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How Gorilla Gasket used technology to become an e-commerce gasket powerhouse

When the internet first started to appear in people’s homes and businesses, ecommerce was a distant thought. Many companies were unsure of how to embrace this new technology and how to fully utilize it as part of their business and marketing strategy.

Today ecommerce is huge and more than 1.9 billion people purchased goods online in 2019 meaning there is a vast amount of people willing to shop online. This doesn’t have to just mean retail and it can translate into other industries such as manufacturing, and in this case, gasket manufacturing.

Unlike some small manufacturing businesses, Gorilla Gasket wasn’t content with providing local companies with their products but realized the potential for selling online through their website and embracing ecommerce. They have also used modern manufacturing technology to stay ahead of the competition.

This is a great example for any other small business looking to expand its business by using modern tech.

Who are Gorilla Gasket exactly?

Based in New Mexico, they are a small, family-owned business that specializes in supplying custom-made gaskets for a variety of industries. They take their orders online and by telephone and they can often turn around an order and ship it on the same day.

Part of the key to their success is the way they produce their products, the relationships they have with customers but also their use of technology over the years. How can you use their strategy to help your business?

Customer service is key

Before looking at how Gorilla Gasket used technology, it is also important to understand how they run their business. Having the best gaskets is only half the battle and Gorilla Gasket realized very early on that customer relationships were the key to running a long-term, successful company.

They have striven to develop enduring relationships with suppliers and customers alike. If you embrace communication and listen to your customers, then you can develop loyalty that can last a lifetime and often this turns into free marketing as they will recommend you to friends and even competitors in some situations.

Custom-made products and fast turnaround

Obviously, not every company is in the position or even needs to make custom items. They may not even need to be particularly quick with their turnaround times either but, in the case of Gorilla Gasket – Gasket Supply, these two areas are key to part of their success.

They deal with companies that work in the mining sector, gas, power, and oil industries, and also refining. If one company in these industries requires a gasket suddenly, it is vital that they get a replacement as fast as possible. When a gasket fails, it can stop or hinder production which could potentially cost a small fortune.

Gorilla Gasket’s owners had a vision that they would be leaders in their field, and this meant the ability to produce a custom gasket of any size or shape and then ship this to the client on the same day. This has helped create bonds and trust between the manufacturer and the customer.

What type of technology did they embrace?

When looking at the technology used by Gorilla Gasket, it is important to remember that it isn’t just in the manufacturing area that they have utilized tech, it is in the retail and distribution sides of the business too.

All industries evolve as time goes on and this means techniques and methods change too. What was once made by hand becomes machine-made by a person, and then possibly, fully automated. Companies either adapt or die except a few that stay in niche areas using traditional methods. The way gaskets are used is largely the same in that they perform a purpose, that is to create a seal and separate different fluids or gases. However, the technology has changed and along with it the types of materials.

Materials

In the past, it was common for many industries to use dangerous products and materials. Some of these have been found to cause serious and even deadly illnesses. It wasn’t uncommon to find asbestos gaskets that can cause life-threatening illnesses. Now though there are a variety of materials to choose from and depending on the use of the gasket you could choose from cork, PTFE, neoprene, and polyurethane to name just a few.

Polyurethane is a more eco-friendly material than rubber and neoprene is particularly resistant to chemicals, oxygen, ozone, heat, and other damaging substances, and elements. By keeping up with the latest material technology, Gorilla Gasket has kept up with and ahead of the competition.

Manufacturing techniques

When it comes to making gaskets, there are a variety of techniques and methods, and because Gorilla Gasket makes custom sizes and shapes, they need to employ all of these.

Traditional ways of making rubber gaskets were by punching and this method dates back to the 1800s. Nowadays, several alternatives are available, depending on the materials being used, including water jet cutting, laser cutting, strip cutting, and hand cutting. Hand cutting is a very old technique but for rubber sheet material in particular, it is maybe the most reliable. It uses experienced and skilled finishers to trim and finish the gasket after the cutting.

Website marketing

When you are looking to improve your website’s presence, you need to think about your target audience and make sure your content is relevant to those people. To improve your website’s marketing you will need to add keywords to help show up on search engine results pages. This means thinking about how someone might search and find you. For instance, if someone typed in ‘online custom gasket manufacturer’ then they might find Gorilla Gasket.

This company realized the importance of the internet and other relevant technologies and used it to improve their ecommerce business. A good digital marketing strategy is key to promoting your business. Gorilla Gasket built a small but very functional website and then concentrated on other ways to drive traffic to it.

Email marketing

Another way to help your business create more interest is to run an email marketing campaign. It is unclear whether Gorilla Gasket took this route, but it can be a very effective way of communication. There are ways to ensure success with email marketing and these include newsletters, updates on promotions, and by adding ‘calls to action’, these are generally buttons or links leading you straight to a particular product or a sales landing page.

They used social media

Gorilla Gasket only made a simple website compared to some other competitors, but they made sure that everything that a customer might need was included. What they also did was to open accounts across a range of social media. Gorilla gasket has a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, as well as lines of communication through email and by telephone.

Summary

To become successful in any area of ecommerce, you need to have a product that is needed but you also need to know how to supply that. By copying Gorilla Gasket’s use of technology, you could improve your own business. This means keeping up with new manufacturing methods and changes, looking at environmentally-friendly materials – Gorilla Gasket and other companies are using eco-friendly options – and embracing modern forms of marketing such as advertising on Facebook and other social media.

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How does a day in the life of a CEO looks like?

The job of a CEO is difficult yet important. Though it is rewarding and fulfilling, it never comes easy. As a tech CEO, I have a team of 100+ employees; followed by dedicated customers and partners. My professional life revolves around working in the best interest of the stakeholders of my company. But I have a personal life as well – a beautiful family, a passion for cycling, and other activities that I perform daily to help me grow as an individual.

As a mentor and certified speaker in TiE – a non-profit organization for entrepreneurs and IAMCP – World’s largest community of Microsoft channel partners, I often come across this question – How do you spend your day as a CEO? To break it down – how I manage my day and strike a balance between my professional and personal life.

One day, when I was surfing the internet, I came across an article by HBR (Harvard Business Review) that talked about a survey of 1000 CEOs and how they spend their day. I was surprised to know that – about one-quarter of CEOs’ days are spent alone (on-average); another 10% is spent on personal matters; 8% is spent traveling, and the remainder (56%) is spent with at least one other person. I will share its link at the end of the article for you to have a look.

Typically, CEOs are believed to be working 24/7 – spending most of their time alone thinking about how to grow their companies and meet the high expectations of various stakeholders of the company.

But, for me, I am making a conscious effort that this should not be my truth.

To help you get an idea of a day in my life, I’ve compiled a rundown of my daily routine – what I consider as a day in my life as a tech CEO.

The morning – starting the day right

4:30 am – My day starts at 4:30 am. It can be 4:00 also if I have something important to tackle during the day. I am a morning person. For me, beautiful mornings pave way for a productive day ahead.

The first thing I do after waking up is to have my detox tea. It instantly energizes me.

Next, I get ready for cycling. Cycling is a constant part of my daily routine like I shared in my previous blog. You can read that here – Life is at its beautiful best when you have a cycle: Musings by a passionate cyclist. I believe that morning is the best time to give some exercise to your body. Whether it is a long walk, jogging, yoga, aerobics, or any other physical exercise. Exercising can instantly boost up our serotonin levels – the key element that stabilizes our mind and gives us a sense of happiness. You can choose any exercise that suits you – for me, it is cycling.

We (me and my cycling buddies) plan the destination a day before and decide a meeting point as well as the distance to be covered. Depending on the distance covered, cycling takes up, on an average, two hours of my day.

These hours also include some chit-chat sessions with Sabari (the COO of ZNet and my dear friend) and team; stopping for our morning chai (tea)/coffee; and listening to some audiobooks. I shared a list of books I completed during my morning cycle rides. You can check them here.

I always stress the importance of learning. Learning practically has no limit. You can never learn enough. I like listening to leadership strategies, productivity hacks, technology, and life skills. I mostly use LinkedIn Learning and Blinkist app for this.

As an entrepreneur, you should keep abreast of everything new and add things to your knowledge.

“You should be teachable. Be ready to learn new things and have the curiosity of a child.”

08:00 am – Post cycling, I reach home by 8 am. I take a quick shower and then eat my breakfast. I make it a point to have breakfast with my family. Even if it’s for 15-20 minutes, this time helps us connect. Like they say, ‘the family that eats together, stays together’.

I am a propagator of having a powerful morning routine. We all have 24 hours to our disposal, even the world leaders. It depends on us how we make use of these hours. It is important to steal some extra hours from your day, especially if you are a CEO. I do that by getting up early. It allows me to pursue my passion for cycling.

Setting the right morning routine is my mantra to stay mindful and control my day, rather than letting the day control me.

The workday

08:30 am: Once I am done with my morning routine, I head off to work. Due to COVID-19, I work from my home office for now. I reach my work desk by 8:30 or maximum by 09:00 am.

From here, starts my workday.

The first thing I do as soon as I am on my desk is to take out my planner and jot down the most important tasks of the day. Planning is integral if you want to achieve your goals – whether they are your life goals or professional goals.

Writing down your goals on a piece of paper or via any online planner tool – gives a kind of tangibility to them.

In your mind, they might just come and go, and you may miss out on some tasks. When you write them down, you can tackle them easily.

Apart from meeting my daily tasks, being a CEO I also have to spend time on meeting the various stakeholders of the company. This may include review meetings with the sales team, marketing team, or tech team. I mostly participate as an observer. I believe in giving enough freedom and space to my teams so that they can perform their level best.

Post review meetings with different teams, I have an hourly discussion with the leadership team and board members. These meetings are not formal. We sometimes discuss these points over a cup of coffee at the nearest shop.

Apart from these regular tasks, I have a habit of reaching out to our partners and clients over a quick video or audio call. I reserve 15 to 30 minutes in a day for this. For me, it is the most productive and efficient way to gather feedback on my company.

It helps me to understand the business more deeply and know the pain points of our clients. After all, at the end of the day, everything boils down to the customer. The feedback I receive from them has a huge impact on my company’s future strategies.

As I shared at the beginning of this blog, I am also an active member of TiE and IAMCP. As a certified speaker and mentor, I train budding startups and entrepreneurs. It usually consumes 4-5 hours of my week.

I try to finish my professional commitments by 7 pm.

The evening – winding down

7:30 PM: After winding up my workday, I reach home by 7:30 pm. After freshening up, I join my family for dinner. It is the time of the day which I spend with my kids. I don’t bring any gadgets or electronics at the dinner table. I like listening to my kids with full attention. They have a lot to share, trust me.

My family – my wife, Kranti and my children are my biggest support. Being a CEO, I have a lot of responsibilities. And she understands this perfectly. There are days when I get immersed in work and miss out on family time. Though rare, such instances cannot be completely ruled out when you have a company to lead.

Despite this, we steal some moments to spend quality time together. I also cook her favourite meals sometimes (to make up for the lost time).

I go to bed by 9:30 pm. To be an early bird, you must go to bed on time. For a peaceful sleep, this is the time when I recall all the happy memories from my childhood or the best moments I spent with my colleagues, friends, and family, during the day.

Gratitude to the almighty is a part of both my morning and night routine.

During any typical day, I also have the habit of noting my achievements – what I achieved yesterday, what I achieved today, and what I plan to achieve tomorrow.

Achievements are what keeps you going in life. Even if it is a small one. A call from a client sharing how ZNet helped them solve a problem or improve profits, is an achievement for me. When my son comes to me and shares his day or things that are troubling him – the trust he has on me is also an achievement.

Weekends

Weekends are something which we all look forward to. It is the time to recharge your energies, pick up a weekend activity, or invest time in learning a new thing. At weekends, mostly on Saturdays, I start my day a bit early. It may sound strange, but for an enthusiastic person like me, weekends are no excuse for staying in bed for longer hours.

I wake up at 4:00 am and plan for longer cycling rides. I also participate in various cycling challenges.

Recently, I completed the Pinkcity trail challenge. The kind of adrenaline rush you experience by being a part of such challenges, cannot be explained in words.

Other time, I plan some outing with my family and run a few errands too. I look forward to spending more time with my family. No matter how successful you are in the business world, if you can’t spend time with your loved times, everything is a waste. Returning home to the smiling faces of my kids and wife takes away all my worries.

Before entering the new week, I create a weekly plan. It helps me have a clear vision of – how my week would look like? If it’s the last weekend of the month, I also make a monthly plan – for a broader view of the month. It may sound tiring but planning works for me. Since the start of my career, planning has helped me reach my goals faster. Most importantly, it helps me move in the right direction.

If you’re a budding entrepreneur or a CEO, I hope that you can take one or two tips from my daily routine. I would also love to know how you spend your day or do something that leads you to achieve better results.

HBR article link: https://hbr.org/2017/10/a-survey-of-how-1000-ceos-spend-their-day-reveals-what-makes-leaders-successful

This article has been penned by Munesh Jadoun, CEO, ZNet Technologies Private Limited. It was first published on munesh.coffee and LinkedIn.
If you too are passionate about something and wish to see your story featured on DHN, please send us a mail to contact@drive.com.
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Life is at its beautiful best when you have a cycle: Musings by a passionate cyclist

I will begin with a quote I read somewhere: Cycling doesn’t add days to my life’ I do it to add life to my days. I’d like to give due credit to the person who said this – cycling has transformed my life completely.

I have been cycling actively for almost 3 years now, I feel like a new me – truly alive, aware of the nature, my surroundings and of course, I met a healthier me. It’s as if I have found a new purpose – my true calling. So, the unhealthy and stressful life when I was spending 18 hours on my desk, is behind me, now.

I’m penning down my thoughts in this article as I know that there are many CXOs out there, working their heads off day and night – just like I did till a few years back. But, my friends, that’s not life. That’s not what life is about – it’s not just work, work & work. I am not going to preach you or anything, but rather would invite you to read this article through to know how cycling has helped me be the best version of myself (CYCLIST MUNESH V1.1 :)) – relax, it’s just 10 minutes read. I hope you’ll find it worth your time.

When I was a young 6-7 years old kid, I used to wonder, why God gave wings only to birds and not us, I too wanted to fly high, feel the freedom. As I grew up, I got my first bicycle and then I realized, cycling is as close to flying as possible – you feel free, your mind feels free and your spirits take flight.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s early morning or late evening, if I am riding a bike, I know I can survive anywhere, overcome obstacles, emerge a winner.

1.  My initial days – cycle set the momentum in my childhood

Back to the story, my first introduction to the bicycle was when I was a young lad. My father, a schoolteacher in a village in Bayana, a small town in the Bharatpur region, in Rajasthan, India, used to take me to my school and to the market on his cycle. While I sat in front, my sister sat at the back of my father’s cycle. In Indian villages, a small straddle is fixed on the cycles to make a place for a small kid to sit in.

I don’t have a snap of back then, but here’s a picture that I got from Google. It resembles our setup a lot.

Image Credit: Google

Then, I outgrew that small seat and my father got a very regular, small, red-colored second-hand bicycle for me as we were not very rich back then. I remember being on cloud nine at that time and I started riding it to school in my 5th grade. I used to ride it to school till I reached my 8th grade. I was so fond of this first bicycle of mine that I learned all about its mechanics – I changed tires myself, did the punctures, cleaned it, maintained it, and even serviced it on all Sundays.

I also used to ride it to bring some small stuff from the market etc. Then, in 10th grade, my school changed as we wanted to avail better educational facilities. I got a second bike, again a second-hand one; it was not a good professional grade bike, but I managed with it, somehow. The roads were also not like today’s smooth roads and I used to ride 15KMS (9.32Miles) almost daily.

The passion for cycling took root there itself. I realized that for me, no bicycle translates to no life.

The scenic village that I explored cycling beside my father in those days, remains etched in my memories even today. It seems like I was in a different dimension back then.

After the village school, I joined college for my graduate studies in Bayana. Since it was far from my village, I and my brother used to stay in a rented accommodation. Here again, I used to ride my bicycle to college every day.

I remember an incident quite vividly. One day, there was a downpour, a torrential one, and the roads that connected Bayana to my village got swept off in heavy rainwater. I had to travel back to the village that day as exams had got over and we had given up the accommodation.

That day, for the first time, I rode 40 KMS (24.8548 Miles) approximately – a big thing, considering the quality of the bike, the roads, and my physical challenges- my right leg has only 30% strength as compared to my left leg. But this has never stopped me – in cycling or in the corporate world.

After all, the more challenging the struggle, the sweeter is the victory. Isn’t it?

2.  Settling in the Corporate World – no time for cycling days

I’ll keep this section shortest for my sake.

From Bayana, I shifted to Jaipur for my higher studies. But during my days in the college, in 4th semester, I realized that this is all theory. I wanted to gain real-world knowledge. I started my hosting business and ZNet Technologies started taking shape while cycling faded away in the backdrop.

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With Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft

This was the time I spent as all other CEOs. Life runs past the CXOs. We eat, sleep, and do all our activities with business and expansion as the topmost priority in our minds. I was no different. I used to eat and sleep at irregular hours and with my regular globetrotting, there was no time for family or hobbies. During this time, my business was uphill, and my mood was downhill.

Soon, my health started taking a nosedive. Even when I was awake and working, I felt that my energy levels were low. Somewhere down the line, I started missing the sunny days, the breeze on my face, the enthusiasm, and energy that I felt when I rode my bicycle. I wanted to feel free again.

After 19 very successful years in business, I decided it was time, I should do something for myself as well. Life should have something more to offer – I had the success, money, power, happiness, but I wanted more from it – the meaning of my being…

3.  The awakening – cycling revives me

And then, I took my first step towards what I think is my meditation, after so many years. Yes, you guessed it right! I decided to start cycling and so, bought a Hercules cycle. My first 6 to 8 months were the hardest, finding out time for a revived hobby, even for riding 5 to 6 KMS, was a challenge. But I persevered and started going out all alone – with my thoughts keeping me the company.

Then I decided I should get into this seriously. I deserve my share of happiness. So, I bought my first professional-grade off-road and on-road bike – a Cannondale Trail 4.

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Then I started joining other people who shared my passion for bicycling. I joined a Vaishali Nagar, Jaipur, India, based group.

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Things started taking a very positive turn and I started riding 50 KMS (31.06 MILES) or more daily. There are many benefits to joining different cycling groups:

  • We learn a lot from each other
  • The importance of security – security gear is an essential part of riding in a group – you got to wear a helmet.
  • We motivate each other during the long rides
  • We keep updated about gear, bikes, and the latest in cycling as a sport
  • It’s a lot more enjoyable than riding solo.

Now, I have a totally different routine. It takes nearly three good morning hours to get ready and go riding for two hours. So, I get up every day at 4:00 AM as, by 5:00 AM, the ride begins.

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But as the CEO of ZNet, I must take care of my official responsibilities as well. And, as most of my colleagues would agree, morning is the best and only time for setting the tone of the day for us. So, I started utilizing my ride time to the fullest by listening to audiobooks.

I consider my time best invested this way as I am able to learn something new daily by listening to audiobooks – they add up to 25-30 hours in a month. I use Blinkist, LinkedIn Learning platform, and more. I have completed 128 book blinks by now.

I plan to write an article on that as well, soon 😉

Sometimes, I listen to songs to refresh my mood. Morning, I feel, is the best time to learn. I plan my day and weeks beforehand so that I get time for everything.

There are various benefits that cycling has helped me gain:

  • I daily learn something new, as stated above
  • It is a good exercise for the complete body – my stamina has increased
  • My stress levels have reduced – I feel energetic and refreshed throughout the day, I don’t get irritated anymore
  • I get to see the most unexplored places – the nature is so so rich in India
  • I get to make new friends
  • I increased my concentration power and focus – when you ride continuously for 100 KMS in 4 hours, you learn to focus

This has made me realize that you need to think big, when you keep a big target, that’s out of your reach, you get the maximum satisfaction on achieving it and then other things become smaller in comparison.

This, I apply in business as well. I keep my targets bigger, and I have realized that my achievement is always bigger.

Now my partner – Sabarinathan Sampath, SVP & COO, ZNet Technologies, has also joined cycling. It has become a joint passion for us. We push each other to the limit. Sometimes, when I feel tired and decide to give it a go, he motivates me. Sometimes, I do, when he is not feeling up to it.

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This shared passion is very important that helps keep us grounded. We don’t want to miss riding even a single day, now. Although, we take a day off because as per medical practitioners, it’s necessary to take a break from exercising and one shouldn’t do it on all days.

Now we have started riding 100 KMS (62.13 MILES) 200 KMS (124.27 MILES) and more.

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Did I mention that I now have a Fuji Gran Fondo – it allows me to go on long rides, ride fast on all roads, at all times. An absolute beauty, I tell you! ?

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And yes, on most of the rides, we stop at different places to have our cuppa – that’s an absolute essential.

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We are also planning an initiative to run a “Cyberfit Cycling Challenge” in India in December or early next year. With COVID-19 crippling people’s movements, a lot of people have taken up cycling to keep them fit. We plan to organize it with Acronis. I’ll keep you posted on the developments.

Now, I’d like to finish this with a few queries that I encounter regularly, due to COVID-19 conditions.

–       Can people wear masks while cycling?

You should not wear a mask when exercising as they may reduce your ability to breathe comfortably. Sweat can make the mask wet and promote the growth of microorganisms, making breathing difficult. The most important measure you can take while cycling or taking up any kind of exercise is to maintain physical distance from each other.

–       Is cycling safe in coronavirus?

Yes, as long as you follow all WHO guidelines, maintain physical distancing, avoid unnecessary contact with others, you can do cycling. It will help increase your immunity, as does any other kind of exercise.

If I was able to invoke some thoughts in you about how you can also lead a healthier life, please feel free to get in touch with me at munesh@znetlive.com or drop me a message here: https://in.linkedin.com/in/muneshjadoun

You can also follow me on https://www.strava.com/athletes/49150198

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We can plan a cycling tour together 🙂

This article has been penned by Munesh Jadoun, CEO, ZNet Technologies Private Limited. It was first published on LinkedIn.
If you too are passionate about something and wish to see your story featured on DHN, please send us a mail to contact@drive.com.