I’m enjoying our study group. It’s one of the best things I’ve done for my business and professional growth.
— Tom Gresham, Double Quick, Inc., Indianola, Mississippi
The group allows me to observe the performance of similar companies to ours and talk candidly about what works and what does not work in our respective markets. It has been a great benefit to our company.
— Walt Dwelle, Flyers Energy, Visalia, California
This group is very helpful. I consider it my outside board of directors. It is a “must” for my business to belong to this group.
— Bill Douglass, Douglass Distributing, Sherman, Texas
The ability to benchmark off of others is very valuable. The Best Ideas presentations are also a powerful tool. The bottom line is that the Study Group will help me to improve my bottom line.
— Greg Parker, The Parker Companies, Savannah, Georgia
One of the biggest benefits of this study group is the give and take of good ideas. Discussion of industry trends has also been important. Since there is no way to experience everything the group members have experienced, it lets us know what might work and what will not work without having to go out and figure it out for ourselves. The overall interaction with our group has definitely had a positive effect on our company. The value of being in an open, honest and non-threatening meeting of industry peers motivated to share successes, failures, ideas and concerns for our mutual benefits, seems to give direction or focus to grow or shrink or sell.
— Stewart and Steve Spinks, Spinx Oil Co., Inc., Greenville, South Carolina
Since joining the petroleum marketer financial study group, my business has more than doubled.
— Kenny Retif, Retif Oil and Fuel, New Orleans, Louisiana
Aside from the in-depth analysis of financial information, the major benefit of participation in this group is having a group of 7-10 experienced, intelligent marketers to run ideas by. The benefit gained from this group’s insight during the financial analysis has been immeasurable to me. I hope I have given a fraction as much back to the group as I have taken.
— Howell Clark, Sampson-Bladen Oil Co., Inc., Elizabethtown, North Carolina
I just attended my first meeting and I thought it was outstanding. Having been involved in the industry back in the mid-’90s and then returning eight years ago, I have seen a miraculous change in information available to help leaders better understand their companies and how to optimize value from what I saw back in the ’90s. I now understand how that transformation was shaped within this industry. It is interesting to me how academia can used for such a positive means in a business setting.
— Brad Barnett, Sierra Energy
Our firm is a member of many industry-specific organizations, and if it became necessary to reduce participation in any of them , the last one I would give up is my membership and participation in my study group. It has provided great ideas; improved financial understanding of the businesss; and a group of inquiring businesspersons who I can ask or inquire about any issue.
— Charles McCan, Wholesale Fuels/Jaco Oil, Bakersfield, California
I cannot imagine running my company without the benefit of our study group. The interaction, information, and perspective gained from this peer group is critical to me. It is without question one of the top five things I do to make my business survive in a tough industry. Membership will not guarantee success, but it makes the possibility much easier.
— Eric Busch, Busch Distributors, Moscow, Idaho
The study group forces me to change my focus and think more creatively and strategically. It shakes up my thinking and helps me find solutions.
— Rich Abel, Jaco Oil, Bakersfield, California
We have enjoyed and been delighted in the experience of our study group. This is certainly a case where we feel we have gained far more than we have contributed.
— Alec McBarnet, Maui Oil, Kahului, Hawaii
The study group has been an outstanding management tool for our business. It gives us an opportunity to look at trends, make comparisons, and discuss our business very openly with other distributors. It also gives us a chance to exchange new ideas, to talk over things that have been successful and perhaps unsuccessful.
— Johnny Milazzo, Lard Oil Co., Denham Springs, Louisiana
The study group is a tremendous association. For a relatively smaller distributor like myself, it has been helpful because the larger members have already experienced the growing pains and opportunities I might be facing. Having the ability to discuss with them my business whether in person, at a meeting or by phone is invaluable.
— Mallory Nimocks, Nimocks Oil Co., Forrest City, Arkansas
Sharing ideas on common business problems and methods to address and feeling that people are concerned about you and your business are the benefits of the study group for me.
— Charlie Robinson, Robinson Oil Company, Garden City, Kansas
I’ve always enjoyed sharing ideas with non-competitor peers at industry gatherings…but a formalized process of sharing financial data, good ideas and recent activities in a study group is by far the best way to get a big volume of useful ideas.
— Mike Coulson, Coulson Oil Company, Inc., North Little Rock, Arkansas
The [meetings] are very beneficial because [they focus] us on the big picture and long term goals of our business. The ideas shared and frank discussion is invaluable.
— Terry Maxey, Maxey Energy Co., Uvalde, Texas
The sharing of ideas on an informal basis; discussion of problems or opportunities with others with experience; comparing operating results with like companies; all these are what make the group worthwhile.
— Chuck Taylor, Jr., C.E. Taylor Oil, Inc., Washington, Indiana
Our business is so competitive that we almost never engage in any conversation, let alone sharing of best practices, etc. This group enables us to openly discuss our specific business challenges, share best ideas, and get non-involved advice (new perspective). It’s also nice to know that we’re not an island, that other marketers have the same challenges, problems, etc.
— Mark Policky, Big D Oil Co., Rapid City, South Dakota
The study group is the best way I have to gauge my company’s performance against other similar companies in the industry. No other venue offers the intensity of discussion I find here.
— Carey Johnson, Jr., Carey Johnson Oil Co.
Finally, a good financial review about our business, not just a check to NACS numbers. The members are great about sharing ideas and solving problems.
— Bill Wilson, Kwik Check/McCraw Oil, Bonham, Texas
From my perspective the first few meetings I have attended have been incredibly beneficial, both on the business side and the personal side. I can honestly say that each and every one of you has had a profound and positive impact on the way I think about business and family.
— Frank Roberts, Roberts Energy, Springfield, MA
I owe the study group a lot of credit for our success for the great ideas, the education and confidence that I have built from being a part of the group.
— Douglas C. Hartley, Starfire Stores, Cambridge, Ohio
The study group provides an excellent environment to discuss some of the most fundamental problems of our industry with complete confidentiality. There is no fear of expressing a weakness or strength to a potential competitor and thus the exchange of ideas is totally candid and uninhibited. This results in a very open and beneficial problem solving forum.
— David Sutton, Tiger Fuel Co., Charlottesville, Virginia
The idea sharing and seeing how people from different areas of the country are handling very similar problems is very helpful.
— Tim Hutchens, Hutchens Petroleum, Stuart, Virginia
The study group is the only time I have ever seen concrete numbers and received honest information on the industry.
— John Foster, Foster Oil Co., Richmond, Michigan
The study group provides excellent professional information exchange: Formal – financial reviews, best ideas, agenda topics (surveys, etc.) and Informal – conversation with other members at breaks, meals, recreational activities. It also promotes a pleasant forum for social and relaxing personal camaraderie, at outstanding locations throughout the U.S.
— Blackie Bowen, Ewing Oil Company, Hagerstown, Maryland
The study group is similar to the discipline of meeting with a Board of Directors and responding to the inquiries brought out by a group of fellow business people. It is very difficult to find a group of individuals who: 1) know the business and the “lingo”, 2) who care about the fellow members, and 3) who are willing to spend the time and energy to help monitor each other. I wouldn’t be in business today without Study Groups.
— Ed Owlett, Putnam Company, Wellsboro, Pennsylvania
Study group membership provides the opportunity to consider national trends and issues that impact our industry. Being a small marketer in a rural market, it is valuable to share insights with fellow group members in order to operate better on a daily basis as well as to plan more strategically for the future.
— Norman Faulkner, Noblett Oil and Propane, Kilmarnock, Virginia
This group and the associated idea and information sharing is one of the best things that has ever happened to our company. It helps keep us from making as many mistakes as we try to grow our business.
— Frank Walthall, III, Walthall Oil Co., Macon, Georgia
There are several areas that the study group is beneficial to me: exchange of ideas on solving common problems, group input on particular problems members face, honesty in discussing tough issues and problems, establishment of friendship among members, ability to call group members at any time to discuss issues and problems you are facing, and ability to visit members markets/locations to get ideas.
— Joe Morris, Morris Petroleum, Inc., Ridgeland Mississippi
I have been in the financial study group since its inception. I have always been able to take back ideas from every meeting that helped improve our business. I have also developed close relationships with several marketers from our group and I value their friendships very highly. Also, marketers are always available for consultation. David Nelson has done a very good job over the years of coming up with new and better ideas on reporting our sales and financial numbers.
— Chris Liposky, Rogers Petroleum, Inc., Morristown, Tennessee
The financial study group gives me a unique opportunity to study my business with 20 or more “state-of-the-art” businesses whose owners are sincerely interested in finding a better way to do business. In addition, it places me with a financial counselor who is skilled in finance and economics and who has studied this business with other business owners and can relate to my business and my group and can give a well-educated opinion about how businesses are managed and make recommendations to improve operations. This is a strong group of people who are sincerely interested in improving their businesses and willing to share their ideas. I continually gain ways to improve from the mere association with each of them. This sharing of financial information allows me an opportunity to measure my performance against a well-managed group of businesses, and explain if I am better and ask questions if I am not as good. In either case, it is a win-win situation. Overall, it is one of the best times I spend evaluating the performance of my business.
— Jim Lipscomb, III, Lipscomb Oil Co., Greenville, Mississippi
I like sharing ideas with others in this business and having contemporaries critique my business and tactics. I’ve benefitted from formulas and ideas to improve marketing and backroom policies that have helped us organize our companies better. I’ve enjoyed visiting other businesses and other parts of the country and gained many friendships while in the study group.
— John Hendley, Hendley Enterprises, Monroe, North Carolina
Participating in this group has benefited our company in a variety of areas. The valuable financial analysis is invaluable. The operating ideas are original (and work!). The strategic planning input from the other group members cannot be matched in any other forum.
— Glennie Bench, Southwest Georgia Oil Co., Inc., Bainbridge, Georgia
I will make this my #1 meeting to attend and will place this above anything on my list.
— Edward Holmes, Holmes Oil, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The chance to share the financial numbers which are so detailed really has an impact on my thinking. The interaction with fellow marketers to share thoughts and ideas is excellent.
— Cecil Worsley, Worsley Companies, Wilmington, North Carolina