Are you willing to take a risk?
The biggest challenge for Grazi has been transferring conventional subscribers to the trunked UHF system.
Investing in the stock market is a gamble. So is updating your business plan. But sometimes these things need to be done. Sometimes businesses need to head down a new road filled with more opportunities in the name of growth.
Jeff Grazi of Grazi Communications in Denver, took that gamble. Grazi added UHF trunking to his business portfolio because he believed there were new opportunities for growth in that field compared to his conventional repeaters, paging and communications consulting services. In the October 2000 issue of MRT, Grazi wrote an article describing how his company had made UHF trunking profitable. In the article, he discussed licensing, technology and infrastructure problems he had faced when he started providing UHF trunking service. Since that article, Grazi has faced more challenges. After all, no one said taking a gamble was easy.
First of all, growth is slow. Don’t start your UHF trunking venture thinking that you will see the money flow within two weeks, or even a month. After three years Grazi Communications is still expanding its system. It is currently moving into Colorado Springs, CO. While growth has been slow in the two-way industry, Grazi hopes this new expansion will generate more growth in subscribers, both new and conventional, who turn to trunked UHF.
The biggest challenge for Grazi has been transferring conventional subscribers to the trunked UHF system. It’s difficult to get customers to switch when the original equipment they have is already paid for, whereas when they switch over to a trunked system, they have to buy all new equipment. Most conventional equipment is not compatible.
“If it wasn’t for the expense of switching,” Grazi said, “people would move over quicker.”
An unforeseen problem has recently manifested for Grazi in his new venture. He discovered that some equipment that claims to be compatible isn’t — namely portables and mobiles. A couple of weeks ago a customer had bought some equipment that purported to be compatible, but wasn’t. Now, as a lesson learned, Grazi is careful about what equipment is supposed to do and what it actually does.
One other note to make on equipment is cost. Controlling equipment is more expensive and more complicated to maintain than the conventional equipment.
Overall, Grazi is glad he ventured into the UHF trunking business. He was surprised at first that the return on investment wasn’t immediate, but says eventually he will see a profit (in about two more years). “It’s kind of like the stock market. You don’t take your money out if stocks go down because you realize eventually it will pay off,” Grazi said. “I felt like this was the next frontier for technology and I wanted to get a head start,” Grazi said.
If you have changed your business strategy or have found a new use for a traditional product, please email your story to Kari Taylor, associate editor, at [email protected].