Editor’s Note: Lessons Learned

May 22, 2017 Rick Schumacher

Our third-grade son begins each month with an ever-larger reading assignment. This month, the goal was 222 pages. For a sports-and-Nerfgun obsessed kid, let’s just say that reading doesn’t top his list. So, the last couple days of each month, he and I take inventory of where he’s at, then we sit down together for however long it takes to get it done. And each month, he basks in pride for reaching the goal, and we talk about how it’d be better to read a little every day—to avoid the big, daunting chunk of work at the end. “Next month,” we agree.

Being human, that’s a natural pattern to fall into. For us grownup business types, the distractions are different, but the results are the same. We fall one day further behind on a big deadline coming due. Unfortunately, deadlines in business are seldom defined in advance. Instead, we discover that a competitor has begun doing something a little better and a little smarter. Maybe they embrace a new technology or launch a new service that eats into our sales. Whether it happens because we’re too busy, or we got a little complacent, the results are identical. And they’re not pretty. Here are a few highlights from the issue you’re holding that may help nudge you and your team forward.

Strengthening Customer Relationships. In his column this month, Bob Heidenreich shares some of the secret sauce that helps his independent yard continue to grow. He created a Contractor College for his builder customers that focused on helping them do their jobs better. Whether or not you sell decking, there are ideas here you can use.

Succession Planning. With an industry comprised of so many familyowned businesses, succession planning is one of those things that requires consideration, preparation, and hard work. Katy Tomasulo shares the story of five different companies, and five different succession plans. As you’ll see, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s never too early to start thinking about your company’s future.

Real Issues. Real Answers: Optimizing Deliveries. This month’s issue came from the same dealer whose question about dealing with high fuel prices served as the launchpad for this every-issue feature back in July, 2011. Read what your fellow dealers have to say on this topic, and gain some tips to put a little more black ink on your bottom line.

If you like learning from and connecting with other LBM industry pros, mark your calendar for the LBM Strategies Conference 2017, this September 7-8 at the Omni Frisco Hotel (which anchors the new Dallas Cowboys headquarters and training facility). The conference agenda was crafted to directly address the challenges and topics that you’ve told us you’re wrestling with. Most of the presenters are other LBM pros who’ve agreed to share their insights. To learn more, and to take advantage of early registration discounts, check out LBMStrategies.com.

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