Are you too busy working in your business to work on your business?
If you are like many lumber yard operators, you are up every day working before dawn and long after the sun sets. You live, eat, breathe, and sleep the business. You know your customers by name and have your fingers on the pulse of daily operations, finance, product and inventory, delivery, ordering and personnel. But is having your fingers on the pulse of everything limiting your longer term potential?
There is a term we like to use, “working in the business verses working on the business”. While the easy answer is you need to do both, in practice this is a challenge for many. If you focus on one or the other, the business and you can get out of balance. Say you are working 10-12 hours a day, how much of that time is spent working on the present and the future? Could you give 2 hours a day towards the future? What could you do with that time?
Here are some ideas to help stimulate your thinking:
- How much time are you putting into planning? Are you reactive or proactive?
- What is your vison for the future? What would it take to get the business to the next level?
- Are your facilities up to date? What about equipment and your technology?
- Do you need to develop a succession plan?
- Could you develop training or mentorship programs and ways to transfer knowledge to your people who could be the potential leaders of the future?
- What would it take to attract more young people to the business for an LBM career? How about developing an intern program?
- Are there policies and procedures that need to be developed? For example, do you have a harassment policy?
- Which areas of the business are in need of new or formalized processes? What would the positive impact be if developed and implemented?
- Do you have a process to evaluate the productivity of your inventory?
- How could your organization work smarter not harder?
- Are evaluating each customer’s profitability and contribution to the business?
- Do you have a customer engagement strategy?
- Are you taking advantage of LBM Associations where you can continue to learn, understand emerging trends and share best practices with non-competing yards?
I suggest you think about the things are you doing on a regular basis and ask yourself if you personally have to do them? There isn’t anyone right or wrong answer and every situation is unique. The important thing is you are in action to change your old routine. If you think allocating 2 hours a day is too much, start with 1 hour a day. I promise the business will survive and you might be surprised who steps up in your operation to fill in.
This article was written by Jack Leary, Vice President and Partner at Impact 180 Consulting Group & Lumber Contacts Inc. Feel free to contact Jack at, firstname.lastname@example.org.