September 9, 2020
“The best advice I can give you is that you can't compete with them on their strengths. You have to compete on your strengths and until you identify and figure out what those are, I mean, you're going to take a beating. ~PJ Slauson
PJ Slauson, president and CEO of CLK Supplies, LLC and Aero Lock, LLC, has grown his business from promising side hustle to profitable distributorship on his own terms. Jason chats with the 35-year-old entrepreneur about the value of a self-guided education, the art of asking for help, and the power of social media.
Early on in PJ’s college career, he had to make the difficult choice. Should he stay the course and complete his structured education, or tend to the growing number of business calls interrupting his day?
He chose the latter, pouring all of his energy, time, and money into a lock parts distributorship. In hindsight, the decision made perfect sense. After all, PJ started cutting keys in his father’s shop at six years old and sold his first business by age 12. He’s a hands-on kind of guy who collects (and implements!) suggestions from myriad sources to support his professional and personal improvement.
“That's what I've tried to do is, just take the different knowledge and information,” he says. “I'm like, okay, how do I apply this to my life as an operating system to help keep my business and me personally, keep growing and going down the road?”
Even the most voracious reader can’t post 20% growth per year on average with advice gleaned from books alone. For real-life strategic planning, PJ leans into a key management strength: vulnerability. PJ got the answers his earliest asks from other small business owners. They readily shared with him their knowledge on everything from website development to warehousing set-up, all for little more than the cost of breakfast.
Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.
This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
Connect with Jason Bader on LinkedIn.
Connect with PJ Slauson on LinkedIn.
As you might expect from someone in his age bracket, PJ’s an expert at leveraging his social media presence, a relatively foreign concept in the world of distribution. “To me as a whole, you know...it's a transactional business, but that's not necessarily very fun, right?”
With a robust library of how-to videos on YouTube and fun locksmith tips via Instagram, PJ is returning the favor to fellow entrepreneurs, offering his vast knowledge for free. At a time when the pandemic has sidelined tradeshows and limited face-to-face interaction, PJs authentic online customer connection is as strategic as it is fun.
Interested in reading what PJ reads? Here are his suggestions from the episode: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley, and The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Fail And What To Do About It by Michael E. Gerber.
Interested in reading what PJ wrote? Lock Rekeying Made Simple
CONNECT WITH PJ SLAUSON: