This is an interview with Bob Newstrom, CEO at Arrow Lift
What’s your story?
After serving in the United States Air Force for several years, I started my professional career as a financial analyst for a public utility company in Minnesota. While there, I learned many important business fundamentals from some incredibly gracious mentors.
From a young age, I’d always had an interest in running a small business, and that opportunity presented itself in 1985 when I was approached to start and lead a Durable Medical Equipment company. That company evolved into what we now know as Arrow Lift.
Over the past 35 years, we’ve built a second-generation, family-owned business, with our three sons (Andy, Joe & Pete) and our dear friend and talented business partner, Brian Nichols (and his 25+ years of industry experience). Arrow Lift is truly blessed with a deeply talented group of professionals!
Our on-going investment in processes, systems and up to date tools to support our talented professionals places us at the forefront of our industry and provides an exciting work environment for our team!
What exactly does your company do and who benefits from the service?
Arrow Lift provides accessibility lift and home elevator solutions with supporting services that minimize the impact of mobility challenges and improve the lifestyle of our customers.
The solutions we provide primarily fall into one of 3 categories:
- Stairlifts – Our stairlifts are the simplest, quickest and most common way that we help people with mobility challenges stay in the home that they love. Without any structural changes to the home, we can often provide access to previously inaccessible spaces within days.
- Home Elevators – Our home elevators enhance the convenience, functionality and usability of the home. For many clients, this ensures that when they build their home that they, their guests and their loved ones will always have full access to it, regardless of any age or mobility concerns. For others, this is simply a great way to transport themselves, their luggage and groceries!
- Commercial Accessibility Lifts – Our Vertical Wheelchair Lifts and LULA (Limited Use Limited Application) Elevators allow businesses, schools and places of worship to meet ADA requirements, solve accessibility problems and create a more user-friendly environment.
Our basic process is as follows:
- We begin by listening and learning what our customers want and need.
- We simplify decision-making by defining applicable options to achieve the goals and provide advice.
- We work to bring the choices from concept to completion.
Our belief is that each opportunity to serve can lead to a fruitful and enjoyable relationship. We love serving our customers by building these healthy, caring relationships!
What makes you unique?
When it comes to the way we do business at Arrow Lift, we make a concerted effort to do things differently than our competition.
We pride ourselves on being customer-focused, which to us means having multiple options to meet our clients’ unique needs, rather than trying to use a “one size fits all” approach. Having access to many different suppliers allows us to customize each scenario and provide the solution that best meets our clients’ needs.
In addition, our approach to service and on-going maintenance is distinctly proactive. Many businesses in our industry treat service as a nuisance or distraction from the main task of installing new lifts.
At Arrow Lift, service is our top priority. Our full-time service department is staffed by dedicated technicians, whose sole purpose is to provide service support for our clients. We offer planned maintenance programs designed to keep lift and elevator equipment performing at peak levels. By offering a choice of service plan options, our clients can select the plan that best suits their needs.
What are you most excited about for the future of your company?
Over the past 35 years, we have seen a pattern of our team learning hard-earned lessons, followed by healthy growth. Recently, the learning speed of our team has accelerated in many fundamental ways. These lessons are positioning our organization for substantial growth – both Qualitative and Quantitative. The growth of our team members individually and collectively makes us optimistic about future opportunities and the ability to expand our service!
Do you have core values at your company? If so, what are they and how do they impact your business operations?
Our culture is a key component of what makes us successful. We’ve built our company’s foundation on three key pillars that we refer to as the Trinity of Service:
- Honorably Serve Customers as we would like our loved ones to be served. This will lead to greater opportunities!
- Purposefully Value Coworkers as we would appreciate loved ones to be valued. This will lead to long-term, fruitful relationships!
- Diligently Respect our Organization in a manner that strengthens it. This will improve our ability to serve our customers, coworkers and other stakeholders!
What are some stats that help showcase the impact your company has?
- Longevity: We are a second-generation family-owned business that has been in the accessibility lift and home elevator industry for 35 years.
- Experience: We have installed over 10,000 stairlifts, home elevators, and wheelchair lifts over the past 35 years, and have experience maintaining and repairing equipment from every major manufacturer.
- Growth: We began in one small office and currently serve 8 states from 12 locations.
- Customer Satisfaction: Our customers give us an average satisfaction rating of 9.3 out of 10… and we work hard each day to improve upon that!
If you could give your clients one piece of advice, what would you say?
Do your research before you buy. As with many specialized industries that provide technical solutions, safety and quality varies significantly in our industry.
- Most of our equipment carries people – including your loved ones. Make sure that the solutions and services are delivered by qualified, honorable professionals.
- Value in our industry includes on-going service to ensure safety, reliability and longevity of the solution provided.
- Relationships are the core of delivering value. We cherish our relationships with our clients and strive to become a trusted partner, who can provide ongoing support when needed.
We believe that trusting relationships are earned by consistently living timeless values, such as:
- “Say what you will do and do what you say you will!”
- Respect customers, coworkers and suppliers like loved ones.
- Own our mistakes and make them right.
At the end of the day, all we have is our word. At Arrow Lift, we still believe that means something!