Peter Conlon shares 6 key triggers for success in a global marketplace
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
[Editor’s note – at the time of this article, Peter Conlon was the President and CEO of Nautel. In August 2014, Peter Conlon was appointed Chief Executive Officer of LED Roadway Lighting Ltd.]
In today’s world, communications technology is a fast growing and rapidly changing industry. The evolution of satellite and digital technologies mean that the traditional mediums of radio and television are quickly falling out of favour.
But is that true?
Perhaps in North America and other developed countries. However, as any company with an international trade outlook knows, one must adopt a larger worldview, taking into consideration societal norms, financial stability, political structures, and technological developments in other parts of the world. Despite the common misconception that radio and television are dead technologies, they actually remain the preferred and most affordable method of signal transmission in places where satellite and cable infrastructures are not readily available.
With that knowledge in mind, a small Nova Scotia company, Nautel, has become one of the world-leading developers of radio and television transmitters.
Founded in 1969 and nestled away in beautiful Hackett’s Cove, Nova Scotia, Nautel transmitters now power communications around the world, with clients in 177 countries. The mentality behind their continued success is simple and was explained by Nautel’s President and CEO, Peter Conlon, in a keynote presentation; “You cannot think of the world solely from a North American perspective.” Their work may reach farther yet, as Nautel is participating in a consortium that would see the company’s transmitter technology used in building and sustaining rocket propulsion.
In the same presentation, Conlon discussed the six key triggers that have led to the company’s stability, success, and continued growth over the past 44 years.
1) Set yourself apart.
From their dedicated team in Hackett’s Cove to their decentralized sales team, Nautel employees are committed to customer service as a core value and part of their vision. The company is known worldwide for their reliability and they are renowned for their customer service. As Conlon explains, “Building that long-term relationship in the international space is absolutely essential.”
2) Think like a start-up.
Remain hungry for more. Imagine there are no laws. Believe that anything is possible. Don’t think of the world as a bigger North America – get a global perspective. There are opportunities out there for products that have applications in other parts of the world. Nautel would not have achieved success by selling only within Nova Scotia. They had to export. They had to be good at it. They had to be innovative. And they had to stay top of mind.
3) Compete fiercely, honestly, and openly.
One of the biggest pieces of business in Nautel’s history is now underway. India’s broadcaster is implementing a digital infrastructure and Nautel won the contract for the conversion. This piece of business represents an entire year’s revenue and reinforces their L1 rating – technically compliant at the lowest price. Remaining patient and steadfast to their commitment and integrity eventually saw them through a three year cycle of applications and red tape to secure this contract.
4) Count on partners.
Nautel credits programs available through NSBI, EDC, CCC, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, and the provincial and federal governments for the success they have achieved as a 44-year-old company with local ownership. These partners can help in many different areas of your business.
5) Build a solid team.
Hiring and retaining the right talent is crucial for success. This is one area where government partners can help. Programs like the Payroll Rebate assist with attracting the best talent and keeping them around for the long term.
6) Innovate and diversify or die.
In 2006, Nautel brought in co-op students — bright young minds — to improve design, functionality, and generate new thinking. The result was a transmitter interface that is now industry standard; rather than inventing a competitive method, the competition have simply adopted Nautel’s design. “All of our competitors are running like mad dogs to catch up to us and while they’re running, we’re continuing to run ahead of them,” Conlon describes. As the digital space grows, Nautel is taking advantage of more opportunities to attract young talent and diversify, creating a long-tail of smarter products.
Though the technology they work with seems to belong to a previous decade, Nautel has distinguished itself by setting the industry standard for integrity and ingenuity. Their recipe for success has served them well over the past 44 years, and the future is bright for this versatile company as they continue to grow.
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