Shape Your Business to Better Fit Your Style, Consultant
What if your business is a great success but you hate it? You’re
rich, but perennially stressed out, and dreading going to work each
Consultant Linda Case of Remodelers Advantage Inc. in Fulton,
MD, offered tips on how to avoid this kind of miserable existence
at the recent Kitchen/Bath Industry Show in Orlando. “The most
successful companies are the ones that fit the skills and personal
goals of their owner,” Case believes, and she encourages
entrepreneurs to trust their feelings in a particular situation.
She also advises business people to avoid differentiating between
one’s “business” and “personal” self. Additionally, she suggests
recognizing one’s weaknesses and hiring people to strengthen those
areas of your business.
To better balance work and play, Case says designers first must
take stock of their personalities, lifestyles and perceptions, and
then consider the emotional impact of their firms and learn how to
develop them so they meet their needs.
“Take the opportunity to examine why you’re the person you are,”
she states. “[And then] build a business that supports your
To that end, ask questions that will reveal whether your firm
would work best on the “practice” or “organization” model.
According to Case, the former would apply to a boutique operation
where the owner has a lot of personal involvement and participation
in projects, while the latter would better suited for a larger,
more structured environment with more employees, where the owner’s
job primarily involves management of others.
Case further advises asking additional questions, such as “What
is your highest value to the company?” and “What role do you see
taking in three years?” in order to map out a winning strategy for
yourself and your business even if it’s not the most profitable
one. To illustrate her point, she cites a man who’d built a huge
business, then decided he was happier as a one-man operation doing
hands-on carpentry, and went back to that, with great results.
She further advises designers to examine the pricing structure
of their firm’s average job, and consider how that affects a
business. More small jobs, for instance, generate far more
paperwork and require far more salespeople than fewer, larger jobs
that bring in the same gross income. She also cautions against
loading up with commission-only salespeople who may not be the
best, and, thus, may give people a bad impression of your
Turning her attention to the topic of employee retention, Case
offers this advice: “Bring your best to work without dumping temper
tantrums and the like on your employees.” That way, a positive
atmosphere is created, one which will help to retain talented staff
members, she adds.
And to find talented staff members, Case believes it’s sometimes
necessary to get creative. For instance, she says, hiring previous
owners of small businesses who burned out on having their own
company and want to go back to doing the work they do best may be
one avenue to explore.
Lastly, to promote a lifestyle that includes both work and play,
Case suggests working only 50 to 55 hours a week, with two days
off, and two to four weeks of vacation a year. That may sound
unrealistic to some business owners who work 24/7, but Case
suggests starting by implementing such techniques as scheduling