(Second of two parts)
By Jason Goldberg
In Part I of this column, I outlined several key tips to running a successful flooring operation. These included committing to customer satisfaction; tracking and managing every lead; and hiring, empowering and rewarding your team accordingly. In the second installment, we identify four additional best practices:
Identify and develop specialists within your team. To continue growing and becoming more and more profitable, any company—especially a flooring company—is most likely going to need to strategically diversify. Whether you diversify by offering more products and services or you choose to pursue different audiences, you can’t expect all of your people to do all these different things or satisfy all these different audience types.
To accomplish these diverse tasks, you need people who are either already specialized in certain areas or willing and able to develop those specializations. It’s unrealistic to expect the same salesperson to satisfy retail customers, homebuilders, property managers, real estate developers, wholesale customers and everyone else who might need to buy flooring products and services from you. At first, people might need to wear multiple hats, but the sooner you can help people become specialists, the sooner each of your divisions will be profitable.
Throw out historic norms. There are so many things that companies do, especially in an industry like ours, that are done simply because it’s how things have always been done. That’s no way to get better, grow or be more profitable. I’m always looking for new and better ways to do things. Within my own company, we have improved and automated tasks and functions such as site assessments. We’ve launched more Mobile Floor Sources instead of opening more retail locations, and we’ve experimented with different pricing structures, product offerings, marketing strategies and distribution channels.
We look at everything, and ask us how we can do it better, even if it’s something we’ve already improved.
Never lose your entrepreneurial spirit. No matter how big we get at America’s Floor Source, I make it a point to ensure we have the energy and hunger of a startup business. For example, we’re still chasing new clients with the same fervor as we did 20 years ago. Our team still works and laughs together like we did when we were just starting out. And no one here is too big or too important to jump in and get done whatever needs to get done.
As soon as you lose that mindset you lose that edge, and suddenly you lose that ability to do more with less. You’re no longer innovating or looking for ways to cut unnecessary expenses. Worse, you’re no longer looking for new ways to satisfy new customers. You’re no longer maximizing your enjoyment of work or the profitability of your company.
Learn from your mistakes. Whether you’re using Retail Lead Management to see when and why you’re losing leads, or you’re looking back at why your entry into a new market didn’t go as well as expected, it’s crucial to do so with a focus on learning from the mistakes instead of trying to figure out whom to blame. To grow, you need to try new things—and not all of them will be huge successes. But none of them will be total losses if you make the effort to learn from them and apply those lessons to other parts of your business as well as your next new initiative.
Jason Goldberg is the CEO of America’s Floor Source and Retail Lead Management, and the creator of TraLaMa.