Small Changes and “Trifling Matters”

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA

“Some may think these trifling matters not worth minding, but they should remember that human felicity is produced by little advantages that occur every day.” — Benjamin Franklin

What did Franklin mean? One example dates back to the days when America was still a British colony.

Streets were lit at night by oil lamps, with the flame protected from the wind by blown glass globes. Franklin observed two issues with that practice:

  1. Breakage was a problem because blown glass globes had to be imported from England, a time-consuming and costly process.
  2. Soot from the flame darkened the globes, reducing the illumination they provided.

Franklin designed a replacement for the globes with four panes of flat glass. When street lamps were damaged, flat glass to repair them was readily available. His design also left an open chimney at the top to let soot escape before the glass was darkened.

I can share two more modern examples of small changes from MANA’s journey to advance the professionalism and use of independent manufacturers’ representatives:

  1. By capturing statistical data from searches in MANA’s RepFinder® database, we now send quarterly emails to rep members to let them know how many times their firm appeared in the results of RepFinder® searches.
  2. We had so many best practices resources available to reps and manufacturers that finding the resources they needed was challenging for our members. So VP & GM Jerry Leth curated our resources to let members view our most important online resources.
  • For reps, “Steps to Rep Professionalism.”
  • For manufacturers, “Steps to Selling Through Independent Reps.”

Little changes like these can be just as important to MANA members as breakthroughs like MANA’s launch of the first rep search smartphone app.

What kinds of small changes could you make that would make a big difference to your customers or partners?

Do you have an example to share? Reach out to me by email at with the details.

Charles Cohon, CPMR, is CEO and president of MANA. In 2016 Cohon earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation after completing American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) coursework and testing. Cohon also earned an MBA with honors and with concentrations in strategic management and entrepreneurship from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and was founder and owner of a very successful Illinois manufacturers’ representative firm for nearly 30 years before joining MANA.

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Fill in these details and we’ll send you a link to run a FREE trial manufacturer search!


Prefer not to share your info? Go directly to MANA’s LineFinder® database without registering!