By Jason Goldberg
I get asked all the time, “How did you do it? How did you build and continue to grow a successful flooring business?”
Here are some of the keys:
Be prepared to sacrifice
You will have to sacrifice things that are important to you in order to build your business. Starting and building a business is not only hard work but also mentally taxing. You cannot half-ass it. If you want to have a chance of being successful, be prepared to sacrifice things that are important to you—things like family time, doing things you like, etc. If you are unwilling to make sacrifices, you probably won’t be as successful as you could have been or may not be successful at all.
I made many sacrifices to start America’s Floor Source. I sacrificed family relationships. I sacrificed time with my friends. I sacrificed material things like the home I owned and the nice car I drove. Both were sold so I could have money for the business and keep my monthly expenses low. I lived in an inexpensive apartment in a not-so-nice area of town and drove a $500 used pick-up truck.
Build a strong team
This is actually the single-most important piece of the equation. If you want to build and grow a great organization, it starts with great people. They don’t need to be great initially, but they need to have the right characteristics so you can guide, help and teach them to become great. One of the biggest mistakes I see other entrepreneurs make is trying to do everything themselves. You cannot grow a great organization by doing everything yourself. There simply isn’t enough time in a day and eventually you will plateau. You will never be able to grow a large business without that great team who you empower with responsibility and accountability.
Develop a sales strategy
Without sales you have no business. And it’s not just any sale, it’s the type of sale you want for your company. Where do you want to play? Do you want to do builder, apartment, wholesale, retail or commercial work? Do you want to do multiple combinations? You have to develop people, techniques and systems to properly go after and handle the type of business you want.
Institute standard operating procedures
The bigger you get, the more standardized your systems, processes and procedures need to be. This is of vital importance. Great systems, processes and procedures allow you to have a standardized way to achieve a consistent result. I cannot tell you the number of companies I talk with where they simply don’t have this, which leads to everyone doing things whatever way they want. That might work when you are smaller, but it will never allow you to reach the pinnacle of success. In my opinion, even small companies should have well laid out systems, processes and procedures. The earlier you start, the easier it becomes.
I spend an immense amount of time building and refining the system, processes and procedures that make AFS run smoothly. We could never do the business we do now without them.
Manage your leads
This is actually just combining the importance of making sales with the importance of having a great system. A great lead management system helps you with both. I speak with dealers all the time who want better ways to market yet have no system to manage their leads. It’s baffling that they cannot understand the management of leads is the more important piece of this equation. If you spend $5,000 a month to generate leads and yet have no idea who is handling what leads, what stage in the process they are in, close rates, etc., you are throwing away money.
I’m relentless when it comes to lead management. We use it in every division of the company. It’s one of the key reasons for our massive success.
Build, maintain a referral business
There are hundreds of things that are important in running and growing your business—too many for me to list. But let me leave you with one more: repeat and referral business. Great companies have an abundance of repeat and referral business. This is not by accident. Giving customers great experiences so they want to buy from you again and tell their friends is what we should all be striving for.
Jason Goldberg is the CEO of America’s Floor Source, a $100 million flooring retailer with multiple locations in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.