Good Business Conduct

The vast majority of the articles that appear in RodMaker pertain to new methods and techniques. Nuts and bolts “how-to” stuff. Realizing, however, that many builders sell their rods and are thus businessmen as well, we have and will continue to run articles pertaining to the business side of custom rod building.

We’ve done quite a bit with the Federal Sportfishing Excise Tax, business licensing and state and local ordinances. Back in Volume 8, issues 3, 4 and 5, we ran a very comprehensive and in-depth series of articles on Pricing Custom Rods.  This included a segment on how to accurately figure the real cost of building a rod (it’s more than just your component parts), what builders across North America are actually charging and getting for their rods, and what cosmetics and custom enhancements fishermen are actually willing to pay for. It remains one of the most popular article series we’ve done in RodMaker thus far.

While pricing inquiries top the list of the business related questions received, questions about business competition and tactics are not far behind. Many relate to the modern use of the internet and what they feel has become a stomping ground for builders wishing to undermine other builders by untruthful comments or outright mudslinging on the myriad number of fishing forums around these days. Sadly, it has become a sign of the times we live in.

The answer, however, doesn’t require an article.  It’s short, simple, to the point and guaranteed to work every time.  In the event you find yourself on the end of negative, untruthful comments or a viscous mudslinging campaign, do nothing. That’s right – do absolutely nothing.  The average consumer is rarely swayed by mudslinging and most will turn away from those doing the slinging. In fact, businesspersons who participate in such unprofessional conduct  are committing business suicide – they’re just not savvy enough to realize it until it’s too late. So as hard as it may be, bide your time and keep your mouth shut. All will end well.

Finally, under no circumstances ever berate or criticize a competitor. You wouldn’t do business with anyone that engages in poor or unethical conduct and neither will your customers. Remember, “All the world’s a stage” and your public conduct, good or bad, creates your professional reputation in the eyes of potential customers.

Tom Kirkman



  1. Raymond Adams on September 8, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Recently my own personal experience proves every word said above is right on the money! I had read this blog entry before hand and didn’t have the sence to follow it’s advice.

    I won’t make that mistake again!

  2. Ken P on October 6, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I saw Tom’s name thrown into something on a forum that he had nothing to do with. I respect his ability to stay out of the fray and not stoop to the juvenile conduct so many were taking part in.