Doug Heritage, General Manager, Miller Farm Equipment

2008 Dealership of the Year Winner

Retirement is a long ways away for me in this farm equipment business! Why retire when you get to wake up every morning and deal with some of the best business people in the world — farmers! In the past number of years of being an equipment dealer in Western Canada, I have leaned many different things and accepted many different challenges this industry brought to us. I would like to share a few items that helped me succeed at being a farm equipment dealer.

• Don’t be someone who always follows a path, be an individual known as the one who is always making the path. To succeed, you need to be ahead of your competitors and always looking for different paths. There are many times I chose the wrong path to follow but that is how I learned. I did not just follow the same old trail that many people take; I created a new trail that offered me challenges and opportunities. I always looked ahead and embraced most opportunities while always trying to maintain a positive attitude throughout the process!

• Establish a strong “culture” throughout your entire organization. It took me a long time to realize what was helping us succeed in the ag business, but it was the culture that had grown inside our dealerships. The benefit of having a strong culture is hard to measure but without it your business will not be around for a long time. Culture is something that takes time to establish, but is one of the most critical components of being successful.

• Always remember how and especially “who” helped make us leaders in the agricultural business. Teamwork is the number-one priority in operating a business. Yes, we’re the executives running the business but it is the employees out in the field that make us successful. If it was not for our “Miller” team, these dealerships would have never succeeded. A company’s employees are the backbone of any great company. Always remember to reward them not only monetarily but mentally as well — this will take you and the team a long ways in this business. A team atmosphere is what everyone needs to drive for.

Read the "The Dealer's 16 Commandments," a summary article of all "Dealers of the Year" and their views on the cornerstones of running a farm equipment business.