Focus on Core Business Basics, Kitchen and Bath Firms Advised
It's now a cliché to say that the world has changed since 9/11, but it's also a "brutal fact" that business owners including those in the kitchen/bath industry need to recognize, according to a leading construction industry consultant.
And, with the nation's economy still on shaky ground, consumer confidence declining and global uncertainties rising, it's time for business owners "to regroup and focus on the fundamentals of good business," advises FMI Corp., a Raleigh, NC-based consultant.
FMI recommends that design-firm leaders take the following steps to assure that their business remains on solid ground:
- Meet with current and past clients, as well as prospects, and
"ask them what's on their mind not talking, just listening to what
they perceive is the value of what the firm does or can
- Segregate clients and services "into high-, medium-, and
low-return categories" and actively "work to reduce or eliminate
low-value clients and services."
- Brainstorm on how project delivery systems can be run more
smoothly and profitably.
- Sit down with staff members and discuss the employees' "vision of their future," sharing ideas on how the direction of the company can be aligned with employees' needs and career goals.
"Every CEO in the country will say that his or her firm's most valuable asset is its people, but, in many cases, that's a hollow claim," FMI Corp. observes. "Look at the investment that's made to grow and nurture these people. How much does the company spend on education compared to marketing or technology? Does the company offer a leadership development program?
What is the company's reputation among people who used to work there, and among people who work at similar firms?"
The fact is, most firms actually invest little in their people a practice that stunts growth, and increases turnover, FMI points out.
- Invest in business leaders' own management skills by
courses in leadership development, communications and delegation.
FMI says it also sees a need for:
- Strategic Assessment what business owners are doing to assess their performance level.
- Strategic Sourcing what owners are doing to more cost-effectively buy outside services.
- Strategic Program Control how business owners can more effectively control their capital to achieve targeted profit goals.