Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Patrick Laplante

 

September 14, 2017

By Patrick Laplante

Our business, Laplante & Associates, was founded by my grandfather Leo in 1955, after which came the second generation — my father Paul in 1978 and my uncle Marc in 1983. Here I was, Patrick Laplante, about to enter the world of rep agencies at the age of 22 and a potential third generation successor.

There are many challenges associated with coming into a family-run business as a third generation, but there are even more challenges when you’re a Millennial walking into a business that for the most part comprises Baby Boomers. For starters, you walk into the office on your first day of training as an inside sales person and see this big machine they call a ‘’ fax machine’’ and have no idea how it works… okay, I’m just kidding. I wasn’t that bad.

Kidding aside, as a Millennial I was brought up using technology for everything. When someone tells me something I Google it to make sure the information was correct. I never relied on one person’s knowledge when it came to getting information. I had to double-check it. This drives my father crazy. I can’t say Googling is something all Millennials do, but most I know are the same way. When my father first started doing business, there was no such thing as Google or smartphones that could answer a question in a matter of seconds and end an argument in the same amount of time. These are not things he was used to dealing with when doing business with my grandfather.

Another major challenge that you run into as a third generation is expectations. They come at you from every angle, whether it be what your father expects from you, what your uncle expects from you, or even what the manufacturer expects from you.

Most of the major manufacturers that we represent today are people who started dealing with my grandfather and then dealt with my father and my uncle. As a 22-year-old coming into a business as part of the succession plan, expectations are extremely high, much higher than with any other new employee. You are expected to excel in everything you do. You are expected to have a much better knowledge of everything because you are slowly going to get involved in meetings and negotiations with manufacturers.

A third major challenge that I had with my father is that as a Millennial I don’t necessarily have the same outlook on work he does or my grandfather had before him. My father lives to work just like my grandfather did before him. Myself, I work to live.

To me (and most Millennials I know), life outside of work is extremely important, and answering emails or calls past 8:00 pm or during the weekend is a no-go. My father on the other hand will answer emails and calls until he goes to bed.

Now, I’m not saying this is a bad thing. We just have a different outlook, but it all comes back to expectations. It was expected of me that I would put in as much time and effort as my father or grandfather when it came to answering calls or emails in the evening, on weekends or during my vacations. You can appreciate how those expectations caused friction.

A fourth challenge was my relationships with employees. Being younger than my father and uncle, I had a tendency to get into a much more personal relationship with employees. After a while I realized that whenever something was wrong or my co-workers didn’t want to talk to my father about things, they would come to me as a messenger. It was very quickly brought to my attention that I had to think more as a ‘’boss’’ and not as a friend since one day I would be the one doing the hiring and the firing and would need to keep an unbiased opinion of everyone. That was something very hard to do for someone trying to make their place in a business who was not only the youngest one here but “daddy’s boy.”

All of these and other challenges — too many to describe in one article — have worked out, but getting them off your plate just makes room for more. As a third-generation Millennial in a family-run business, I look forward with anticipation and trepidation to what’s ahead.

Patrick Laplante is an outside sales representative at Laplante & Associates, which represents product lines for the electrical, mechanical, commercial, industrial and OEM markets; www.laplante.co.

Study

Technological change has often been the cause for major market disruption. Consumers tend to benefit from these kinds of disruptions through improved service levels or radically lower prices. Wholesalers and distributors, however, have fewer means to drive changes themselves.

 

Here in Part 3: successfully operating in added-value market segments. This requires applying a number of different levers, usually at each step of their sales channels. . . Read more 

 

 

 


By Shoynear Morrison

The importance of using the right tone within communications and marketing can be easily underestimated. Within these fields words are used to convey specific messages and meaning regarding a brand.

What does the word tone mean and how can understanding its meaning allow you to apply this literacy device?

Well... The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word tone as an “accent or inflection expressive of a mood or emotion, the pitch of a word often used to express differences of meaning.” Aka… tone, is the way we say something and creates emotion. 

 

Read more...

 

 

 

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Canadian Electrical Wholesaler is surveying Canadian Electrical Industry Businesses. This short survey (5 multiple choice questions) will aid in determining the the state of Canadian electrical businesses and provide valuable insight into industry shifts. 

We thank you for your time in filling out this survey.

Take survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CEWbusinesssurvey

 

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