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 Aftermarket 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 independents, 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, expenses have gone through the roof, most of our technical trainers are gone and we have a serious shortage of qualified people. What's next? Do 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.

We know what the issues are but what we need are solutions and fixes to problems that are beyond our control.

Well, that seems to be at the center of most of our stress. We believe we are not in control. 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 answers to our questions and solutions to everyday 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 independently because they are all so tightly related to each other. The only way resolutions can be found is within a networking environment, 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 response to the negative changes, but that's water under 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 oddball parts, a specific tool, or maybe some information that could improve your business or career. Ultimately we turn to the internet and search engines, such as Google, Bing, and others, and then start sorting the results for relevance. Sometimes we're lucky.

Here's a 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 cataloging 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 dependent 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 online. But, being available on the internet also means the data can be accessible by anyone with a connection. So, do you optimize your proprietary 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 can now reach this industry. It will 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 relevance 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 view 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 digitized 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 the 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, our directories and catalogs are permanent records and very simple to navigate.
Plus, unlike the worldwide web, our industry is focused on specific information.
This means:

  • it can be cataloged
  • 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 cataloging 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 into their particular interests. The Office, Tech Center, and Tool Room each perform like individual websites within the network.

Within each division, you will find related articles, articles, tips, videos, and 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 to our industry need to be noticed. From there we determine its relevance 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, we 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 everyday 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 dependency 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 our reps. to introduce us to new products or 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 close relationships with 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 helplines 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 potential commercial customers in the markets they do business in.

I know, as a shop operator, a tech, or an apprentice, 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 the 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 are 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.

The main income will be from sponsors and advertisers who want, or need, to develop their market and get closer to their business customers. But, since this project is so 'outside of the box' compared to today's internet marketing strategies, I needed to be able to prove this project to be viable first by creating it. What is fascinating is that in every market test and survey I have performed, the support for such a project has been near 100%. But, at the same time, no one thought this could be a real possibility.

Well, The Automotive Service Business Network is now a reality.

The next phase of my plan, starting in 2022, will be to start promoting it to the industry and I expect it to be an uphill battle. 

Well, if it was easy to connect with individuals and businesses in our industry, everyone would be doing it. Plus, I know little about marketing and advertising to help spread the word. I am learning as I go.

I just hope that it will be well received and that our members will help spread the word that this network benefits all of us.

 

On a lighter note;

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

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

So, are you signed up?

reg now blue