15 Points For Professional and Personal Success From a 34-Year Rep Veteran


Sometimes I get a letter that just knocks me back on me heels because it’s so perceptive and well-written!

I received just such a letter from Steve Anderson, Anderson Agency, Inc. a few days ago. Steve’s manufacturers’ representative company has been a MANA member since 1987.

With Steve’s permission I am reprinting his letter here. I hope you will find it as insightful and inspiring as I did.

Charles Cohon


Dear Charles:

I formed my rep agency approximately 34 years ago at the ripe old age of 27. At that time, and for many reps like me, our youthful, wild-eyed, exuberance gave way to a series of opportunities and challenges that not only established our existence, but also became part of our legacy. I must say that this has been a very fulfilling journey for me during the past 34 years. As I look forward, I realize that there are far more years behind me, than ahead of me in the manufactures representative business.

During the course of the years, all of us have the opportunity to establish the footsteps of our journey and also stand ready to modify those steps as circumstances dictate change. I was sitting in an airport the other day and thought about some of the things that have become distinct parts of my journey along with the reflections of the opportunities and people I have had the good fortune to be a part of. I put together a short list of things that I think about as I reflect both on the years I have been in business and the years that are to be.

  1. Always do more work than those around you expect you will.
  2. Always assume that if you don’t succeed the first time, you probably won’t succeed the second or third time either. What you will learn is not how to fail, but that success comes at the cost of many failures.
  3. Why is it that the other guys business always looks easier than one’s own?
  4. It is always easier to assign blame than it is to take responsibility.
  5. Some of the greatest successes have engaged the largest sacrifices.
  6. People will judge what you do, not what you say.
  7. Opportunities are usually the result of discipline and hard work at some earlier time.
  8. Find a role model that you can share good days with and days that aren’t so good. This person will have a unique ability to help you manage both.
  9. Remember that you will likely never be the first or the last at what you are doing so, lighten up and make it a good day.
  10. Do not let money define your success. Recognize early on that no one who achieves much, did so alone.
  11. Be the first to help and the last to criticize.
  12. Remember each day is 24 hours. In it, some will do incredible things and others will do nothing. Are you able and willing to decide which path will be yours?
  13. There is nothing more worthwhile and yet more difficult than having a good friend. It will test the value of forgiveness and honesty.
  14. Never worry about working too hard, worry about not working hard enough.
  15. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

Anyway, I thought you might find some value for those who are far earlier in their journey in the rep business than I am and that might be of help to them as they begin marking their footsteps.

I have always appreciated being a member of MANA and do applaud your entire team on the great articles and the professionalism that your group emulates.

Steve Anderson

Steven E. Anderson
Anderson Agency, Inc.
3370-A Annapolis Lane North
Plymouth, MN 55447