August 6, 2013

Are You Working On Improving Your Core?

By Paul Bieber

So, I’m watching late-night TV and this ad comes on to sell a fitness program for every American to work on their core.  Sit-ups, push-ups, jogging and running.  Every fitness guru says to work on your core.  Wait a minute…this is a business blog.  What do I hear business gurus say?  Funny…they say, “Work on your core business!”  Seems like they are all drinking the same orange juice.

First, what is the core of your business?  Is it retail glass, small construction, auto or strip malls?  During the last couple of years, we all took whatever work we could get at the slimmest of margins.  But these times are starting to change and work is becoming slightly more predictable.  So it is time to get back to your core business.  This is what you know best, where you buy at the best prices and have the staff that knows this area the best.  Call it your sweet spot, your comfort food or your favorite rocking chair.  It is where you make the most money with the least stress. 

It might just be time for you to make this decision.  Start chasing the business where you have the greatest strength.  Focus your advertising message to your base.  Give your showroom a do-over with new vendor displays on your core products.  Call the customers you haven’t heard from in a year or two and remind them you are here to help with their needs.  Give your employees some revitalized training on your core products.  Call in your key vendors to help with this.

Do you have a salesperson?  Give an extra incentive for 90 days on your core products.  Create a bonus pool for the whole shop based on sales of your key products.  Create an environment where every installer and counter person talks about your core products with every customer they come in contact with.  Ask your key vendor to underwrite half of this bonus.  It doesn’t hurt to ask. 

Your core business is where you want to have the majority of your revenues during the upcoming couple of years.  This won’t happen without guidance and some gentle prodding from you.