So, do you optimize your propietary information so it can be found? Do you still post it on the net but not optimize it in hopes the general consumer doesn't find it? Or, do you not post it to the open net and just hand out the addresses to that data to a select few?

ASBN is the solution.

All its members belong to this industry in some capacity.
That means proprietary information slated for this industry is to be sourced, cataloged and made available exclusively to industry members of ASBN. That eliminates the issue of whether or not business information suppliers need to optimize their pages because Search Engine Optimization doesn't count here only its relevence to this industry.
Information serves absolutely no purpose unless it can get in the hands of the people it was destined for.
 

Catch Up Or Be Left Behind

I really can't stand that phrase when it refers to people who have a tough time keeping up with the accelerated advancement of computer and internet technologies.
I can see the viewpoint when looking at the global picture of billions of users. Who would really care about a few thousand laggers who have a choice whether or not to join the race.
In our industry, there is no choice.
We depend on a constant flow of information and knowledge for the continuation of our businesses and careers. Since this 'race' began, all the information we depend on has been digitzed and can only be accessed electronically.
This has become a major problem because not everyone is an internet guru.
In fact, I would comfortably estimate that over 80% of our workforce has little to no confidence in either the search engines to return them correct results or don't have confidence in their own abilities to navigate the net. As a result, many have simply given up trying because in their view, web searching can be a waste of time and can only result in lost billable hours.

ASBN is the solution.

Unlike search engines, where results are constantly changing, directories and catalogues are permanent records and very simple to navigate.
Plus, unlike the world wide web, our industry is focused with specific information.
This means:

  • it can be catalogued
  • Once a piece of information is found, you know precisely where it is the next time you need it.
  • We don't need to store the data, only the address to where it is, making it cost efficient.
  • it is a simple and logical formula to bring all facets of our industry together under one roof.
  • it places all users on a level playing field, regardless of skill level.

Plus, while you're on ASBN and looking around, we'll be offering tips and articles related to getting you up to speed with this technology.

Where's the Help We Need Right Now?

Ask and you shall receive.

Beyond catalogueing the automotive internet into the Link Library, there is just so much information and so many resources being collected that sub-sites are needed so our users can zero in to their particular interests. The Office, Tech Center and the Tool Room each perform like individual web sites within the network.

Within each division, you will find related articles, blogs, tips, videos, forums as well as links to outside resources and forums. The content is constantly growing.

Where is all this content coming from?

Much of it has already been published somewhere on the net and it is our members who find and pass it on to us so everyone has access to it.

The rest of it comes from our member network themselves who have something to say, have come up with tips or created a video they are willing to share.

Who decides what content to display?

The editor and the members.

Everybody and every business that contributes valuable information for our industry needs to be noticed. From there we determine its relevence to the Service Industry here in BC and the level of professionalism of the message. If, for example, there are 6 good articles on one important subject, we will reference all 6. 

What is important is that ASBN does not view an individual, group or organization as a competitor. To us, they are all equally important contributors to this industry and will be recognized as such. The Link Library already has direct connections to every open forum, organization, resource center and publication we can find.

With your help by sending us your links, videos, articles and tips, we can continue to grow to ensure the total industry is well represented.   

Yes, also  want to publish your ideas, questions, solutions and your occasional rants because ASBN is your network to use and grow as it needs to.

And, as you might have guessed, the majority of solutions to every day issues will come from within our own network of members, without having someone do it for us.

So, keep an eye out for our newsletters with all the things that are happening.

 

Marketing


There has never been a marketing platform for commercial suppliers looking to connect with commercial customers.
Let me repeat that.
There has never been a marketing platform for commercial suppliers looking to connect with commercial customers.

Every marketing or advertising medium (radio, television, print and the internet) has been developed for the general consumer. Yes, we have private trade shows and yes, we have a select few national print magazines for national companies to advertise in.
But, historically, it has been the responsibility of the field representatives of manufacturers and suppliers to physically introduce new products, supply product training and business support.
These businesses soon realized that, with the advent of the internet, they could focus their marketing efforts on the net. This meant less dependancy on their sales force to market products and that resulted in the strategic reduction of their field representative sales force.    
That scheme backfired.
The plan to utilize the internet as a fresh new commercial marketing platform soon became modified to a 'brand awareness' campaign for the general consumer.
Where that leaves our industry is with a shortage of support and, to make matters worse, we no longer have have our reps. to introduce us to new products, supply us with product training or business support.
The loss of 'brand loyalty' is all the proof needed to realize that something needs to be done. To read more, click here for the blog.

ASBN is the solution.

Unlike the general consumer, the businesses and individuals of our industry need the resources only our suppliers can provide.

So, to market commercially, you need commercial customers and the plan is to have them all here on ASBN.

This opens the doors to so many opportunities;

  • we can rebuild the close relationships to our manufacturers and suppliers through the sharing of proprietary information and resources
  • product training and mini-courses are just a video away
  • direct links to help lines and business support
  • advertising focused for us, the commercial customer
  • Your marketing focus can now be surgically directed to individual regions within BC  

Also, local and regional companies whose markets are only local or regional will, for the first time, be able to market their products or services directly to their potentail commercial customers in the markets they do business in.

I know, as a shop operator, a tech or an appectice, you're probably asking, "Why should I care about all these companies wanting to reach me?"

Think about it for a moment. How else are you going to find out about a service your shop needs, the newest and greatest tools or upcoming courses you really want? 

 

Why do I need to Sign Up? How Much is this going to Cost Me? Who's Paying For This?

These are great and direct questions. So, here are direct answers.

This, as you've seen so far, is a monster of a project designed to represent and serve a total industry.......carving our own private niche within the open and public realm of the internet.

So, that means it has to be 'members only' to access information destined for commercial use. 

See 'Why Memberships?' for more information. 

Is this free?

Absolutely!

Everyone related to this industry; businesses, suppliers, their employees, students, including those who have a stake in this industry, can all freely register to be part of this network.

We can't expect a total industry to register on ASBN if we charged an entry fee. That just wouldn't be fair.

This is your industry and this is my industry. Together, we can evolve it the way we want it to and that can only happen if we have the right information to make our decisions easy.

 

Finally, "Who's paying for this?"

Up to this point, I am the only investor. That's why it has taken me so long to build it.

Sure, I've looked for investors and have had some interesting offers. But every one of them were looking to ASBN as their means to achieve their own financial goals and I would never 'sell out'. If you look, I don't even have Google Ads on the site.

Of course I could use the money. Raising a family on just a mechanic's wage has been very limiting, to say the least. If I could find an investor who shares these same visions, it would definately speed things along.

The main income will be from sponsors and advertisers who want or need to develop their market and get closer to their customers. But, since this project is so 'outside of the box' compared to today's internet marketing strategies, I need to be able to prove this will work first by building the memberships just to get them interested.

Then,we'll really be off to the races.

 

On a lighter note;

Someone asked me how I came up with The Automotive Service Business Network?

That was easy. My my wife rejected my other choice; The Federation of Automotive Repair Technicians

So, are you signed up?

reg now blue

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