This is the final installment of our series on Spring cleaning tips for your dealership or remodeling company. This series focuses on ways in which you can tidy up your kitchen and bath business before the warm weather arrives and the building season begins to pick up pace. If you haven’t read part one or part two of the series, we suggest you catch up after reading this portion. Each tip is valuable, and if you’re able to perfect even a third of the 15 tips, then you’ll be on your way to being a more efficient and profitable business.
Often times we get preoccupied with the dominant aspects of our business and forget about the basic fundamentals of running a successful one. However, any great business owner will tell you it’s the little things behind the scenes that make the biggest impact. After all, there are so many minor details and if overlooked, they can morph into serious problems down the line. Here are the final five tips to prepare yourself for the beginning of the busy season and a profitable year.
- Website – When was the last time you updated your website? Does it look like something appropriate for today’s social media-centered generation, or are you living with an early 90’s look? Is all of the information on your site accurate – the brands you carry, staff, images and more? Do all of the links to other sites work? Is the content appropriate for today’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) world? Do you have a Facebook page and Twitter account and are you using them? Are you a member of LinkedIn? If you haven’t yet joined the new age of Internet marketing you better start playing catch up fast, it doesn’t take long to get left behind for good.
- Employee Morale – When was the last time you had a fun employee event? Perhaps a bowling night, pizza party, or a company golf outing? The natural inclination for business owners coming out of one the most challenging economic times in recent memory is to jump right back on the gas in an effort to make up for lost time – and profits. Don’t forget that while the last several years have been stressful on you and your cash flow, they have been equally hard on your staff. Their concerns over impending layoffs or watching friends join the ranks of the unemployed may be unspoken, but they are real nonetheless. Take the time to bring a little bit of fun back to the workplace and remind them how much you value their contribution.
- Employee Reviews – While we are on the subject of employees, when was the last time your team was evaluated? A lot of companies are slowly coming out of wage freezes and beginning to offer at least some long-overdue cost-of-living adjustments. Perhaps you are just beginning to consider returning some voluntary or involuntary wage cuts. Either way, you should really make it a habit to couple every change in salary with a written performance evaluation. I know it takes valuable time, and they are not always pleasant, but this can be the best time you ever invest in your business. Take the time to listen to your team and you will learn more than you ever thought possible about your company.
- Contracts – As with employee files, this is a great time to review all of your significant contracts. Do you have any that are coming up for renewal or may have already gone month-to-month? Pay close attention to items like janitorial services, trash removal, and telecommunications. High levels of competition or still weakened demand mean you can often reduce those costs at renewal. In many cases, you may not even have to wait for the contract to expire – some telecom firms and office equipment (copier) suppliers will actually buy out your existing contract to get your business today.
- Front Door – Not just the door, but the whole public-facing facade of your business. Take the time to critically inspect every nuance of the first impression your clients receive. Are the parking lot and sidewalks in good repair? Is your signage adequate and well-lit? Is your landscaping appropriate and inviting? Walk in through the door and examine what your clients see. Does your lobby or entrance truly fit your image? This is another great opportunity to ask friends or relatives to do the same thing. A fresh set of eyes will often discover simple but important details that can be missed by people who take that journey every day focused on the challenges of a new day.
Thank you for reading our three part series on how to prepare your dealership or remodeling business for the rest of the year by focusing on the fundamentals. We hope you are implementing some of our suggestions and are already seeing the benefits of a laser-focused approach. Keep reading the Dealer’s Voice for more helpful tips on how to improve your dealership.