April 24, 2018

What Business Are You Really In?

By Paul Bieber


I am in the glass business and the metal business, and energy, and storefronts, bathrooms, low-rise, mid-rise, high-rise, auto, mirrors, tabletops, and replacements, and more and more and more.

I am in the glass business, and if I don’t take advantage of every customer opportunity, my competitors sure will. You are spread out in your service, your purchasing and your operations; you cannot be good (profitable) in every area.

Write out each of your business categories and ask your bookkeeper where your sales and costs are for each category. This may be impossible if you only have general records, but give it a try. I’ll bet that the categories with the least revenue cost more than they bring in. There comes a time in the life of every business where you have to make a tough decision and this is it. Knock off your bottom three businesses. Free up warehouse space, declutter your website and your yellow pages ads. Ask your salespeople to refer these questions to a friend in the trade and maybe they can then refer their bottom businesses to you. The mirror business is being killed by the big-box stores with their imports. Unless you are a specialist in auto glass, you are not buying enough windshields to get the best pricing and if you match the big boys, you are losing money. Are your construction jobs more than three stories or under? It is really tough to do both. Do you take million dollar jobs with lots of complications and have the staff and the expertise to do it, or are you happy with a one-level strip mall at a quarter million?

It is kind of like, what do you want to be when you grow up?