Overwork is epidemic in our industry.  I’ve been coaching floor dealers since 2007, and when my clients first come to me it’s heartbreakingly common for them to be working nights and weekends, and putting in 50-70 hours per week.  I’ve even encountered a few tortured souls whose average weekly hours on the job were north of 90.  (Yikes!)

You work very hard as a flooring dealer.  You shoulder the risk that goes with being an entrepreneur.  You provide employment.  You help people make their homes warm, beautiful and inviting.  You give consumers an alternative to box stores and online dealers.  Your dealership is a pillar of your local business community.  You deserve to have an awesome life in flooring: to make a lot of money, and to have a business that’s fun and rewarding and lets you work the hours you choose.  However, if you want to have an awesome life in flooring, you must transition your business from being owner-dependent to being system-dependent.

While I was at TISE, I interviewed the leaders of two major flooring software companies about technology’s role in helping dealers transition to being system-dependent.

“There’s a lot of confusion about the types of flooring-specific software,” said Chad Ogden, President of QFloors.  “It’s important for dealers to understand that there are four basic categories of flooring software.  Estimation, room virtualization, CRM, and ERP.  You need to pick the right software for the job you want to accomplish.”

Estimation software enables you create job quotes quickly and efficiently, even right in the customer’s home.  Room virtualization allows customers to see what different flooring types will look like in their home.  CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tracks the customer as they move through your sales and marketing funnel.  Some CRM’s provide email and other marketing capabilities.  “ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning,” said Ogden.  “It’s the software that does the heavy lifting of helping to systemize the daily operations of your business, such as calendaring, inventory, accounting, etc.”

Knowing your numbers is also important if you want to grow your business efficiently.  After all, that which gets measured gets improved.  According to Fred Kotynski, Chief Information Officer for RFMS, “It’s vital that your software be able to give you key performance indicators any time you need them.  For example, if your goal for the current year is to have overall margins of 40% or more, you need to be able to check regularly that you’re hitting that benchmark, and break it down by sales person, and do it with a single click.  Quickbooks and other generic accounting software can’t do that efficiently.”   

It’s critical that you take the time to educate yourself on the different software that’s available.  “Dealers shouldn’t necessarily rush into a buying decision when looking at software,” said Miranda Golden, Administrative Director for RFMS.  “My advice to retailers is to explore the software and take the time to really understand what you’re buying.”

Finally, realize that software by itself will not make your business system-dependent.  Software is not the system.  Software makes the system you already have in place—or the one you want to put in place—run more efficiently.  For example, every flooring company needs a calendaring system.  As part of that system you need to have a written procedure for scheduling appointments, for communicating those appointments to your staff, how to notify staff of changes, and so on.  This is true whether your calendar is done on paper or as part of your flooring software.  The only difference is the software makes your calendaring system run much more efficiently.  But you still need a calendaring system.  This is true of every area of your business.


To Tons Of Customers!
Jim Augustus Armstrong is The “Coach”

Jim Augustus Armstrong is the President of Flooring Success Systems, a program that equips dealers to double their profits, cut their work hours in half and beat the boxes! Many dealers have totally transformed their businesses and their lives for the better after joining Flooring Success Systems.
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