“Most business problems can be solved if you can teach yourself to look beyond the dollar sign.”
Many kitchen and bath firm owners would like to think they have mastered every area of their business. Undoubtedly, many owners become excellent managers. However, owners shouldn’t attempt to manage every aspect of their firm. If your decision-making team is only two eyes – that’s far too few. And if your board of advisors is made up of only people inside your firm or family, reach for consultation outside the box from time to time to get a fresh perspective.
One of the most valuable lessons we can impart to SEN members is that kitchen and bath firm owners must sharpen their saws regularly.
Successful owners should continue improving their business acumen by attending conferences and seminars. It is also wise to draw from business books and lectures from leaders of other industries so that we have a well-rounded outlook and a sharper perspective on how to grow our business. Look inside this advisory to learn or brush up on how to spot and deal with the fatal flaws that affect businesses.
Fatal flaws: The ego and blind-spot barriers
Many owners believe that finding a flaw in their business is irrelevant because they are doing well. Therein lies irony. Consider those owners who did not make it through the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Why do you think that was? Their businesses failed because they could not see the fatal flaw in their model.
Those owners lacked perspective because they didn’t seek the views of experts and peers. Why do some owners drive their businesses into the ground? Because they want operations to continue as usual. They allow their ego or blind spot to handicap their judgment, leading them to financial ruin or at least considerable hassle.
In many cases, those owners’ troubles came from not backstopping their company with twelve months’ worth of operating funds. This brings us to two closely related fatal flaws many owners have.
The ego barrier. The ego barrier makes it hard for us to judge weaknesses objectively. We want to be correct and avoid stressing ourselves out. We are our own worst critics for a good reason. Owners are not at a vantage point to judge the value of their business accurately without studying the numbers they’re doing, and receiving objective input from others.
The blindspot barrier. We all have blind spots. This is a flaw found in anyone who believes they see everything. Yes, some owners are very efficient in keeping their operations running smoothly, but nobody can always see everything. What we do well may prohibit us from seeing what we do poorly, even if we are aware of our weaker abilities. After all, we eventually do something wrong when we do what comes naturally.
Solutions to fatal flaws
Peer-to-peer wisdom sharing is available in the kitchen and bath industry. Leaders have been doing it for decades through NKBA and KBDN, and since 1994, SEN Design Group has been steadfast in strengthening kitchen and bath firm owners through our roundtables, coaching, and conferences.
There are several industry-specific ways owners can go about sharpening their saws.
- Dealer round tables are where non-competitive owners from around the country work together to solve common business problems. These roundtables are always highly rated and frequently well attended
- TTI/DISC personality exams give you insight into the hiring and placement of your personnel. DISC tests are an excellent way to build a team who operates at the highest level of efficiency because each member serves the position that they are best suited for
- Business coaches. A well-vetted business coach can boost personnel productivity and offer an action plan. Good coaches are excellent for holding their clients accountable for completing the tasks they set for themselves and achieving critical success factors upon a prearranged time frame
- Board of advisors. Owners who meet with a board of advisors learn to see the flaws in their operations. The members of such groups hold each other accountable for the actions that they say they will take. These groups are an excellent way for firm owners to sharpen their business acumen
Five steps to overcoming hurdles to long-term success
Cited in the New York Times best-selling book, Principles: Life and Work, author Ray Dalio names five steps people can take to overcome hurdles and achieve life-long success.
- Define your goals and set out to conquer them. One needs to know themselves well to select the appropriate plans. Since most people want to become wealthy, a typical question is: What steps do I need to take to become wealthy? Be specific in your answer.
- Discover the problems that stand in your way of achieving your goals.
- Diagnose the problems. Get at their root causes and reflect on them. Dalio emphasizes that reflecting on our failures is key to not making the same mistakes again and achieving success.
- Design a plan to eliminate the problems that stand in your way. Do this with a team. One way to ensure your success is to fortify your project with the minds of a tightly knit team designing it together.
- Execute your design. Dream big, fail big. Be sure to take time to reflect and meditate on any failures.
Methods of radical open-mindedness
Observe idea meritocracy. See what others think the solution is. Not all ideas are equal. The best idea wins. Replace the joy of being right with the satisfaction of knowing what’s true.
Use the appropriate skill set. Get assistance from others who are good at what you’re not so good at. Guard against your blind spots by consulting with the right people. Seek the most vital independent thinkers to see how they solve problems. Others will see solutions and opportunities that you would otherwise miss.
Learn from the struggle of others. You can achieve the highest level of success by knowing what others did that caused them to fail and then succeed. Networking, observance, and perseverance make extraordinary achievements possible.
—SEN Leadership Team
Master strategic planning, selling more into each job, leveraging technology, Good-Better-Best selling, and other intelligent implementations at one of SEN University’s valued online business courses. Or contact us to attend our in-person schools.