Industry Partnerships are Key to Business Success

Tom O'MalleyAs a new blog contributor, I wanted to take this opportunity to give you a look at my past, the chances I took in business, and the partners who supported myself and the business along the way. It seems like only yesterday that, at the age of 43 and with three kids, I ventured into this new challenge, founding Clover Architectural Products. My company is coming up on five years in business and we have had some great successes and many challenges. It has not always been easy by any means, nor should it have been.

What always got us through the day was our partners. The word partner meant many different things to us:

1) Customers

There are countless people in our customer base to thank for the success we have had. What is so great about our industry is that so many of us have started a company or worked at a start-up in some form or fashion. They remember someone gave them a break they needed, and they tend to want to repay the favor. I think we tend to pull for the “little guy” as many of us see ourselves in those companies. The people we did our first jobs with are the same people we worked with before we started Clover and that we continue to work with. It shows that a good relationship is worth its weight in gold.

2) Vendors

Starting Clover would also not have been possible if not for the vendors who had confidence in us. Many were there to extend us credit from day one. That was huge, as it allowed us to instantly take on large, challenging projects. These included fabricators, extruders, painters, engineers, marketers and many more. There were some that were more understandably cautious and wanted to “wait and see” how we were doing down the road. We have always tried to remember who was there with us at day one and reward them with our loyalty. These are people I have worked with for over 20 years, and I am so appreciative they trusted and believed in us.

3) Employees

I am probably the most visible person at Clover, and that is because I have traveled around for the last 23 years seeing customers and attending industry events. What should be clear is the success of Clover is due to the people back at the office, who took a chance on a new company and left a job in order to come be part of something special. I am not sure what they were thinking, but I know we are forever grateful they had that short lapse in judgement. We are so lucky we had such good relationships with them.

4) Business partners

Finally, I could not have moved forward on this journey without my partners Ed Kearney and Jim Stremplewski. To start a new company at age 43 is crazy enough, but these two guys were older than me. That told me they really believed we could do it. Together the three of us have had many a sleepless night, but we have navigated our way through it.

I hope you can see the common theme of each group is partnership and respect for each other. This business is all about having a great relationship. It’s about treating people with respect, doing what you say you are going to do and having some fun while doing it. That’s the perfect recipe for success in whatever you do. 

Tom O’Malley is a founding partner at Clover Architectural Products and is vice president of sales. He has been in the aluminum and glass industry for 23 years. Currently he focuses his time on working with architects, helping to bring their ideas to fruition. He also travels and meets with the top glazing and metal subcontractors to partner with them to help make their project a success.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

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