The Key to Business Expansion - Who Do You Know?
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Author: Danielle Putnam | November 12th, 2021

The Key to Business Expansion - Who Do You Know?

In an interview with Jack Mates, former President and CEO of Velcro USA, Jack was asked the question: “How did you sell Velcro to five billion people?” The obvious question, the question we all want to know…or in layman’s terms, “How did you invent such a simple product and market it in a way that the whole world grabbed a hold of it and said ‘yes, we want this’?” or “How did you become such an overnight success?”

Jack’s response, “We didn’t…”

“We simply sold Velcro to five people.”

Capture the leaders, and corner the market.

Jack knew that it would take forever to discover and sell everyone in the world on the many uses of this ingenious material, so he and his team set their sights on selling only five specific individuals; the heads of the automotive, medical, aerospace, fashion, and furniture industries.

In other words, he captured the leaders, and then allowed them to corner their individual markets. In turn, they discovered the applications for the product, and sold it to the ultimate consumers.

Velcro USA sounds like a larger than life, easy success story because everyone in today’s society has experienced using the product. Whether on their shoes before they could tie laces, or a one-size-fits-all uniform cap. But Velcro began as a small start-up, facing challenges and rejection…like many of us in the service business.

Jack experienced mortgaging his home so he could make payroll—the pressures of being a business leader that many of us know all too well. There were many years of trial and error before they got their product fine-tuned and their five ambassadors to start singing their praises. So, in hindsight, the only reason they are the success story they are today is because they simply wouldn’t give up; they didn’t quit.

Is it true? That fortune favors the brave?

Be brave. It’s time to get involved. It’s time to embrace new.

Which leads me to the success equation Jack cites from a friend of his who interviewed hundreds of business leaders, asking them where their success came from:

(P+T) x A x A = Success

In English: (Passion + Talent) x Associations x Action = Success

Are you in the service industry because you’re passionate about it? Are you passionate about being a true craftsman, working with your hands, and making things better when you leave than they were when you arrived? Perhaps you’re passionate about building great companies…and you’re talented.

So, who are your associations?

Please allow me to introduce you to Women in HVACR.

In 2012, I remember walking around a Comfortech trade show hall and passing a doorway with a sign that read “Women in HVACR.” As I slowed my pace and peered through the door while pretending to be on an important mission and casually glancing their way, I saw the table rounds and a small gathering of women. Instantly, my mind hollered, “Wait, I’m a woman; if this is Women in HVACR, why wasn’t I invited?” The next year, I made sure to be in attendance. I’d looked them up and signed up for the meeting. I took action.

Those were the early years for me. I was two years into our start up, The New Flat Rate, and a new member of Women in HVACR. The mantra, ‘do it and do it afraid,’ rang freely through my mind as I practiced getting involved, joining the WHVACR board, and finding my voice. Who was I to talk about serving our industry? I was co-founder with my dad in our little start up, I didn’t have a track record of success in the industry to inflate my ego with. No, instead I simply sought to understand; I listened, engaged, and associated myself with the women leaders of our industry.

I joined the WHVACR board in 2013, and it was only a few years later that as a group, we boldly decided to break away from the Comfortech show as the host of our annual conference and to branch out on our own. The ‘build it, and they will come’ was top of mind, mixed with sheer terror and fear towards the unknown. But together, that group of women from all facets of the industry, blazed a trail.

I later became Treasurer and the Vice President, President, and Immediate Past President of the organization, and today I serve on the Advisory Board of Directors as a Past President.

Women in HVACR is a non-profit organization with the support of industry tycoons across the spectrum. Our meet and greet events, annual business conference, and industry platforms have become a force. We provide scholarships to women seeking a career in the trades, and an ambassador program that sends ambassadors into the schools across the US and Canada to promote careers in HVAC and support local efforts. The good and the growth of this organization is too large for me to type in this short note…so I’ll harp on this: who are your associations? My best friends in this industry, my top connections, the people I would call for help in a bind, they are women from Women in HVACR. This is a powerful tribe, and it is my pleasure to introduce you to them; they’re truly making a difference.

If you’re going to capture the leaders and corner your market, you may find some of those leaders within Women in HVACR.

Fast forward to 2021, and I’m delighted to be associated with OPTIMUS Financing. The New Flat Rate is a menu pricing system with five price options for homeowners to choose from on any repair or replacement - using technology to automate the sales process on a service call. We are working with OPTIMUS to provide homeowner financing opportunities on repairs and replacements. It’s about giving the customers what they want, whether you have it or not, and taking the sales pressure out of the equation and paving the way for free will, for choice. It’s allowing homeowners to choose the level of service they truly want, and one that fits their budget. Paired with OPTIMUS, the financing will take their budgetary relief to the next level. That’s why we embrace the future; we embrace technology.

Because homeowners are going to get what they want…we need to be the ones providing it to them.

To learn more about The New Flat Rate and demo the fastest growing menu pricing system that is being used today in all 50 states and four provinces of Canada, simply request a demo by visiting

Book Recommendation and the inspiration for the Velcro story: Three Feet from Gold, Sharon Lechter & Dr. Greg Reid with The Napoleon Hill Foundation

Danielle Putnam is the President of The New Flat Rate and recognized by ACHR the NEWS as a Top 40 Under 40, she is the 2021 Woman of the Year by Service World Expo and Service Nation Alliance, and a proud wife and mother of her three young children. Danielle is passionate about working with business owners to increase the cash flow in their business so they can grow from a position of strength. Danielle can be reached by email or phone 706-259-8892.