Sharpen Business Procedures, SEN Members Advised

by WOHe

Sharpen Business Procedures, SEN Members

Cincinnati Kitchen and bath dealers “are going to have to become
more sophisticated” in several key areas if they are going to
survive and thrive in the future.

That’s the message that was delivered by Hank Darlington to
members of the SEN Buying Group at the group’s recent fall meeting
here. Darlington, a well-known consultant and Kitchen & Bath
Design News columnist, presented the keynote address at the buying
group’s bi-annual gathering.

Darlington, the former owner of the Sacramento, CA-based
decorative plumbing and hardware showroom, The Plumbery, told SEN
members that kitchen and bath dealers “need to reinvent themselves
and get rolling on the River of Progress and Profit, or drift up
the Creek of Extinction.”

Dealers, Darlington said, need to thoroughly school themselves
in much-needed techniques for business management, and “become a
complete manager.”

This process, Darlington noted, “won’t happen all at once, but
dealers should begin it by setting priorities and realistic time
frames” for achieving certain key goals.

Darlington recommended that all dealers develop a
three-to-five-year business plan, do an annual budget, and generate
monthly profit-and-loss statements and a monthly balance sheet. He
also advised SEN members to carefully project cash flow
requirements, develop a written Policy and Procedures Manual, write
job descriptions and conduct regular job performance

Goals for dealers should include the growth of gross profits to
more than 40%, and the reduction of expenses to 30% of revenue, or

Among Darlington’s other suggestions were that dealers:

  • Set firm goals for salespeople, and tie incentives in to those
  • Develop a formal training program.
  • Become a “one-stop shopping source” for customers.
  • Be creative marketers, “but make your brand you.”
  • Learn the art of time management, and learn to delegate.

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