Looking for a little inspiration during this tough economic time? Tramco founder Leon Trammell has some insight to offer.
He and freelance writer Brian Whepley have written "How Underdogs Win "about Trammell's experience in business (available at Amazon.com and CreateSpace.com ).
"It's scary as hell to start a business," Trammell says.
Several other companies share their stories for the book as well, including Wichita businesses Hiller Inc. , High Touch , Greenway Electric and Kansas companies Solomon Corp. and Cobalt Boats .
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Trammell founded Tramco in 1967. The company manufactures bulk material-handling conveyors and does business in every state and 57 countries.
"I did not give myself a chance to fail," Trammell says. "You just cannot have a failure plan. If you have a failure plan, you'll probably fail."
So what's his plan for success?
"You need a niche, and then be persistent," Trammell says, quickly adding: "But you know, being persistent is kind of elusive.
"I've been persistent on an investment I made, and it hasn't paid out."
Trammell says you have to relentlessly pursue being excellent.
"Whatever you do you have to be the best at it," he says. "You never share with your neighbor a mediocre job on anything, do you? No, you share the good job. The good service. So you have to be the best.
"Then it boils down to the Golden Rule. And I know that is hokey. ... But you have to treat people the way you want to be treated."
"It's allowed me to do things that I never dreamed I would do," Trammell says.
"I've been successful far beyond what any of my friends ever thought I would," he says. He says friends tell him they'd rather be lucky like him than smart.
Trammell says one friend told him, "You know, Leon, you're not any smarter than the rest of us. In fact, you might not be as smart.
"The difference is you think about it and do it, and we think about it and don't do it."
Trammell says that's the difference.
"They say opportunity comes knocking on your door. Well, it doesn't. You have to go searching for it."
You don't say
"You gotta do it sometime."
—Orange Leaf franchisee Sean O'Brien , who says opening a yogurt business in December isn't ideal but that's what he's doing Friday near the northeast corner of Central and Greenwich