Link Electronics - Jackson, MO
- Published: Monday, Oct. 21, 2019
When Patricia and David Kendall bought a struggling electronics company in March 2016, they saw an opportunity to build a new empire. Link Electronics opened in 1989 in Jackson, Missouri, offering quality technology to the broadcast industry. The original owners developed a strong reputation for customer service, but after years of work, the company was on the verge of going under. The Kendalls, who are from the area, decided to revive the business.
As a manufacturer of broadcast equipment, Link Electronics produces more than two hundred audio and video products and applications. Their market spans across the United States and abroad. It has even grown into being a family business, employing the children and grandchildren of the couple. "We all had our own careers and lived all over the place, and this company brought us all home," said Tricia McRae, National Sales Manager and daughter of the Kendalls.
Saving a sinking business, however, is complicated. The Kendalls didn’t know where to start. Everything was outdated, the technology was obsolete, and many products had parts that were no longer in production. They found they needed to assess what they could and couldn’t do with the company. The couple needed to find a way to introduce new technology and restore relevance. During the first year, David reached out to the Missouri Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, MO for guidance in getting the company’s head above water and keeping it alive. When McRae joined the group, Link Electronics started getting more help from Jacob Pallesen, Center Director, and the rest of the team.
"That was when we knew we were going to succeed, everything was going to be great. We just didn’t know what we could do to get better," expressed McRae.
Pallesen got started right away in introducing them to new programs, like GrowthWheel and Economic Gardening. The Link Electronics team was able to work with different groups through SBDC and learn strategies to help them in every area of their business. They looked at marketing to make sure they were targeting the right locations and discussed sales tactics so that they could grow. For McRae, this was confirmation that they were already moving in the right direction.
"A lot of companies fail because they don’t know what’s out there to help them grow and point them in the right direction," McRae said.
While Link Electronics is still a small business, it is growing rapidly. Despite exporting to broadcasters from all over the world, the company still employs only two salespeople. "Jacob and his team have always been so understanding of our time constraints and the fact that we have so many things going on," McRae said. Phone calls, emails, questions, and tech support leaves everyone at the company wearing different hats, and SBDC has kept up with it all. Pallesen has constantly given the business new information, and is aware of when they’ve hit a target and need to move on to the next step- it’s not just the same programs and ideas, but innovative concepts and plans.
"They don’t just throw the same stuff at us- they keep it fresh and keep us on our toes," McRae explained.
SBDC has been working with Link Electronics regularly for over a year now and they have seen nothing but growth. McRae now has partners and resellers in Canada, which she found through the SBDC’s help and guidance. They’re building a strong company with talented employees and are staying on top of innovative and new technology. Everyone at Link Electronics has different skills and the SBDC helped them grow and expand what they already knew.
"Jacob is part of our team. He’s just as much part of our team as any of our other employees," McRae said. "SBDC is an integral part of us growing. They’ve really helped us out and pointed us in the right direction. They’re not doing the work for us, but they’re giving us those little bits of knowledge."