Small Business Success Q&A #3: Rob Condon of Longley Associates

I met Rob Condon about six or seven years ago through the Northampton Chamber of Commerce. He was new to the Chamber but jumped right in, serving on committees and eventually becoming treasurer. Rob and I live in neighboring towns so we started having breakfast together once in a while at the popular Roadhouse Café, where the pancakes are terrific. It’s been a while since we had pancakes together, but I hope we renew the tradition soon because I always found Rob had something interesting to say. Here’s his profile.

Name: Rob Condon

Rob Condon

Company name: Longley Associates, Inc.

Location: Belchertown, MA

Website: www.longleyassociates.com

Year founded: 2003

No. of employees: 1

Business description: Business consulting focusing on Operations and Manufacturing working directly with the Owners in stabilizing and turning around the Business.

What have been the keys to your business success? Helping my success is I’ve shown clients that I am an implementer of improvement changes, not a report writer, not simply an advisor, but a “roll-up-your-sleeves” consultant willing to bet my reputation.  My business model is based upon actual implementation and monitoring progress.  There are too many consultants out there telling “what” to do, but not “how” to do it, then actually doing it.  Most business owners know “what” to do, but need help in doing it.

Best business advice you’ve ever been given? A past mentor of mine, Ken Bixby of Kollmorgen, once gave me a framed quotation from Thomas Edison.  It said, “There is no expedient a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.” It is my borrowed motto even today, 20 years later.  It is so true. Thinking is so hard, but must be done correctly and timely.

Worst business advance you’ve ever been given? That’s a tough question.  But, one thing does stick. I was once asked by a corporation to evaluate an aerospace manufacturing division they recently acquired.  I traveled there, did the job, but didn’t report first to the local president. My report went first to corporate at their request.  I was then retained to “fix” the company, but had lost any chance of loyalty with the local management team. The bad advice was clear; I was asked to spy yet expected to be part of a team afterwards. I had to pick and chose, not do both.

What was the toughest thing you’ve ever had to do as a business owner? The answer is easy: to be a business owner.

What advice would you give to someone just starting a business? Make sure you have the three prerequisites: Profound knowledge of your field, passion to be a business owner and guts to stick with it.

Favorite all-time business book? Tom Peters In Search Of Excellence. It was inspirational even though I knew Tom was in the business to sell books.

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