Experts Offer Helpful Hints for Addressing Recurring Problems

Experts Offer Helpful Hints for Addressing Recurring Problems

Every kitchen and bath design firm, like every life, has problems. They come with the territory, and many times seem unsolvable.

But, regardless of what business problems you face, here are three ways to cope.

1. Be sure you know what the problem really is.

Too often, when we're faced
with a problem, we deal with the immediate symptoms rather than the underlying cause. If you're faced with problems particularly recurring ones take a moment and step back. Ask yourself, "What is the underlying basis for the problem? What do recurring problems have in common?"

For example, if you keep running into installation problems on the job site, it may be that when there are conflicts, there's no clear-cut authority to resolve them when you're not on-site yourself. It may be that key members of your team lack the skills necessary for a given task. Or, it may be that your installers need more coaching on how to effectively communicate with the client.

However, you may be missing all that because you're constantly focusing, for example, on the problem with the molding on one job and the problem with the tile on another one.

2. Solve any part of the problem that exists.

Often, problems seem so vast that it's easy to get discouraged. That's generally because several problems get conjoined into one big circular problem. For instance, prospects walk in but walk right out again, so sales are dipping because the displays need to be updatedbut there isn't enough money to do that, so prospects walk in and walk right out again.

You can help yourself here if you take one aspect of the problem and solve just that part. Prospects walk in but walk right out again? Bake cookies in your showroom and offer free coffee and cookies at a snack barwhere a pile of brochures advertising your business is located. Or, for instance, offer a free drawing for a microwave and have visitors fill out a card, and talk to them while they do. Or, put a rack of postcards or greeting cards near the door. Or, if your budget permits, hire a chef to give a cooking demonstration.

One reason your problems may never get solved is because you get easily discouraged. Solving a few smaller problems one at a time may do wonders for your confidence and your outlook.

3. Get help from others.
"No man is an island," said the poet John Donne, and it is still as true today as it was in the 17th century. Ask your employees how they would solve the problems. Or, ask your peers. If you don't belong to a trade association, join and ask fellow members.

If you do not feel comfortable doing that, then you can turn to a consultant. There are several who run training schools and specialize in the kitchen and bath industry.

Another option you may not have considered is to turn to the government. Many states have a bureau called the "Office of Small Business Assistance" or the like. Since 1964, the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) has been providing businesses like yours with advice and counseling. SCORE is comprised of locally chartered volunteer organizations funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Most important, the firm provides free, expert problem-solving assistance to small businesses like yours.
Problems can always be solved. It's up to you how to approach them in a way that makes solving them seem less daunting and intimidating..