Part 3: How to Make it in the Cabinet Industry - Delegate or Die
Something was wrong.
I was literally going crazy about 3 or 4 years ago when I decided I needed a change.
I could never seem to move forward in the cabinet business for the constant moving backwards. One step forward, two steps back.
I had realized a year or so earlier that I had fallen prey to the viscous sales cycle. Upon this realization, I tried to analyze what I was doing incorrectly as an owner and could not seem to come up with the solution.
The problem is, You Don't Know, What You Don't Know.
I then made what I consider to be the finest business decision I have ever made.
After listening to some Tony Robbins podcasts, one of them by a business coach, I immediately got on Google and searched for “business coaches." I never knew such a thing existed.
After interviewing about 3 coaches, I found the one for me and he is still my coach to this day. Finding someone with manufacturing experience was a must so I didn't have to spend half our sessions explaining what the term table saw means.
My coach Martin Holland, helped and continues to help my business get aligned with our vision.
Defining the Problem
As we looked into my business, Martin helped point out that a lot of this problem I was sensing, actually lied with me.
How could this be?
I had all the skills to kill it on the floor, bang out some drawings, sell to customers, and balance the books...and that was before lunch.
The fact that I was knocking out all of those tasks, was precisely the problem.
This was my introduction to delegate or die.
I learned that it was not only possible for my operation to function without me having to be the battering ram behind everything that happened, but it would actually be much better off that way.
Delegate or Die
Why do I need to delegate? Why can't I just keep doing what I am doing?
You can certainly keep doing what you are doing, but if you want time to finally work on your business, instead of just in your business, take my advice.
If you are eager to better your business and grow beyond just your personal capabilities, you’ll pay attention. After all, you know what the other option is…
Delegation Done Right
Let’s lay a little ground work.
Delegation is not just, “He runs the saw while a take a couple phone calls” or “Hey! Make this delivery because I have a doctor appointment.”
Delegation done right is removing something from your plate that is not moving the business in a positive direction and instead having a qualified person do it for you.
Here are the basics of delegation:
Start small (unlike me)
Start with something to get an easy win. Why not find someone to set you up a weekly maintenance plan and write it down? That person's responsibility is to make a maintenance plan for the entire shop and execute it on a weekly basis.
After a successful month, give that person a raise because he just freed you up, even if just a little, to work on your business.
Then, make a list of things to delegate over time. If an item on the list is too big, break it down into its individual activities and delegate the activities.
If you are still having trouble, round the crew up and talk to them. Ask them what they think you should delegate out to most help the business. Trust me, you will get a response. You may even find a sleeper in the group that surprises you.
Move on Up
Now that you have down an easy one, let's move on to something bigger. Now may be a good time to list the things that you do on a normal basis that are not making the business better and helping the business to grow. From that list, pick the one that will be the quickest and easiest to implement.
This is not an overnight change. Remember, this is changing the course of your business, so don't get frustrated. Remember that the discomfort you feel now, if you push through, will be worth it when you get there.
Make your hiring process more than hiring a heartbeat. Make a process of asking increasingly more telling questions. Questions that don't sound like anything, but the answers can reveal what they are really like.
The main point is don’t settle. If a person is not moving your business towards the goal then replace and try again. Get people that want to be on the bus, not knocking it off course. This will give you employees you can trust to delegate to.
Read further on revealing interview questions here.
Delegation for the win
What does it all mean?
In short, it means you, your business, your employees and your customers win.
You will finally be doing what you were meant to do, working on your business, not in it. You will be amazed at the doors that open from that simple change.
What has it done for my company?
By delegating things like daily production, sales, design, accounting, customer selections, delivery, install, we are on a course that is aligned with our vision of becoming the most efficient cabinet component manufacturer in the world.
Delegation has afforded me the time to solely work on my business. My time now is filled with improving sales methods, marketing strategy and writing awesome content like this!
The Cost of Delegation
If your first instinct is to say. “I can’t afford it”, I will tell you, without a doubt, that you can’t afford not to.
How you like them apples?
You can’t afford not to do this if you want to grow your business and create value for your employees, customers and your own family.
You have earned it.
Thinking outside the delegation box: What if you delegated your entire production process to an outsource supplier?
How could buying your cabinet components simplify your business process and streamline growth?
Now that you know how to delegate, don’t forget the previous key strategy in Making it in the Cabinet Industry: Outsourcing.
I would love to hear your feedback on what you think you could delegate. Lay it out there for everyone to see. Hold yourself accountable to the process and great things will happen.