Put a Plan in Place to Help Grow Your Firm's Profits, Dealers Advised

Put a Plan in Place to Help Grow Your Firm's Profits, Dealers Advised

The best way to grow your kitchen and bath firm is by following a clear, concise plan, understanding what goes into running your business, and being able to recognize your strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your staff.

That's according to Ralph Palmer of Ar-Jay Building Products, Inc. in Cedar Rapids, IA. The Bath & Kitchen Buying Group (BKBG) dealer-member and Kitchen & Bath Design News columnist addressed members of the Houston, TX-based BKBG at a recent educational conference sponsored by the member-owned co-op addressing how to successfully grow your business.

According to Palmer, in order to grow your business effectively, "you must have a plan for growth, much like a pilot must have a flight plan for all of the flights he takes. In other words, your plan must be in order and must be well-defined in order to succeed."

He suggests starting by creating a mission statement that will allow you to make important decisions based upon it. Ask yourself where you want to be in one year, three years and five years.

In addition, "You need to have a financial plan for growth, and cash flow must be understood," Palmer notes. "Otherwise, if your growth is not planned, you could lose a lot of money." By the same token, don't be afraid to try new strategies, just as long as you plan them out, adds Palmer.

Other suggestions he offered for growing and managing your kitchen and bath firm effectively include the following:

  • Make sure you have intentional communication among your employees to make sure everyone is always on the same page. To that end, have sales and manager meetings weekly.
  • Have a policy manual, or some type of handbook, to ensure that everyone on staff knows what to expect from your firm in various situations.
  • Business growth must include people. Remember that relationships are a key to growth and strength.
  • Hire slowly, fire quickly and have hiring and firing practices in place. Make sure you document employees' accomplishments to reward good work, as well as missteps in the event you must fire an employee.
  • Develop a competency test for new hires. And, when you promote someone, make sure that person is not being promoted beyond his and her capabilities. For example, your top salesperson may not be the best candidate for being a sales manager if he cannot manage people well.
  • Learn to let go and give responsibility to others. Remember that micro-management stifles many companies' growth. Hire people to do the things you cannot do. Hire less expensive employees to perform less technical tasks.
  • Cross-train all key employees.
  • Remember that not all growth is profitable. For example, if you hire more employees, you may not be able to control how your firm is represented.