Sal Longo’s Catalog Startup Tips
Since he co-founded Northern Safety when he was just 20 years old, President Sal Longo says he had to learn everything the hard way, finding everything out for himself. Here’s some advice he wishes he’d known then:
• Go to conferences and meet as many people as you can. First, you’ll meet some of the best consultants at industry events, and second, you’ll meet seasoned catalog veterans who can share their expertise. Learn as much as you can.
• Find a mentor. Longo says he often forms advising relationships with companies new to the direct marketing game. He recommends looking for mentors outside your product vertical just to eliminate any potential conflicts with your business.
• Put your own spin on outside advice. While Longo does advise that you listen to what experts say, he suggests giving it a good wring through. “Try to understand what’s legitimate advice, and what just won’t work for the way you do business,” he says.
• Rein in your emotions. Longo admits that he’s a passionate guy, so he’s had to put in place systems that remove any emotion from the decision-making process. He says that establishing metrics for every part of the business and allowing others to challenge his decisions have helped keep his emotional nature in check.