“Leadership is a learnable skill.”
Kitchen and bath dealers have plenty of competition, but how much influence does our competition have on improving our operations? Indeed a considerable amount, but no firm should emulate genuine service and expect to enjoy sustained success.
For your firm to reach more remarkable achievement, look at how your business performed last year and last quarter, then pinpoint what worked to get you sales and what slowed them down.
As often as we measure our success with that of our competitors, our primary competition will always be ourselves. Inside this advisory, you’ll find five leadership strategies to help you sharpen your infinite game for sustained success in your business.
How to be successful in the infinite game
In his immensely popular book, The Infinite Game, author Simon Sinek discusses how having an infinite mindset can help us achieve greater success.
In finite games such as basketball, there are winners and losers. However, in infinite games, there are no winners or losers. All players stay in the game unless they opt out, perhaps through selling their business or going bankrupt, but the game doesn’t end while other players remain in it.
The world doesn’t need another kitchen and bath dealer, so how does your business stand apart from the others? Fortunately, there’s a model to help owners put their infinite game into perspective.
- Have a just cause.
- Be a courageous leader.
- Build trusting teams.
- Acknowledge worthy rivals.
- Have a flexible playbook.
Let’s take a look at each one of these points in detail.
Have a just cause: Show your customers why you’re in business
Why are you in the kitchen and bath business? Your just cause expresses what you want to see in the world. It’s never written or defined for a particular group of people. A just cause doesn’t leave anyone out.
Just causes focus on the customer. Yours might go something like this:
“We believe everybody should have the kitchen of their dreams because that’s where families spend most of their time together.” Your just cause is inviting; it says: “If you also believe this, join our cause.”
Be a courageous leader: Sacrifice the short term for the long-term goal
There are always going to be pitfalls in the kitchen and bath industry. Instead of showing your frustration, hangups are an excellent time to demonstrate leadership.
Being a boss is about making sure the staff does their job. Leaders inspire people and handle disputes when something negatively impacts their team or client. They’re the last people in the room to speak. After listening to your team, you’ll know the best course of action to take.
For instance, if you’re experiencing supply chain issues, reach out to your customers and let them know what’s happening and what you’re doing about it. Give them a realistic time to expect their product and its installation. This is a way to “tangibilize” your service for your customer when things don’t go as desired.
By letting your customers know the reason for the delay in their orders, you’re showing them you empathize with their situation, and they’ll mind a lot less waiting for the realization of their dream project.
Building trusting teams: Your success depends upon it
Every kitchen and bath remodeling firm owner should aim to have a happy, self-motivated team who achieves your firm’s goals. When your operations are radically transparent, from the client budgeting process to “open book management,” you’ll have a team with a powerful sense of loyalty and pride in working for your firm.
Candidly discuss the pressing concerns of your business such as opportunities for revenue growth, satellite showroom expansion, and how to improve your service in detail with your team.
Often owners are resistant to being “too transparent” with the specifics of their firm because they fear sharing information makes them – or their operations – vulnerable. In reality, the opposite is true. Transparency strengthens business operations.
When your team has well-rounded knowledge of how and why your firm operates the way it does, they’ll be more invested in making it a greater success. They’ll also be more willing to adjust for inconveniences when times are tough.
Acknowledge worthy rivals: Observe your business as your competition would
Noticing your competitors’ success is a reason to sharpen your saw, but it’s a thorough, objective critique of your business that will reveal where you can improve it. Take a step back with your team to observe your operations together, as your competition would if they read your financial statements. From this perspective, you will be in a position to determine what’s working and what needs to be changed.
- How do you show proof of value to your clients from initial meetings to substantial completion?
- Have you implemented a Good-Better-Best pricing strategy?
- How long does it take you to deliver an estimate?
- How often are your sales designers getting retained during the initial consultation?
- Are you radically transparent in all areas of your operations?
- Is your team efficient, and are they happy?
Have a flexible playbook
The most crucial aspect to remember while the boom times are with us is: “How will my business do during the next recession?”
Responsible kitchen and bath dealers keep enough funds to backstop their company for 12 months. Owners should leverage the lean times by increasing their marketing expenditures so that their brand remains vital in the face of an adverse economy.
Knowing how to handle lean times is as crucial as managing your course of action during periods of growth. What does your strategic plan look like if your fortune steers upward and you have a considerable growth spike in the fourth quarter? How will you continue to handle the increase in your business without sacrificing the quality of your customer service – and your reputation – under the strain of excessive demand?
Massive growth, such as a 59% increase in sales, carries a downside. Customers will first notice when your service is fraught with mistakes and idiosyncrasies. Inconsistent service will ruin a business if a selling system doesn’t anchor its sales operation. If the irregularities persist, your reputation is in danger. Damage a business’s reputation badly enough, and it won’t recover.
Strategic planning is essential to preserve your reputation and see healthy gross profit margin increases, but it also helps you manage that growth. Strategic planning will help you decide:
- How to improve your online traffic
- When you can scale your business with a satellite showroom
- The right time to expand or cross-train your team
A prescriptive analysis of the business you did last year will help you improve your efforts for a more robust performance next year. You know your competition better than anyone else. After all, amid the industry challenges, your best competition is your past success.
—SEN Leadership Team
Master strategic planning, selling more into each job, leveraging technology, Good-Better-Best selling, and other smart implementations at one of SEN University’s valued online business courses – or contact Shannon Blair to attend our in-person schools.