Jan 18/25; Volume 30/Number 15
By Scott Perron
The International Surface Event in Las Vegas begins this week and the industry is geared up for another jam-packed week with hundreds of manufacturers, distributors and brokers selling their wares, showcasing new products for the coming year and capitalizing on a massive audience of dealers, installers, designers and architects.
Attendees will be lined up by the thousands to see the latest offerings, eager to find new selections to help them meet their sales goals. Show staff tells me that registration is very strong and this year’s event is firing on all cylinders as our chosen profession comes off another promising year of growth.
Most important is the education program, which is full of speakers covering a wide variety of topics unrivaled in any regional, mill-aligned or buying group event based on sheer size and scope of information.
My seminar this year, “Exponential Business Growth: How Retailers Can Maximize Sales While Minimizing Overhead,” will be presented Thursday, Jan. 21, at 3:45 p.m. I am not showcasing any of the great teachings afforded me by my mentors or focusing primarily on a single subject such as advertising. Instead I have chronicled actual experiences of our journey building a brand new company from the ground up, which started as an experiment and opened in October 2014.
This presentation is about our attempt to dispel the theory that retail flooring has only a standard model that cannot withstand gross deviation. We decided if it worked we would use it as the basis to build a platform that others could enjoy, allowing them to enter into a career where they have the ability to prosper while being their own boss.
How? By using a non-traditional showroom that is open by appointment only and relies solely on hunting or referral marketing to build the vast majority of its business. For many of you who have sat behind a retail desk for several years this may sound like a godsend, right?
If you want more details, our location is a 9,300-square-foot metal warehouse with a 16- x 30-foot showroom with one office, two bathrooms and a loading dock. We are located in an industrial park off the beaten path. Our staff consisted of three full-time employees—including myself—and one part-time salesperson for all of 2015. Using a shop-at-home model we entered the market in Q4 of 2014 and managed to close $143,000 in sales by December. Profit margin finished in the low 30s but based on our low cost of overhead we actually made a net profit in our first three months.
In 2015 we grew sales to just shy of $800,000, increasing margins to the upper 30s and after expenses—including 8.9% for personnel, 4.7% for occupancy, 2.8% for advertising, among many others—we put 16.9% in the WTL column which makes up all owner’s benefits, management fees and net profit dollars. These results are giving us the ability to invest in the areas we feel are most important to us in our infancy which include marketing, controlled inventory and efficient systems for making the process simple for customers, vendors and staff.
Although there are many other types of companies that make millions we feel strongly that this concept is one that will grow in 2016 and beyond. If you want to join us for more information on why and how this model can be successful and what is next in flooring retail, register at tisewest.com.