After 15 years of working in a consulting group, Jeff Rosenblatt was looking for a change. A big change. Jeff began to feel uninspired about his work — which affected nearly every aspect of his life. He knew he wanted something different, but wasn’t really sure what.
Then one day, through his accountant, he met the owner of Keyport Lock — a specialty lock distributor that focuses on anti-theft products, parts and accessories for locksmiths and the trailer and RV industries — and he was looking to retire. Selling these products seemed like an interesting opportunity to Jeff, because to him, they’re “something you can actually touch.”
A few months after this serendipitous meeting, Jeff took over and became the owner of Keyport Lock. Switching gears and changing professions was just the challenge that Jeff needed to transform his life. For the past 18 months, Jeff has been the owner of Keyport Lock and takes pride in continuing to grow the business.
BMO and Your Financial Life sat down with Jeff to pick his brain about what drives his business. Here’s what he had to say…
Advice for other business owners
Being a business owner is no easy feat — it takes a lot of hard work, dedication and perseverance, through good times and bad.
As a small business owner, Jeff says, “It’s important to really understand the market you are going into and your competition,” adding that you need to “understand who you are as a company and who you want to be in the market.”
How BMO supports his business
“BMO set us up with a loan to get us started,” explains Jeff. “They really helped finance the transition and get us up and running.” Through BMO’s support, Jeff successfully took over Keyport Lock and started to grow the business.
“There is one person that really has been taking care of us… they’ve really been a huge help for us when we needed things done,” he says.
On being a business leader
For Jeff, company culture is a huge component of running a successful business. As a business leader, Jeff strives to create a culture based on teamwork, togetherness and, most importantly, an open-door policy.
Through his leadership, Jeff works closely with his employees in a collaborative spirit — and not one based on hierarchies.
On growing his business
Keyport Lock has been around for more than 40 years, and Jeff wants to continue growing the business and create a niche in his industry.
“We’re in the midst of really trying to carve out a space for us in our market, and in five years, we want to be doing a lot more volume,” he says.
Jeff understands the importance of catering your business to your customers and meeting them where they are, explaining that it’s especially important to “bring in new products that satisfy part of the market.”
On feeling successful, after initial growing pains
Keyport Lock has been around since 1970, so it has a rich history in the community and with its customers. After Jeff stepped in as the owner, some customers and clients were nervous about the new kid on the block.
In his first few weeks in business, Jeff lost a long-time client of Keyport Lock who had reservations about the new ownership.
But in time, Jeff was able to prove his loyalty and commitment to the business and got them back as a client. Jeff recalls the initial growing pains of taking over the business; however, this experience was his first taste of success — and one that keeps him committed to the company and his customers.
Check out KeyportLock.com or stop by 1625 Chabanel St. West, suite 482, Montreal, Qc. H4N 2S7.
Looking for more business inspiration? Meet more entrepreneurs in our Small Business Spotlight series.