Bob Kendall is the Co-Founder & CEO of Cole Publishing, the idea for which came in 1979 from Bob’s friend, Pete Lawonn’s, desire to sell the used tank from his septic truck. They didn’t know how to get the word out to potential buyers. After some investigation, Bob discovered he could buy a list of septic tank pumpers from the state. He used that list to market the tank – which quickly sold – and that first idea morphed into the next; create a magazine to connect septic pumpers to one another and to their suppliers. Their first publication, called Pumper, is now one of nine highly focused trade publications with a record of delivering valuable information to readers and exceptional results to advertisers. In addition to the publishing business, Bob also created one the North America’s largest trade show exhibit companies, creating experiences that brought entrepreneurs, manufacturers and business experts together to build relationships, buy & sell equipment and improve their businesses.
Mike and Bob cover a ton of great stuff in this episode, including how he and Pete became entrepreneurs while they were water skiing pals, how their naivete was a good thing, as it prevented them from seeing all the problems that might otherwise have scared them away from their ideas, how listening to his customers created the trade show business, the power of a publishing model that mutually benefits the subscribers and the advertisers, and why he’s so excited about his newest side project, 7fifteen Motorworks.
And now here’s Bob Kendall.
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