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Al’s column: How to pick your next leader

March 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 20

By Keith Martino

 

Ron is one of the most polite individuals you’ll ever encounter. You’ll never feel intimidated by Ron’s presence. He answers your questions as smoothly and predictably as the captain of a cruise ship. Within minutes of meeting Ron, you’ll know why he was recently promoted within a large French holding company.

Ron is pragmatically aggressive. He picks his battles carefully and is only aggressive in business endeavors when he sees a clear course to the winner’s cup. Then, and only then, does he press full throttle ahead. Ron prides himself in preparation so, just in case, there’s always an adequate stash of life vests onboard.

But wait—before you rush out and hire Ron to be the captain of your ship, don’t forget to consider Rob. He may be just what you need.

Rob’s persona is larger-than-life. He works fast and loves trading sports cars. In a crowd of construction CEOs, he can come across as a big, lovable teddy bear. However, when a casual conversation with Rob turns toward business strategy, Rob will magically morph into a hungry grizzly. He’ll show you how to eat your competition for lunch.

Should your next leader be someone who proceeds circumspectively like Ron? Or are you looking for someone who is a natural born hunter like Rob? Hint: If you need Rob but hire Ron, you’ll likely be seriously disappointed. Your patience will be exhausted. On the other hand, hire Rob and you’d better hold on to your hat.

Rob will enthusiastically and methodically pass every other car on the track. He’ll interject an energy you didn’t know was possible into every employee who is able to hang on for the ride. At the end of the day, Rob will have created new business opportunities you never thought possible.

Sure, Rob will occasionally break something, but when he puts your stock car back together it will run so much faster than before that you will be among the first to forgive him. Rob takes aggressive chances and then makes smart decisions based on the way the market appears to evolve. His ability to plan and execute simultaneously is uncanny. He shifts gears without flinching and leans into the turns. Ron, on the other hand, intuitively reaches for the caution flag.

Although their names sound similar, their styles are vastly different on a practical level. They each get the desired results when matched with the appropriate assignment. That’s why absolute clarity about which style of leader your business will need is so crucial.

Here are a few questions to ponder that may help you consider various leadership styles:

  1. What are you trying to accomplish with your company?
  2. How important is creativity/innovation in your business?
  3. Which is more important to you: growth, stability or something else?
  4. Do your key processes need incremental improvement or a complete overhaul?
  5. How much risk are you willing to accept to achieve your top objectives?

Another thing to consider when changing/hiring leaders is knowing your corporate culture. You want your corporate values to be firmly entrenched when you pass the torch.

Bottom line: Consider not only the qualities of the candidates you’re interviewing and/or screening, but also look at the needs of your business, survey the current climate and anticipate changes that might impact you in the future. In short, don’t hire Rob if who you really need/want is Ron.

 

Keith Martino is head of CMI, a global consultancy that customizes leadership initiatives in the construction, renovation and remodeling industries. The author of “Expect Leadership,” he has a passion for helping contractors and family construction business owners achieve stellar results.

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Al’s column: Consumers who play contractors

February 18/25, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 19

By Scott Perron

 

As our industry evolves and the playing field continually changes, our leadership team tries to predict the future outside of the world of statistical analysis. In the wake of a new breed of customers intent on becoming their own contractors of sorts, we see unique perspectives on a daily basis and an increasing challenge with failed installations.

Interestingly enough, the consumers we see most often fall into one of the following two categories:

The academic or tech-savvy consumers. These folks spend countless hours, days and sometimes even months researching online in an attempt to find an angle that will allow them to bring all three characteristics of any flooring job into play—good, fast and cheap. The latter is the operative word as more inexperienced consumers feel they’re going to be capable of reducing the cost of a flooring project by posing as their own contractor. In a few cases they are successful as this particular endeavor requires finding a quality installer who will not overcharge, steal money or simply do a lousy job.

The construction-savvy customer. Aside from the professional builders who most often focus on their profit margin, this consumer is usually much easier to close as they speak a similar language. They tend to negotiate prices less than the academic but focus more on the process and desired result. In addition, they typically research the cost of a project, budget for it and execute once they begin to shop within seven days.

During the last week of January we saw two of these home contractor failures, which will likely result in the two customers spending a collective $21,000 to fix issues caused by improper installation. Both customers found their pros on Craigslist and did not research them other than calling the value-priced advertiser. In one of these cases, the so-called cheaper route actually cost the customer 20% more than we would have charged for the same job at full margin through our full-service entity. (Now their floor must be replaced.)

The other person hired a “bucket-and-trowel” contractor to put vinyl plank floors in several rooms of her home. All the rooms are running in different directions, the materials have started to separate due to improper installation of the tongue-and-groove system and the installer put an unnecessary sealer over the top of the vinyl material, embedding debris in the surface.

As retailers it may sound like sour grapes when we discuss these challenges with our customers during the shopping experience. However, we must do our best to provide documentation and pictures of these failed installations so we can assist them in understanding how much liability they’re assuming and the incredible price tag this may come with.

In the years to come, we’ll all see a dramatic increase in younger consumers entering the market. As a result, these challenges will likely become a bigger concern as they oftentimes take the online word as gospel without understanding the mechanics of construction or the installation procedures that accompany most products. This uninformed consumer becomes yet another target for unqualified installers or online purveyors who skirt liability in the pursuit of a quick sale.

My advice is to train your salespeople to tactfully broach these challenges with consumers during the sales process, utilizing statistics or anecdotes to support their case.

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Al’s column: How to keep your debt in check

February 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 18

By Scott Perron

 

During my 20s in the early 1990s I went through a very sobering financial experience along with my family that permanently etched a painful scar in my brain. Since that time, I have probably taken a more cautious than normal approach to increasing debt for fear of ever repeating that scenario.

I am fortunate, however, to have learned many valuable best practices from other owners (Russell, Mitch, Doug and Brad) along the way, which has helped get us to where we are today. Our commercial property purchased in 2013 has a mortgage after renovation equaling 25% of the property value, and we have a small loan with a financier that we will pay off in the next 24 months or sooner. Outside of that, all of our equipment, inventory, samples, vehicles and hard assets are paid in full. Although it could be even better, our overhead is vastly less on average than that of our competitors, which allows our new company to be aggressive against the most seasoned dealer or big box.

Over the last 10 years, business has been steadily recovering and, for the most part, we all are benefitting. Without trying to sound alarmist in any way, this was exactly what occurred prior to the recession of 2007-2009—a time most of us would like to forget. The objective of this column is simply to advise you to take a long, hard look at your to debt-to-asset and debt-to-income ratios and prepare for the future.

In the event you have not purchased the property you work from, it would make good sense to lock in the best lease renewal options and make sure to leave yourself a reasonable escape clause during that period should you need to upsize, downsize or perhaps buy your next location. My advice is always to purchase rather than lease, as it is usually the first or only saleable asset of a flooring company. Due to the current acceleration in pricing, it is becoming a challenge to find commercial real estate at a value. Typically, even in good times like these, the hard assets such as FF&E, inventory and vehicles sell for a fraction of their true value during liquidation.

In addition, take a long look at any inventory you have that is over 180 days or a year old and decide why it’s still there. I know many of you hate to sell bad choices at a lower price or even a loss, but unless you are extremely wealthy or only desire a savings account filled with antique inventory for your older years, I can promise you the best move is to turn it into cash. Most who hang on to these assets never count the cost of carrying it along with the rest of your overhead, so in reality it becomes less valuable to you on a daily basis. Take the proceeds from the selling of bad decisions and use it to purchase items that turn quickly or help promote your business.

Next, get your best performance numbers in front of your banker and negotiate any debt reduction, credit line increases, merchant services and refinancing of long-term debt to a fixed rate where possible. Get prepared to have the proper capitalization even if you don’t need it now; you might need it eventually.

Finally, be careful not to put yourself in the position of being personally liable for some or all of your liabilities tied to the business as you may be setting yourself up for disaster in the event of another correction. Do your best to separate business and personal assets or liabilities by consulting your CPA or tax attorney.

 

Scott Perron is the president of 24-7 Floors and Floor4Pros based in Sarasota, Fla. He is also an industry trainer and motivational speaker. He can be reached at scott@24-7floors.com or 860.250.1733.

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Al’s column: Chargebacks—A thorn in retailers’ sides

January 21/28, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 17

By Scott Perron

 

I want to focus on an issue that will continue to become a much bigger liability to retailers of all kinds: customer chargebacks.

I have been in this industry for more than 30 years and have only had three chargebacks out of tens of thousands of sales. In two of the cases, the customer cited “materials not as agreed” and in one crazy instance a customer purchased and picked up materials, stopped payment with her credit card company and told us a former employee of ours owed him money so we could get it from him. (The sheriff swiftly changed his mind and he made good.)

During the third and most recent sale, however, we had a client who claimed after our job—that entailed floor leveling, moisture mitigation, installation of 2,600 square feet of luxury vinyl plank plus new painted and primed wall base—they began experiencing a smell in the home that was making their family sick. One quick call to their credit card company and without warning they withdrew $10,000 from our operating account. After seven weeks, they have not produced one shred of evidence to support such a claim and yet the issuer of the card is backing the cardholder.

Upon my research with Chase Paymentech—that has now taken many hours and regardless of the fact that we have supplied the customer with every possible MSDS sheet, floor certifications and testing—we were still not able to get Visa to credit our account pending any investigation. The Chase advisor told me chargebacks are on the rise with many consumers learning how to maneuver the system with fraudulent claims and the merchant’s chances of winning a chargeback are becoming increasingly more difficult.

Many retailers think our contracts have a dramatic amount of weight to them, but in reality the major credit card providers are the ones who make the final decision—and typically it is to protect their customer, even if it’s at the peril of a merchant with good intentions.

Some key points to keep in mind:

  1. A customer needs only to make a simple phone call to his or her credit card company to dispute any charge. Meanwhile, the average merchant does not have the processes in place—or the wherewithal—to refute the refund.
  2. Include in your contract and process paperwork language that states clearly that the consumer has received and has accepted the quality of the materials and/or labor performed. It must be signed and dated at time of delivery or installation. This is by far the most important document you can provide when dealing with a chargeback.
  3. Make sure your contracts are in keeping with your state’s individual consumer laws and that the language clearly explains the expectations and possible scenarios, including cleanliness, unforeseen issues, payment arrangements prior to delivery and installation as well as the need for signatures when materials have been delivered or installed.
  4. Most merchants do not realize that when you charge a credit card and pay the fees associated with using this payment vehicle, those fees are non-refundable. In addition, if you have a chargeback and reuse the same payment form after settlement you once again pay for your credit card merchant fees and, in many cases, a chargeback fee from your processor.

Protect yourselves and consult your local attorney to make sure you have these guidelines in place so you can mitigate the possibilities of this occurring in your business. Failure to do so may result in a very expensive lesson.

 

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Al’s column: Getting to the heart of the labor shortage

January 7/14, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 16

By Paul Stuart Jr.

 

At the risk of sounding and being cliché, unless you live under a rock you have certainly heard about our great nation’s skilled labor shortage. However, I think all is not lost. By working together, we can explore some possible solutions.

I’m going to start with a quick story: In early 2000, I was the lead installer for a middle school project in Kansas. Our crew was installing a complicated pattern with VCT down a long classroom corridor. A small portion of the corridor and attached classrooms were still in use—I assume for a summer course or something of the sort. Anyway, the pattern had waves and circles with several different colors. This installation not only took hand skills but also standard mathematics and geometry, blueprint reading and an understanding of the specifications to get it right.

After the layout was complete, we glued it up and took a break while waiting for the adhesive to dry. I went to use the bathroom and while walking by one of the classrooms I overheard the teacher telling her students, “You better apply yourself and pay attention or else you will end up like those guys out there.” All my guys and I cared about was doing a great job and making a living. We took pride in our work and we simply didn’t deserve to be talked about as if our trade was disgraceful.

So, there you have it, the very basis of what is one of the biggest issues: the degrading of the skilled tradesman. This mindset supports the false idea that there is something wrong with being in a trade and getting a little dirty doing your job. I believe this helped create the culture that college is the only path to happiness or career fulfillment, but unfortunately not every high school graduate wants to (nor should) go to college. Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with college so long as it produces knowledge and a degree that will enable one to make an honest living.

Additionally, with high schools nationwide taking shop class and other vocational technology curriculum out of their course offerings, we are in need of training resources. There are great organizations out there like FCICA, NTCA, CFI and others that do a fantastic job, but they are limited to the number of trainings and outreach.

Lastly, there are many flooring installers who have gone into business for themselves as independent installers. The issue again is training. These guys need access to training just as bad as an in-house installer does, and I hope the trade organizations can find a way to reach this demographic of installers because our industry depends on it. If the independent installer does a poor job, it reflects on the entire industry.

While online training is good, we have found that hands-on training is the best. On a monthly basis, we gather our crews (both independent installers and in-house installers) for a training that is performed by our senior installers (typically one of our in-house guys) who are certified and knowledgeable in the particular training. The goal for these trainings is to demonstrate proper installation techniques and provide the hands-on application of these techniques. Each training is focused on a particular technique. For example, we recently had a training on outside corner boots for integral cove resilient sheet goods and how to weld these areas as well as the cove portion—this being the most problem areas on resilient cove projects.

 

Paul Stuart Jr. is the president of Wichita, Kan.-based Stuart & Associates Commercial Flooring, specializing in all applications and products for the commercial flooring industry. He is also the founder of GoCarrera, an app aimed at matching installers and qualifications to the right project.

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Al’s column: Surface prep as easy as 1, 2, 3…4

December 24/31, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 15

By Curtis Colegrove

 

There are many factors that go into a successful flooring installation project. These include selecting the appropriate floor material and applying the proper installation procedure. Equally important—but often overlooked—is careful preparation of the concrete slab. Cutting corners on this critical step can lead to problems down the road that can negatively impact the floor’s performance and shorten its lifespan.

The right floor prep can make the difference between a successful job or a complete failure. Contractors are under pressure to complete projects on ever-shorter schedules with increasingly tighter budgets. The imperative to get the job done quickly and efficiently sometimes outweighs the need to fully prepare and test concrete slabs.

So, what constitutes good concrete slab prep? Refer to ASTM F710 “Standard Practice for Preparing Concrete Floors to Receive Resilient Flooring” for a complete guide and follow these four vital steps:

Clear all dust and residual materials. First and foremost, the concrete floor should be clean, dry and smooth. That means free of any dust, solvent, paint, wax, oil, grease, residual adhesive or other materials that might prevent a strong bond. Due to accelerated project timelines, installers may be tempted to leave adhesive residue from previous installations. The technical impact of any materials left on the concrete may be damaging to a project as it can compromise adhesion of the new floor. Adhesives will not stick to the substrate causing material failure.

Fill in the holes. Cracks, grooves, control joints and other irregularities must be filled or smoothed with latex patching or underlayment compound. Use a cementitious patch primarily made from Portland cement to fill cracks and irregularities. Be sure to use a moisture-resistant patch when it is over ¼ inch in thickness. If not properly filled and the crack extends all the way through the substrate, it can be a source of moisture intrusion. Patching will also correct any uneven surfaces in the substrate to provide a nice, smooth, consistent substrate.

Note: Expansion and other moving joints should not be filled; check with the manufacturer for the recommended joint covering system.

Test for moisture and alkalinity. The standard also calls for moisture and pH (alkalinity) testing of the slab. If using the probe test method for measuring moisture vapor emission rate (MVER) outlined in ASTM 2170 “Standard Test Method for Determining Relative Humidity in Concrete Floor Slabs Using in situ Probes,” the maximum limit specified by ASTM F710 is 75% relative humidity (RH). Although the standard limits RH to 75%, manufacturers often approve installation above 75% RH, if appropriate moisture mitigation steps are taken. While the standard does not define a maximum or minimum pH, it notes that pH levels below 7 and above 10 can affect resilient flooring and/or adhesives. Check the flooring installation instructions for the manufacturer’s specified limits for both RH and pH.

Keep it level. Flatness is another important factor for optimum floor performance and service life. The ASTM F710 standard calls for the slab to vary no more than +/- 3/16 of an inch across 10 lineal feet. High spots should be brought down and low spots should be filled with an appropriate material. This should be done by grinding high spots and filling in low spots with a cementitious patch.

 

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Al’s column: Do you know the basics of ‘basis?’

December 10/17, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 14

By Roman Basi

 

When buying or selling a business, it’s vital to understand the role “basis” plays—whether it’s asset basis or stock basis—in the purchase price allocation and overall structure. Following are a few pointers on the interplay between an asset basis purchase and stock basis purchase.

Buyers generally favor an asset sale for the stepped-up asset basis, an upward readjustment of value in a fixed asset for tax purposes upon inheritance of such asset. This upward readjustment in basis allows the buyer larger asset depreciation and amortization, which, in turn, lowers the business’s taxable income. However, a seller will seek to allocate a lower value to its assets in an attempt to allocate the rest to company or personal goodwill. Under the seller’s preferred allocation, the buyer loses some of its stepped-up basis, thereby lowering his amount of depreciation and amortization.

Asset basis. Adjusted asset basis plays a vital role in the taxation aspect of a merger/acquisition. An asset’s adjusted basis is calculated using the asset’s original cost, then making adjustments upward based on investment into improving the asset or, more commonly, downward through depreciation, amortization and Section 179 deductions.

For example, let’s you purchase a machine for $50,000 and under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, you use bonus depreciation on the asset to reduce your business’s taxable income. An interested buyer approaches seeking to buy all the assets of your business; in purchasing the assets, the price will be allocated to your assets and likely some goodwill. If the asset price allocation exceeds the adjusted basis of your assets, you’ll be subject to a seller’s worst nightmare in the form of depreciation recapture—the gain received from the sale of depreciable property that must be reported as income. The gain reported as income is then subject to a higher income tax.

Stock basis. It’s important for a seller to be aware of the different stock basis calculations regarding an S-corporation and C-corporation. S-Corp basis calculations are more complex than those for C-Corps. The latter’s stock basis stays the same year to year, while an S-Corp’s basis is an annual moving target based on annual income, distributions and loans. It’s important to calculate and understand an

S-Corp’s stock basis as it is the cash shareholders can pull from the company without penalty.

From a selling standpoint, basis is the cash shareholders can obtain “without realizing income or gain,” which equates to the tax-free amount when the company is sold. An S-Corp’s stock basis will decrease when distributions are made to shareholders, or when deductions or losses take place. The stock basis will increase when capital contributions, ordinary income increases or investment income and gains are made. The value in having high basis when selling your business is paramount to minimizing tax liabilities.

There are times when sellers find themselves with a buyer who wants to purchase the selling company’s stock, but it would be more advantageous, tax-wise, for the seller to sell its assets. In certain situations, a Section 338(h)(10) election may be the answer. This allows the purchaser of the stock of an

S-Corp, or a corporation within a consolidated group, to treat the transaction as an acquisition of the assets for tax purposes.

Contact me for more personalized guidance on this issue.

 

Roman Basi is an attorney and CPA with the firm Basi, Basi & Associates at the Center for Financial, Legal & Tax Planning. He writes frequently on issues facing business owners. For more information, please visit taxplanning.com.

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Al’s column: Push your RSAs, help them grow

November 26/December 3, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 12

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

Recently I recorded a webinar on “How to grow your business while working less.” (Disclosure: The event was sponsored by FCNews and moderated by Jim Augustus Armstrong of Flooring Success Systems and an FCNews columnist. If you missed it, I can send you the link.)

One of the interesting questions had to do with managers and what Armstrong called their “limiting” beliefs. To clarify, a limiting belief is an acceptance we have about ourselves that gets in the way of our growth. The belief is something we learned about ourselves through our family or through life experience. These beliefs come up when your opinion is challenged or a task is unfamiliar and seems difficult. Rather than attack the task, we retreat because the “I’m not smart enough” monster rears its ugly head.

The problem with a self-limiting belief is it gets in the way of decision making. We all have imposed beliefs, including the owner, but if people are to progress, these beliefs have to be challenged. Sometimes limiting beliefs aren’t that obvious; we have a way of hiding things like that from ourselves and others.

By overcoming our limiting beliefs, we put ourselves in a position to not only work smarter, but also fewer hours. Business owners need to rely on managers to help run their business. But if your managers are held hostage to these limiting beliefs, how can you depend on them? If it were my business, I would hire a coach or find courses for my managers and help them work on building confidence and overcoming some of those pre-existing notions that can hurt business. Once they deal with their own issues and get over their roadblocks, they will be more capable of managing.

Managers are like cars; we depend on them to take us everywhere, but like cars they only work if we take care of them. They need plenty of fuel and an occasional tune-up to keep them in top shape. Sure, giving those trips, extra money and time off will make them feel better, but if you want them to be more valuable you will have to improve their skills.

I have a couple of suggestions that might help. First, give them time off that is dedicated to learning. This means you plan a training program with them that will improve their abilities. You can program in an hour or so a week that is to be used for taking online courses. I would put together a learning program for them and have them sign up for courses that will help them get better at their jobs. Once they complete their courses, I would have them review what they’ve learned with the rest of the team members.

You can also send them out for training or hire a coach. Great athletes all have coaches. Why not treat your managers as if they were great athletes? The more competent your managers, the better they will be for your company. What you want are people who can keep up with you and also have good ideas for your business and the rest of the team.

The coach doesn’t have to be permanent, but a few months might help managers confront their own limited beliefs. Just having a coach ask them why they have certain limiting beliefs will give them a better perspective and improve their confidence. Owners invest thousands of dollars in racking systems that don’t always pay off. Why not invest in something you know is capable of a healthy return?

Food for thought.

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Al’s column: Success waits for those who seek change

November 12/19, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 11 

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

Talking with a progressive retailer in the flooring business is a breath of fresh air. Not long ago, I spoke with Ted Gregerson, owner of Abbey Carpet, Anniston, Ala. I’d heard Gregerson runs a successful shop, and I wanted to learn more.

What impressed me most was his attitude: forward thinking and always looking for new ways to improve this business and his staff. It’s obvious that everyone is important to his business. According to Gregerson, it’s not just one thing that makes him successful; it takes a dedicated team. In his case it’s being with his executive team, which includes Ron Hurley, vice president, and Gracie Jancsek, director of marketing.

Gregerson believes his willingness to embrace technology has been his model for success. Over the next 10 years, he predicts there will be a culling of flooring stores unless they are willing to keep up with technology. This means spending money on websites and other tools.

The fall of the economy in 2007 had a profound effect on Gregerson. Many stores went out of business, yet some grew stronger. Gregerson realized the difference was a store’s willingness to change. Social media was just starting, so even the strong flooring stores had a huge learning curve. Survival meant doing very different things that had no precedence.

Like many others, he had to learn the hard way, for example, by running his own social media. Eventually, he realized his operation would have to create its own social media model, so he hired an outside firm.

Gregerson recalls the learning curve being a steep one. “I started with a tape measure and paper and pen and now we’re using RFMS and Measure Mobile software,” he told me recently. “There was a point where I went out and bought iPad Pros for everyone in our company. This level of sophistication builds confidence with our customers, and we rarely get requests for lower prices. You can tell that it makes a huge impression on the customer.”

Gregerson’s employees use their iPads for more than just basic measuring. “We have hundreds of job pictures on them for salespeople to be able to show potential customers what a product looks like installed. We have price books on them, along with warranty information, cleaning care guides, copies of business licenses and other forms they may need from time to time. We want everything to be at their fingertips to where they always have it with them. We also use them as a way to get picking tickets to our warehouse guys.”

I am always interested in what stores are doing to train their employees. Hurley, a critical player on Gregerson’s team, believes ongoing training is one of the keys. “Good training motivates people to learn new skills and encourages them to want to get better,” he told me. “We all have to change, and training is one way to point people in the right direction.”

Twice a year Gregerson shuts all three stores, rents a hotel and conducts all-day training sessions with catered breakfast and lunch. He invites suppliers to conduct product training combined with his own in-house training. Jancsek does her part by teaching the salespeople how to get photos off the website, tag customers and share their posts. This is the first time I’ve heard of anyone using their marketing department to educate their team on social media.

It’s not only a great idea, it’s a smart thing to do.

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Al’s column: What’s in your firm’s DNA?

October 29/November 5, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 10

By Scott Perron

 

Soon to be 53, I find myself in the third season of my “business career.” In the first 15 years I was an independent retailer, followed by four years on the corporate side of the industry. In this latest round we have two business models: one focusing on supplying professional customers, while the other works on the shop-at-home/business space.

During these last 20-plus years, I have come in contact with countless business owners, executives and managers. Following some good advice I received at a very young age, I take the time to question those who are much more successful in the hopes they can shine some light on the proper methods of building our business.

It is for that reason, hard work and surrounding myself with people who are much better than me, that we have been successful in our own right. Even now I have three out-of-state business mentors that have helped guide me on my newest journey, and for that I am eternally grateful. I encourage all retailers to reach out to your potential advisors and take heed to the wisdom they may impart.

That being said, I want to draw attention to those who single-handedly take the credit for the success they have achieved in business. As a young man, I was guilty of that same negative attribute and throughout my career I have met many who love to beat their chest while having no real success to back up their self-promotional tendencies.

Ego and arrogance have no place in business if you really want to duplicate success. Those who make themselves the center of attention in business will find out later that they have nothing to sell, while those who look to build a legacy can overcome almost any obstacle and silence any competitor with actions vs. words.

The DNA of a business is a very simple ideology, which states that its true function is to serve its clients, employees and shareholders. Regardless of leadership, ownership or who screams the loudest, we should all be beholden to the business. This is true even when it requires firing a close relative, friend or employee to ensure its success long term.

While I continue to study the things I do not know on a daily basis, research suggests the leadership of any company usually has a limited skill set, which causes periodic and much-needed change in order for the business to thrive. For example, companies that achieve $5 million or $10 million in revenue often cannot grow to $25 million without a change in leadership. Furthermore, those at that level often require yet another change when reaching for a new plateau.

In a recent column I cited an article written by entrepreneur Daymond John outlining his five secrets to building a successful company by hiring correctly (promote drive, free voice, “intrapreneurs,” motivation and incentives). Although simple in its wording, those attributes are difficult to execute and are the responsibility of any company’s leadership in order to propel it forward.

Although some of you may disagree with my comments, we often let emotions, relationships and prior promises dictate our future actions. However, the reality is doing anything other than what is good for your business can lead to its destruction.

I get great enjoyment out of speaking with young people who are eager to learn and willing to work toward a successful career or ownership in business. I find myself becoming more like the people who have helped me along my journey, and I am happy to pay it forward.

 

Scott Perron is the president of 24-7 Floors and Floor4Pros based in Sarasota, Fla. He is also an industry trainer and motivational speaker. He can be reached via email at scott@24-7floors.com or 860.250.1733.