As a multi-store operator, our business has enjoyed a period of dramatic growth over the last four years and certainly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although there have been some negative aspects to that growth—such as labor shortages, increased freight costs or tariffs being implemented on product—some of those challenges have now subsided.
Most recently we have heard from the bulk of our primary suppliers that the market is “quiet.” As a matter of course I refuse to follow those who quickly decide to cry wolf; however, additional effort may be required to continue your business growth or simply maintain a level of volume as we move toward 2024. Rising interest rates, cost of goods and services as well as recurring expenses like insurance, utilities and labor demands will all play a part in how you must react as a company.
Our economy here in Florida has experienced tremendous growth with thousands of people moving into the state due to their ability to work remotely and desire to escape bad weather, taxes or a higher cost of living. That said, new construction is now slowing while real estate prices have stabilized or, in some cases, started to drop, signaling a change not seen since the prior recession and the housing bubble fiasco.
More recently I began producing a weekly radio show/podcast called “Getting Down to Business.” The content of the show is designed to help business owners and those getting into business to consider the teachings I have received from so many great mentors during my career. Among those lessons are the “Seven Characteristics” that I feel are most important when operating a business: pain, plan, process, passion, people, patrons and profit.
One of the most beneficial efforts we make as a team to continually address our plan and process is the implementation of a weekly strategy meeting following the teachings of EOS Worldwide and the book titled “Traction.” This process is crucial, especially during challenging times to ensure that we are addressing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (or “SWOT”) on a regular basis.
During times of economic growth, it is easy to put the application of these principles aside. However, when things begin to tighten, it’s imperative to keeping your ship pointed in the right direction. One of the things we discovered during a recent strategy session was how many sales we missed during the last several years because we were overrun with more opportunities than we could field while attempting to find additional qualified employees to join our company. Now that we have a more even flow of traffic, our current team can spend more time with each client. As a result, our closing ratio has improved. As of the writing of this article, we are up 1.9% over last year same period, but more importantly, our profit dollars have increased almost 20% due to cost adjustments on product and freight while simply being able to provide better service to our clients.
Should you be experiencing similar obstacles in your business, take the time as a leader to religiously examine your strengths and weaknesses with the goal of improving your client’s experience from the front door to the back.
Scott D. Perron is president of Floors4Pros in Sarasota, Fla. A veteran retailer, Perron has established strong relationships with professional contractors, property managers and other individuals who need access to flooring materials and products. Contact him at Scott@ScottDPerron.com.