The proverbial road to success is hardly a linear one. Every few thousand miles or so, it requires the traveler to pull out a map to better gauge the path that’s been followed and to see which options—or forks in the road—lie ahead.
For Jim Loffler, that map turned out to be the book “Traction” by Gino Wickman, the creator of the Entrepreneurial Operating System, which was aimed at enabling executives to get a better grip on their business. The work proved to be a turning point for both Loffler and his dealership, Bloomington, Minnesota-based Loffler Companies.
“The company had grown so much that we were outgrowing the way that we’d done things,” said Loffler, a 2021 ENX Magazine Difference Maker. “Traction gave us a great roadmap on how to think about and manage the business for the future.”
It’s been quite a journey for Loffler since he and his wife Darcy debuted the company in 1986 from the comfort of their garage. But becoming an office technology dealer required a circuitous route. Loffler had longed to be a singer or an actor, but once he and Darcy married, they wanted to start a family. The rigors of being a performer weren’t conducive to the family life they envisioned.
Early on, Loffler excelled at selling shoe forms and was the top salesperson at the company. But when his father befriended a salesman in the dictation equipment space, Jim Loffler managed to secure a sales job with the firm and began a 10-year odyssey of offering dictation machines and office equipment. Hanging his own shingle, however, proved to be a turning point.
It’s never been about the money for Loffler. He gleans satisfaction from helping his clients and employees attain their objectives and enjoy success. Loffler’s quest for success begins with being receptive to ideas.
“I’ve spent my entire career listening to people and what they need, and always striving to be innovative, to know what the next piece of technology or service is that we can provide to clients,” he said. “I’m always watching for and adapting to best practices and pursuing new opportunities in all aspects of our business. Perhaps most importantly, I am committed to surrounding myself with good people, professionally and personally.”
One of Loffler’s greatest hires came in the form of Don Tremblay, a retired Xerox veteran who arrived just as the dealer was taking that big step from small to mid-sized dealer. Tremblay’s wealth of industry knowledge and business leadership were instrumental in the company graduating to its next phase, and he proved invaluable to Loffler on a personal level.
“Don influenced me by exposing Loffler Companies to new business opportunities, professionalism and friendship,” Loffler added.
The company was named a Top Workplace by the Star Tribune, an honor voted on by employees who understood many of the difficult decisions Loffler needed to make during this difficult period. But the future is more than a little promising: a new corporate headquarters will open its doors next spring.
The new, state-of-the-art facility will cater to an innovative, hybrid work experience that Loffler feels will set a standard for the industry, not to mention his company’s next 35 years of growth. The facility is situated on a bike trail and along Minneapolis’ light rail line, which will provide enhanced commuting options. The building itself—a modern, open-concept work center—will house a gym/workout center, bike parking and repair facilities, yoga studio, golf simulator, photography and video studio, coffee and wine bar, among other amenities.
Time to Grow
But it will be the team members inside that enable continued success for Loffler, and he hopes to continue teaching and building young leaders and the next generation of difference makers. “I believe by educating, inspiring, developing people and creating life-long career opportunities, we’re building the future of the company,” he observed.
Darcy and Jim Loffler have two children, James (now the company president) and Danielle, who both work at the family business. They have six grandchildren who also bring much joy and fun into their lives. On the hobby and interest side, Loffler enjoys all genres of music, cooking, boating, golfing and photography.