At Acadian House Kitchen & Bath Studio, “those who can do better get coached.”
So says Kathy Simoneaux, CAPS, owner and designer for the Baton Rouge, LA-based firm, who after 30 years in business hired a business coach to improve efficiencies, morale and profits.
“The idea is to look at things that play into the bottom line,” she offers. “Having a business coach is something kitchen and bath dealers should be interested in for their own firms.”
While it may be surprising that a successful firm has opted for this tactic, it is even more impressive when considering that the Acadian staff (which includes Simoneaux’s husband and daughter) is comprised of accredited, award-winning designers. It is proof that it is never too late to improve.
The dip in the economy prompted Simoneaux and her husband to seek a business coach.
“We didn’t want the economy to impact our business, so we focused on creating a more profitable firm,” she says.
One of the first things Simoneaux did upon hiring the coach was to have a six-hour meeting with him. She filled out a 24-page survey form about the company’s needs – much like the surveys her firm uses with its clients.
Simoneaux notes that building relationships – in-house and with clients – is key to the company’s ongoing success. “As a family-owned business, we needed to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We recognized our best areas, and this made us more aware of how to work with each other,” she says.
The staff now commits to “homework” each week, and holds weekly meetings to work on different aspects of the business.
“We are focused on developing a relationship with the customer above all else. Our coach keeps us focused so that we continue to achieve a structured business that decreases errors while increasing profitability,” she says.
Catering to the design/build and remodeling clients who are seeking a coordinator to work with industry professionals, the custom design firm has put a streamlined process in place. The firm specializes in turnkey project services, from design consultation to product selection and complete demolition and installation.
“To begin, we qualify the client with a phone interview to discuss budget and size and scope of the project,” Simoneaux reports. The firm also completes a profitability/bid sheet prior to entering into a contract.
She adds: “We also forecast sales on a spreadsheet and keep track of our client’s progress monthly.”
As a result of their efforts, Simoneaux says the firm received a 100% rating in seven categories as part of a customer service survey recently conducted by a third-party service.
Telling a story
The firm’s showroom is another key to its resurgence, Simoneaux reports.
The showroom features a full working kitchen and two complete display kitchens, plus a wide variety of cabinets and counters. Featured product lines include Acadian House Cabinetry, Dynasty by Omega, Omega Custom, Wellborn Cabinetry, KraftMaid Cabinetry, CaesarStone, Concetto by CaesarStone and Cambria, among many others.
“The showroom tells our story, lets us demonstrate our products and shows our longevity in the community and our commitment to customers,” she offers.
“Our firm is a business now. Systems are now in place that are making everything run much more efficiently.”