Meeting Today’s Challenges Head-On

by WOHe

It isn’t easy.

Even with an industry fueled by low mortgage rates, strong
housing starts, record home sales and a slew of other positive
market factors, it isn’t easy running a kitchen and bath design
firm these days.

Even with household demographics continuing to boost demand for
kitchen/bath products, and even with the home remaining the
centerpiece of American life, there are plenty of things for
business owners to lose sleep over.

Profit margins could always be improved, many kitchen and bath
dealers observe. Others say they wish it was easier to find, train
and retain key personnel. Still others note that it’s
a challenge coping with stiff new forms of competition, keeping up
with product innovations and finding unique new product lines that
can help differentiate their company from the competition.

All of these challenges are identified in the story in this
month’s issue of Kitchen & Bath Design News about the critical
issues facing kitchen and bath dealers.

Other challenges are pointed to in the story, as well.

Product availability, for example, is a major concern for some
dealers. So is the level of service some say they’re receiving from
their suppliers and their reps. So is the challenge of getting
their arms around the wave of new technology impacting the

Perhaps no challenge, however, is more critical to dealers than
finding and meeting the needs of new customers. Customers spell
opportunity. Opportunity spells revenue. And revenue, generally,
spells success.

In short, without customers, every other challenge facing a
business evaporates along with the business itself.

All of which leads to yet another important story in this
month’s issue of K&BDN.
The story points to the emergence of an important new generation of
Americans who are beginning to change the ways homes are designed,
built and remodeled.

As the article notes, Young Homeowners, aged 25-34, are not only
emerging as a powerful buying force, but they are different in many
important ways from the Baby Boom generation that has served for
years as the foundation for the kitchen and bath industry’s

Known widely as “Generation X,” these Young Homeowners represent
an enormous opportunity for kitchen/bath product marketers and
design professionals.

They also represent an enormous challenge.

The challenge, of course, lies in understanding who these
consumers are and what they want. A related challenge lies in
letting go of preconceived notions, tired sales approaches and
design/ product solutions that worked in the past.

Today’s burgeoning population of Young Homeowners has different
lifestyles than those of their parents. They have different tastes
in design, different product needs and different buying
preferences. They have different sources for obtaining information,
and different attitudes about home and family.

They also have different expectations of what their design
professionals need to do in order to get and keep their

Like the other key issues facing kitchen and bath design firms
today, it will be critical down the road to meet the challenges
these budding new customers represent.

A strong market is wonderful, but it’s not enough.

The market will remain strong only if kitchen and bath design
professionals find new customers, and gain a firm understanding of
how to meet their needs.

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