Small-business owners, you deserve a moment in the spotlight. In this regular column, we highlight entrepreneurs from all over the U.S. who can answer the question, “What makes you stand out from the crowd?” We know you’re proud of your accomplishments — now you can tell the world about them, too.
Julie Copeland, owner of Arbill, answers our questions:
What makes you stand out from the crowd?
Arbill has become the leading architect of workplace safety. In an increasingly turbulent and uncertain world, our corporate clients know that keeping their employees safe is key to retention and productivity. Our approach sets us apart because it is more strategic: 1) We assess the workplace and develop a Safety Blueprint; 2.) We deliver customized products — like safety goggles and gloves; and 3) we provide ongoing protection through our reporting systems.
My name is: Julie Copeland
My business is: Arbill
Industry: Workplace safety
Year founded: 1945
Number of employees: 86
Web address: www.arbill.com
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
I love the idea of creating a successful business so that when we win big, we can give back big. I have always been a believer that my business will do well because I have hired good people. And I love that I can provide a livelihood for so many people. I mentor other women’s businesses and I serve on several boards to promote them. Long term, I intend to enhance our philanthropic role in the community.
What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome?
Actually, I don’t see hurdles but opportunities.
When I took the reins as CEO of Arbill, which has been run by my family since 1945, I saw that it needed to be re-engineered to compete in the current global marketplace. We shifted Arbill’s customer base from regional to national, expanded the company’s scope and diversified operations .
Also, in my personal life as a wife and mother of two small children, I think it is particularly important to maintain balance and perspective by viewing life as a journey.
What’s the best business advice you can offer?
When a prospect says “No,” that’s the beginning of a new sales process. Think about it: You already know the company, you know the decision makers, and you have the time to compete again strategically for that business when the contract is up — or if you see another way to win the business.
Here is an example: Once I was told by a business prospect that we didn’t win the contract. So I couriered a letter to him stating why they needed to reopen this decision. Because I made a sound argument within this confident gesture, they not only reconsidered the decision — but they also hired us.
If a business organization referred you to us, please tell us which one.
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council or WBENC .
Are You a Stand Out?
To be considered for this column, please send an email (and a digital headshot!) to Editors@smSmallBiz.com , answering these questions: