Lisbeth Calandrino—I’m loving the special edition of Floor Covering News, “Drive to 35,” which highlighted people and events in the flooring industry. In the issue, FCNews celebrated three and a half decades of people in the industry helping retailers. They honor people who are with us as well as those who are gone.
As I read the articles, I looked at the commonalities of successful people. One thing they have in common is they’ve paid their dues. They worked hard and put in the time. Have you heard the expression, “It takes years to become an overnight success?” Eddie Cantor, a famous comedic actor from the mid-1900s, was the first person to coin the phrase, “It takes 10/20 years to become an overnight success.” Becoming a success takes time, luck (being in the right place at the right time) and hard work. If you’re looking for success, here are some tips:
Do things different—don’t do the same things differently.
Businesses tend to try to make the status quo better, like increasing their installation warrantees. I think this is a mistake. It’s better if you add something to your warrantees, such as making sure your installation crew wears bright-colored booties with your store name embroidered on them.
If no one else has done it, do it! To become a leader, you must be creative. I’ve read the new marketing differentiation will be creativity and be innovative. In other words, be good at what you do—not just good, but exceptional. Mediocrity will get you nowhere. Know your craft, your competitors and keep up with the latest innovations.
Know exactly what you’re looking to achieve.
Author Stephen Covey may have put it best when he said, “Start with the end in mind.” What are you going for, what do you want to have happen? It’s likely you don’t have the answers, but you have the questions. The right questions will get you to the right path.
Be nimble and don’t be afraid to take the path less traveled.
There’s nothing new in following the old path. You know, the one you know by heart. If it doesn’t work, then change the plan and go in a different direction. Not working doesn’t mean you’ve failed; it means you’re closer to success. Don’t be afraid to fail. Whenever you try something new, failure is always an option. Never stop trying. Instead, learn from your mistakes and move on. In the rare case of product/installation failures that may result in claims, always do the right thing by your customers. Remember: It’s not about making a mistake, which is inevitable if you do something long enough. Rather, it’s about how you correct that error moving forward.
Don’t think you have to go it alone.
You must have faith in yourself but it’s likely you don’t have all the answers. The late Beatles member John Lennon once said, “We were the best… it was just a matter of time before everybody else caught on. It was more than talent, creativity and 10,000 hours of practice. You must believe you can do it even if it doesn’t work out.”
Look for a mentor.
In my experience, I’ve found most people are willing to help. Recently I reached out to someone I’ve worked with, who’s not in our industry, for some ideas. He had one great idea that really panned out and he was willing to make a call for me.
At the end of the day, it’s all about defining your core values and working to be successful on your own terms.
Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at email@example.com.