Experts Offer Helpful Hints for Addressing Recurring
Every kitchen and bath design firm, like every life, has
problems. They come with the territory, and many times seem
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
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
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
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