I am Al Harlow and for more than 20 years, I have helped a lot of businesses increase sales and improve operational efficiency. I’ve also owned my own companies and have enjoyed working with clients as a consultant. I have a passion for developing products and businesses, improving efficiencies and opening up new sales opportunities by making products and services that make life better.
Some of my most rewarding experiences have come from helping companies and individuals realize their potential with the implementation of simple tools and techniques. Many times we already have the tools available and need only to know how to leverage them for our benefit.
Whether it is working with entire organizations or coaching individuals, I love improving productivity with my easy-to-use toolset. In my current businesses, we find easy ways to doing just about anything technically complicated. I take pride in my individual capacity for working smart and I’m not talking about taking shortcuts or compromising quality. I’m talking about embracing the “Work smarter not harder” philosophy.
I started the Click IT Group to allow me to share my knowledge and expertise. I developed as an entrepreneur starting with cutting lawns in the neighborhood and stringing tennis rackets as a kid, to what I'm doing now. Along the journey, I have also acquired many patents and trademarks and built numerous successful companies from the ground up, employing hundreds of people over a span of more than 30 years. These businesses were started simply by having an idea, belief or notion I could do something better and make money at it while doing something good and helpful to others. Having the idea is one thing. Having the guts, stamina, and vision to take action and see it through is another.
Business Owner, Creator & Entrepreneur
I have forged, pioneered, conceived and built systems, products and services that have solved industrial, consumer, technical and business problems. I am a driven, passionate and thoughtful leader, who is results-oriented, with not only the 30,000-foot view but also a willingness to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty. My career has been spent forming new businesses around these inventive products and services. My recent focus has been in delivering superior I-T products and services under the umbrella company, Click IT Group, Inc.
My first company I formed sold premiums and advertising specialties, where I pioneered magazine subscription gift offers, working with Penwell Publishing. PMSI is now "one of the country’s largest and fastest growing promotional merchandising facilities".
Inventor of the EZ Mailbox Tray, I also was instrumental in developing a low-cost plastic rural mailbox which revolutionalized the industry. As a manufacturer, EZ Mail Corp. sold products to Home Depot, Lowes, Target, Kmart, Ames, Builders Square and was a dominant innovator until the company was sold to Flambeau, where I was brought on as this company's Products Manager overseeing 8 divisions.
I then began a new company with the idea of automating the painting of plastic parts in manufacturing, which was typically a manual process and very labor intensive as I discovered watching duck decoys being hand-painted at Flambeau. Eventually, the company built automated painting machines for manufacturers worldwide, working closely with PPG. We built the machinery and controls for the entire painting process that robotically painted everything from large Provost buses in Canada to small Samsung cell phones in Texas. We also built simple painting machines, like one I built for Delco Automotive in Rochester, NY (later ITT Automotive), for daubing paint onto the windshield wiper motor housings, where the tabs were bent and aesthetically looked bad unless painted. (For years we sold the sponges for those machines which essentially paid our phone bill every month.) Another painting machine I invented and developed, was the Panel Painter, where these industrial machines built here in the U.S. were shipped to China. - See Videos here.
I next went on to build a new online web application which has helped thousands of graduates find their first job out of school. It is now licensed by hundreds of college and university career centers nationwide.
Before establishing CareerShift with a partner, I formed a web development and hosting support organization called iNamics which, at its peek, had 16 employees focused on developing and supporting, for CareerShift and other organizations, their DotNet web applications.
Projects at iNamics ranged from building entire production and web-based sales systems to e-commerce solutions that earned and increased profits for business owners and shareholders, for which I also won several awards. Some of the companies which benefited from my work included LakeTran, Har Adhesives, Recon Logistics and Sedona Office.
In 2012, I took all my experience and know-how in the tech industry and have poured it into Click IT. After we built a retail location in downtown Chagrin Falls, I formed a group to focus attention on each specialization in technology. Today I focus mostly on web site creation and web presence, such as in SEO/SEM/SMM for a handful of customers. I work to bring new business into the store and am working towards franchising the concept behind Click IT, which is I-T services and support for small organizations. We have a good group of technicians and management at the store, and I feel confident about the future in providing these type of services, especially in light of the recent ransomware attacks. Along these lines, we have recently launched Click IT Secure, a complete proactive solution to thwart these type of attacks on the IT infrastructures of smaller networks. (Watch the video.)
I have been good at startups and running small companies. I know how to build and manage a team and what it takes to drive projects with the skills, know-how, and expertise to succeed. I also, from experience, know the pitfalls and how to avoid them.
What It Takes To Succeed
Forming new companies doing innovative things such as those I have built is hard. It is not for those who need a steady income and for the most part, it is not easy. But it can be very rewarding. When things don't quite work out as you planned, as they often do in early stage organizations, in my opinion from my own experience, the best entrepreneur is flexible, willing and able to refocus their efforts where success or an easier path is discovered.
An enterprise pursuit typically does best with a written specification of your idea, with tasks outlined in a structured business plan, including a method for motivating all the players and attracting investors. I have typically hired and managed a systematically-driven, small team under my direction, to a successful and smooth exit.
If you think speaking with me might benefit you or what you're doing, let's talk. Click here to schedule a conference.