How to Properly Store Wide Sanding Belts To Avoid Damage

28. April 2020 11:00

 

By Curtis Hicks, Uneeda Corp.

 

Uneeda wanted to give everybody a little bit of education on how to store paper wide sanding belts. I'm actually going to show you some pictures that I recently took at a customer's place, and what you have here is a paper wide belt and as you can see, they have it sitting on the floor.

It's not a good way at all to store a wide belt, especially a paper one, because what happens is this paper basically acts like a sponge. What's going on here is this end of the wide belt is just sucking up water just like a sponge would.  It's going to definitely absorb more water than the other end of the belt will, so what will happen is when you put that belt on the machine, that side gets swollen, and it makes it more difficult for the belt to trap-to-track.

So, the next best solution is to hang your belts. Basically you use three or four inch PVC pipes. At this shop they built a hanging rack out of PVC. That's a much better situation. It gets the belt off the floor. This will definitely help your belts track better if you hang them this way before you put them on the machine.

You'll notice in the video, when the belts were first hung up, one wide belt was rubbing against another. That's another big problem with wide belts: you do not want grain rubbing against grain because what will happen is, you're likely to fracture some of that grain. And then you'll end up getting raised lines when you run the belt, because some of the grains would have broken off. 

The absolute most perfect way to store your wide belts is to hang them on a rack built out of PVC – three- or four-inch PVC – and what's really good about this approach is these PVC pipes are typically are about the size of your idler rollers.

Don't stand sanding belts on edge.
Uneeda is a sponsor of the IWF 2020 Finishing Symposium, August 26. 
Learn more and register>>

The very best way to store them is to go get some PVC - just cut some PVC pipe - and simply lay them inside the wide belt. It does not hurt the wide belts at all, and it has a lot of benefits. For instance, as you can see now, the grain on this belt is not touching the grain on that belt, and that's a great improvement. In the example in the video, these pipes were very freshly put in. But as the day goes on, these belts are really going to straighten out and conform to that PVC pipe, so that when you do pull the belt to put on the machine it slides in real easy.

I hope that's helpful. And if you ever need help, don't hesitate to reach out to Uneeda at Uneeda com. We're always there to help. 

IWF Education: What does storytelling have to do with brand?

28. April 2020 10:57
 

 Presented by:

 

 

Sponsored by: 

 

By: Carla Atkinson, Professional Writer: Atkinson Words

What is your story?

Some business owners are uncomfortable or skeptical when asked this question.

“I don’t really have a story to tell. I just do my work [fill in the blank: plumber, welder, woodworker, electrician, etc.]” or “I just make [fill in the blank: cabinets, tools, furniture, machinery].”

The fact is, every business has a story. Maybe yours is the story of a family business carried on through several generations or a tale of persistence through tough times. Your story may be that your business is your second act — a dream you pursued after an earlier career or line of work.

When you tell your story in an authentic way on your website and social media, in promotional materials or in presentations, people develop more of a personal connection to your business.

Giving people a window into your company’s history can help people to relate to you and trust you, your experience and your ethics.

Your brand becomes not just talking points – “We’re the best at what we do” or “We’re the most experienced ___ company in the business” – but a fully fleshed-out, unique profile that proves those talking points. You take your brand one step farther than a tag line to say, “Here’s the story behind why we’re the best at what we do, and why we’re the kind of  people you can trust.”

So what is your story?

Learn more about how to tell your story during the IWF 2020 session, "Telling Your Brand Story" at the IWF 2020 Education Conference.

IWF Education: Drying/Manufacturing Defects

23. April 2020 09:47

By: Denny Hickman, Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring President

How lumber is dried is one of the most important aspects of how a wood floor performs.  The process used depends on the thickness, species, and cut of the material.

Wood changes dimensions below the fiber saturation point when it gains or loses moisture.  It also shrinks and swells differently in each direction.  Wood shrinks and swells the most circumferentially around the growth rings (tangentially), about half as much across the rings (radially), and only in miniscule amounts along the grain (longitudinally).  For this reason, the different cuts of wood – plainsawn, riftsawn, quartersawn, and livesawn – each require different drying methods.

If plainsawn boards and rift and quartered boards are all dried in a kiln together, the boards will not be dried equally or correctly.  The result is that they will end up with different moisture content levels, which will impact performance and cause wood to become distorted.

Understanding how different cuts of lumber should be dried, and how moisture will affect each type of cut, will help you understand how the floor will look and perform in the long run.  It also will help you to identify different drying or manufacturing defects, determine their causes, and implement their cures.

Learn more on this subject and other wood floor related topics during the "Wood Flooring Symposium" presented by the NWFA - National Wood Flooring Association at IWF 2020.

IWF Education: Motivation

22. April 2020 12:28
 

 Presented by:

 

 

Sponsored by: 

 

By: Matt Wehner, Co-Owner: Cabinet Concepts by Design

How do you motivate your employees in today’s workforce? What can you do to get them to show up on time for their shift? How do you keep them engaged and on task throughout the day?

There are a variety of strategies to motivate your employees, and trust me, I’ve tried a lot of them. The one that has worked best for me is profit sharing. This is a huge step for any company to take, especially a small shop. I have around 20 employees, and admittedly I was scared to show them our financials, much less share my hard-earned profit with them. But I found that after I did this our sales were up. It actually worked!

Learn more about how I implemented our profit sharing program during my IWF 2020 session, "Employee Benefits: How to Attract and Retain Employees" at the IWF 2020 Education Conference.

IWF Education: The Color of Handrails

21. April 2020 14:25

By: Stephanie Bagnall, Georgia Attorney: Accessibility Specialist

Several years ago, my family and I were visiting my grandfather in San Antonio. While exploring the Riverwalk we came to stairs with a handrail. I have cerebral palsy and need to use the handrail to safely navigate stairs. Because this black handrail had been sitting in the sun all morning it was extremely hot and by the time, I got to the bottom of the stairs my hands were burned. All around me others were using the staircase but simply avoiding contact with the handrails.

 

Unfortunately, the same problem exists in Savannah where I currently live. Especially in the downtown area most buildings must comply with historical guidelines as to how the exterior of a building looks. This often includes brass or iron handrails for exterior stairways. These quickly absorb the heat of the sun and become unusable during the summer months, a busy season for tourists.

This is not the first time I’ve had this problem. I grew up in New England which can have very harsh winters. In contrast to the San Antonio and Savannah examples these handrails are so cold that they are hard maintain hold of. Due to my disability the use of mittens or gloves make it difficult getting in and out of buildings during the winter months

This is not just a problem that impacts people with disabilities, but also children and the elderly, who make up a considerable percentage of the tourist population in many cities. All visitors benefit from being able to use the handrails on stairways particularly during inclement weather.

There are a couple of simple fixes for this problem regardless of whether the handrails are hot or cold. One lies in the color of the handrail. White or lightly colored paint reflects heat while dark or black paint absorbs it. Regardless of the color of the handrail clear plastic covers can be placed over the handrail to protect people’s hands from temperature.  Taking this and the building’s climate into consideration when designing and constructing can help ensure the handrails are usable all year.

Learn more about universal design and how to be in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act, register for the "Beyond the ADA - Creating Spaces that Everyone Can Live With" session at the IWF 2020 Education Conference.

 

SBA Paycheck Protection Loans Went Fast, But More Is On the Way

21. April 2020 09:43

By: Laurie Wolff, Certified Global Business Professional

Wow, that went fast. Some of you were able to obtain loans through the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loans, but many were not. Even though the funding levels were larger than anything the SBA has done before, the needs are significantly greater than the funding provided. The SBA has stopped accepting applications unless or until the government authorizes additional funding.

My best guess is that more will be authorized this week. We have already had more people file for unemployment claims than we have created jobs since the end of the Great Recession. Independent contractors and self-employed workers have not yet been able to file for benefits even though those were authorized under the federal stimulus programs. States literally have not had the capacity to process these claims, and as far as I can tell the first of these will start hitting the system next week so expect continued historically high numbers for jobless claims for at least the rest of this month as states play catch up.

Politicians will respond to this with more stimulus, so if you have applications that were pending and not approved, keep working with your bankers because if (when) more funding is authorized, it too will be dispersed quickly. Most state and loan programs were also quickly exhausted but keep in contact with local small business assistance centers and economic development offices in case additional resources become available.

I’ll blog about what the Federal Reserve is doing to stabilize lending and the financial system soon. Some of what they are doing directly benefits large businesses, but if the Fed is able to take the loans guaranteed through the SBA program off the books of banks, that gives banks more ability to lend. Stay in close contact with your lenders. Your bank has a vested interest in your ability to survive this crisis.

I have friends that got the loans and some that didn’t. They applied equally quickly and as far as I can tell were equally worthy. It doesn’t feel fair. I’m glad for those that did get the loans and for their workers. All I can do is encourage those that didn’t to keep at it.

I plan to talk with you about exporting when we meet in Atlanta at IWF, but in the meanwhile I’m happy to answer questions and make referrals to resources, whatever will help you move forward with your business.

Reach Laurie Wolff c/o IWFNetworkNews@iwfatlanta.com   

IWF Education: Need a Survive and Prosper Strategy? Consider What Needs to Change in Your Company

20. April 2020 15:11

 

 

Christine Corelli offers 5 of her popular management sessions at IWF 2020. Learn more and register>>

» BMG12 -  Managing and Motivating Millennials - Plus Are You Ready for Gen Z?!

 » BMG13 - Are You a Boss? Or a Leader? - Would You Work for You?

 » BMG14 - Powering Up for Prosperity - A Program For Women in Leadership

» BMG15 - Business Has Changed - What Needs to Change in Your Business?

» BMG16 - How to Avoid the Family Owned Business Blues and Excel as a Family Owned Business

By: Christine Corelli, President: CHRISTINE CORELLI & ASSOCIATES, INC.

Do the coronavirus and the affect it has had on the economy have you bewildered? Feeling frustrated because there are more downs than ups in your business? 

You are not alone. Covid-19 and the economic woes it has brought about have had an impact on virtually every aspect of business. 

We hear about it all day long. Everyone is under immense pressure to deal with lost revenue, additional financial challenges, and global uncertainties. 

This situation is heartbreaking to me, not only because of the death toll, the death of a very close friend, the cancellations in my own business but also because of this: When I was presenting sessions at IWF Atlanta 2018, attendees and exhibitors with whom I interacted told me their businesses were doing great. Most were experiencing impressive business growth and profitability. 

 

So what. Now what?

Hopefully, we might think that since the economy was fundamentally strong before the Coronavirus that we’ll have a vigorous recovery once COVID-19 passes. The truth is, while I’m the ultimate optimist, no one can be sure. 

 

Doing what needs to be done

To rise to these challenges, businesses have downsized, put people on “furlough”, and retrenched. Reduced hours and reductions in wages have been put in place. These cost-cutting measures are painful but vital to survive what is often referred to as “The Perfect Storm.”  

 

The questions remain

While most business professionals have decided to “wait and see what happens” and ride out this storm, the questions remain:

  • How long will this last?
  • What else should we do now to run our businesses without going under and position ourselves for a successful future?

 

Being proactive -- the best way to go

You can’t control what is occurring, but you can control how you react to it. These situations separate the weak from the strong. They are akin to what might be referred to as Economic Darwinism—the ultimate survival of the fittest. In reality, it’s the smartest, most creative, and most proactive businesses that will not only survive but prosper in the future.

 

What else should be done? 

Because every business is different there can never be a “one fits all” solution. Nevertheless, taking the right actions will help protect your company and prepare you for future success. 

Don’t simply handle the impact of the economy by downsizing, reducing hours or wages buy looking deeper into cost control, reexamining your competitive strategy, improving efficiency and building relationships.  

 

The following actions to consider:

 

Examine your business processes to improve efficiency

Implement changes in your business processes. Analyze every function, procedure, policy, and aspect of your business. This process of pulling your business apart and giving it intense scrutiny will help you to find ways to not only cut costs but improve operations. 

For example, you might consider centralizing job functions so you can operate with fewer administrative people or fewer people overall. Work to create a highly effective and efficient infrastructure for your company that will put you far ahead of the competition when the storm subsides. Do a reality check for every single function in your company. What would be the consequences of not having that particular position? This is a tough job but, but you have to make tough choices.

 

Examine the touchpoints of the customer experience

Take the time to formalize systems and procedures that work. Determine how you can provide a superior level of service than your competitors and demonstrate a higher level of caring and professionalism. Make every effort for your customers to do business with you—now and in the long run. Create the highest standards for customer service and establish “guiding principles” for how your staff will treat customers. 

Your ultimate goal should be to provide a flawless service experience. Prepare a manual that documents everything involved in customer service so your entire staff has a playbook they can follow and get the right result every time. 

 

Renegotiate your contracts and providers

If you haven’t already done so, review your costs for insurance, office equipment, phones, uniforms, vending machines, water supply, utilities—any service or product that represents a large portion of your expense load. Ask everyone for a better deal. And that includes your banker and health-care provider.  

 

Enlist your staff’s assistance in identifying nonessential expenses and avoiding waste

Far too often, businesses have underutilized employees' suggestions and ideas. They rarely hold brainstorming meetings. You will be amazed by the creative ideas your team can come up with if you make the meeting and the exercise interesting and collaborative. 

Hold a meeting to discuss how to avoid unnecessary spending and cut costs. Help your staff to understand that, talent aside, cash flow is the name of the game. 

Break into teams and have a reward for the team that comes up with the best ideas. Let them know no detail is too small and little things can make a big difference to your bottom line. Provide a few examples such as shutting down their computers at night, shutting off lights, keeping heat and air-conditioning at a minimum, going easy on the gas pedal when using company vehicles, and avoid unnecessary driving. 

After your initial meeting, establish an internal team of “cost specialists” from different departments to make suggestions on finding ways to minimize expenses and to increase accountability. Employee involvement is the key to cost control. Providing small rewards will often elicit great ideas on cost savings that will reap impressive results. 

Another good reason to conduct this session is that is an excellent team-building activity. If you want to survive and prosper, teamwork is essential. 

 

Enlist your staff’s assistance in surveying them to answer the following questions:

  •             What, in your opinion are our strengths?
  •             What should we keep doing?
  •             What should we stop doing?
  •             What needs to change?

 

Boost your marketing and advertising 

Cutting costs is a smart move, but not when it comes to marketing and advertising. Boost your marketing and promotions efforts. Failure to do so can impede your presence in the marketplace and lower your chances of acquiring future business. Instead, consider changing the style of your ads so they are different than your previous ads. Make them more eye-catching and appealing. 

 

Redouble your efforts 

Spend more time on the phone and redouble business development and relationship-building activities. Your competitors may be asleep at the wheel and are just waiting until the economy turns around. You and your sales team should be the ones to forge ahead.  

 

Add value – but make sure it is worth it

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that throwing something in for free is adding enough value to impress customers. Create a value-added offerings package or program that will make your customers say “WOW.” 

Use focus group research to determine what your customers really want. Tap into your creativity to think of what you can do that your competitors are not doing and use it to truly differentiate yourself in the market. 

 

Assist key customers in every way possible

Work with key customers to assist them in any way you can in the downturn. Reach out to them and show them you care about them. Show them you understand how their business has been affected. For example, help them to manage and maintain their existing equipment more efficiently to help reduce their costs. Offer your assistance in every way possible. This is critical to do during tough economic times and will help you to protect your turf when competitors attack. 

These actions will help tie you closer to them when the economy rebounds. You will find that customers are extremely loyal to those who help them during an economic downturn. 

Reconnect with past customers. Make queries to find out more about their present situation. If they were customers in the past, there is a good chance that they can be customers in the future. Never give up the opportunity to bring them back into the fold. Invite them to these events as well. 

 

Show your customers you appreciate them 

Make sure your customers are made to feel important—very important. What has your company done lately to show your customers that you appreciate them?

 

Get your “house” in order 

    

Staff 

The time could not be better to get your house in order. Evaluate your entire staff. Who are your high contributors and long-term players? Who are the best “team players”? Who works best with customers, employees, and business partners? Who best fits the vision of what you want your organization to be and where you want to go? Who can “play more than one position?” 

Judge employees on how well they demonstrate your core values, how well they work with others, their technical ability, the quality of their work, their level of productivity, the level of service they provide and the attitude they bring to your customers and their co-workers. Judge your managers by their leadership skills and ability to execute your competitive strategy. 

Hard as it is, remove anyone who might hold your team back from success. Then, do everything you can to retain your top performers. Provide them with small rewards, appreciate them, and give them big recognition. You can’t afford to lose them. If need be, consider where you might transfer top performers to other departments instead of letting them go. 

 

Training

When the economy slows, it is the ideal time to invest in your employees—especially when it comes to training. Unfortunately, many businesses have taken training out of their budget. The tendency is that they look upon training as strictly an expense and not as an investment in the future. While it is important to control expenses, training is an expense that affects employees’ skills and knowledge. 

World Class dealers know how important it is to be a learning organization that learns faster than their competitors. Training builds organizations. Sales increase. Mistakes are avoided. Productivity is increased. Morale is improved. 

Make continuous learning and improvement a strong part of your strategy for survival and success. Provide training on leadership, communication, teamwork, and customer service skills to everyone in the company and make sure these skills are applied. Never assume your staff automatically knows how to handle every situation and all types of customers. It is your job to provide them with the knowledge to do so—appropriately and in keeping with company policy. There are numerous on-line programs you can utilize.

Enable your workforce through training, then empower them to make decisions to serve customers when all of this is over.  

 

Culture – Everyone is “in Sales”

Make it a major strategic initiative to radically transform your culture into one of “High Performance.” Review your core values and establish “guiding principles” on how everyone should demonstrate the values of honesty, integrity, teamwork, respect, customer focus, accountability, excellence, health, safety family, and social and environmental consciousness, and your other core values.

Set achievable and ideal goals for sales. Inspire your sales team by showing them the commissions they will make instead of the figures you want them to hit. Be accessible to them and help them to close sales. Also, ask them to identify ways the entire company can better support sales and dramatically improve customer service.

 

Leadership – Everything starts and stops with it

Remember whose job it is to keep your staff motivated through challenging times…YOURS! It all starts at the top. Through challenging times, it’s always up to the leader to keep his or her people motivated. Display dynamic leadership. Set the example for cooperation and service excellence Treat your employees as well as you treat your best customers. Demand the same of all managers. Adopt a “Zero Tolerance for Bad Bosses” policy in your company. 

As a result of this commitment to get your house in order, your organization and team will become the highest quality it has ever been. You will be well-positioned to prosper in the future. 

 

Invest in technology and equipment that reduces your operational cost, improves quality, and increases your contact with the customer.

Use technology as the driver and the tool for business growth, increased productivity, improved communication and connectivity with customers. If your software is more than five years old, it’s time to upgrade. There are new and affordable technologies being created every day that can make a big difference in your bottom line. Obtain assistance from experts on technologies that will best suit your needs.  

 

Visibility is as important as ability

 

Attend IWF ATLANTA. Take advantage of the excellent education and networking opportunities it provides to form relationships with peers, suppliers, and industry experts. Keep in mind, that often the strongest relationships are formed during tough times. Do say hello if you attend one my sessions.  

 

Change the way you think. Don’t let the economy steal your enthusiasm.  

 

With so many people worried about the future of their business (with good reason), it's no wonder so few are enthusiastic these days. Perhaps we should learn from the wise. I believe Walter Chrysler said it best: 

 

"The real secret of success is enthusiasm. 

Enthusiasts are fighters. 

They have fortitude. 

They have staying qualities. 

Enthusiasm is at the bottom of all progress. 

With it, there is accomplishment. 

Without it, there are only alibis." 

 

With this in mind, how about taking Chrysler's advice? Regardless of your circumstances, make every effort to stay afloat and refrain from losing your enthusiasm for your business. Is it easy? Of course not. But if you lose your enthusiasm, your customers and employees will sense it. When the economy is down, you need to be up. If you are exhibiting a “survival” mentality, change it to a “positioning for prosperity” mentality. 

 

The Bottom Line 

You will agree that business has changed. There is no “business as usual.” Execution… taking action on smart decisions must be a strong part of your survive and prosper strategy. It will give you the staying power you need to meet the current challenge…and come out ahead. 

 

To see more from Christine, register for one of the sessions she will presenting at the IWF 2020 Education Conference. Check out more about Christine and here sessions here.

 

 ©Copyright, Christine Corelli & Associates

Christine an author, speaker, and consultant. She has been a popular presenter at past IWF events. To learn more, visit www.christinespeaks.com or call (847) 477-7376

IWF Education: Finding and Training New Employees Through Apprenticeships

17. April 2020 15:27
       

By: Brett Miller, NWFA Vice President Technical Standards, Training & Certification and Stephanie Owen, NWFA Vice President Education

The United States is facing a skilled labor crisis.  For decades, high school students have been attending college, leaving millions of skilled trade jobs unfilled each year.  In 2020, the number is estimated at 31 million.

 One obstacle to filling skilled trade jobs is that they are viewed as low-paying, but the lumber industry employs more than 350,000 people with an annual payroll of more than $3 billion.  Many are high-paying jobs in rural communities, yet potential candidates often lack the necessary skills.

 One way to combat this issue is through apprenticeships.  The National Wood Flooring Association has established a Wood Flooring Specialist apprenticeship that has been approved by the U.S. Department of Labor.  The program helps employers identify qualified candidates in their local communities to fill mission-critical jobs.

 If you think the skilled trades gap issue doesn’t affect you, consider this: in April, a popular job search site listed more than 75,000 skilled trade job vacancies.  The situation is projected to get worse as Baby Boomers continue to retire at a rate of 10,000 a day, creating even more vacancies.  With numbers like these, it makes good business sense to be proactive and use apprenticeships to attract qualified employees.

Learn more on subject and other wood floor related topics during the " Wood Flooring Symposium" presented by the NWFA - National Wood Flooring Association at IWF 2020.

 

 
 

Tags:

IWF Education - Top Five Reasons Lean Programs Fail

17. April 2020 14:09

The road to adopting Lean Manufacturing in a woodworking plant is not always smooth, but well worth the effort. At IWF 2020, a day-long symposium, Quantum Lean, will cover the fundamentals, and get you started toward continuous improvement and increased efficiency in your operation. In this video, presenters Lynn Thomson and Brad Cairns show why they are among IWF's most popular presenters. Learn more about the Quantum Lean Symposium and how to register below. 

By Brad Cairns Lynn Thomson

Quantum Lean is a full day Lean Symposium for people who are ready for change, who want more from their existing resources and who want to start the move to manufacturing excellence. The goal of this Symposium is to walk away with a clear direction and action plan to kick off your Lean Journey. Save thousands of dollars! We are going to give you all the tools you would get from one on one consulting, and then some!

Learn more and register for Quantum Lean, August 24 at IWF 2020.

We are going to unroll the “Lean Road Map” so you can not only see where you are at, but where you are going. The day will be jam packed with live flow simulations to see Lean in action. Ever thought: "I'm ready for this journey, but my people aren’t?" If this sounds familiar, fear not, we are covering people development as well. Despite what you may think, most people love Lean once they begin to understand it.

No stone will be left unturned, from setting up team leaders & lean coordinators, Gemba walks, study materials, mentorships & Lean tours. This will be a full emersion that you cannot miss. If you’re a numbers person and increasing your throughput by 30-50% interests you, don’t miss this opportunity to take a Quantum leap forward over your competition.

As a bonus to taking this symposium, we are going to take you on a tour to Japan without leaving the room! Show you what manufacturing excellence looks like. We are going to show you and teach you what we had the privilege of learning from our Japanese mentors. Valuable words from Ritsuo Shingo (Son of Shigeo Shingo, creator of theToyota production system), see a culture and a way of thinking that is bound to be transformational. Smart people can’t believe it’s this simple.

LEAN IS FOR EVERYONE. Whether you run a manufacturing company, a service operation or an office environment, the tools and techniques can be applied to every process. If you are an owner or manager of a company, and you’re looking for that competitive advantage that is not just a flash in the pan or a price war, Lean thinking is your ticket. It is not just for the automotive sector. Let us show you how these tools and techniques translate perfectly into any wood manufacturing operation. What is your strategic plan to stay ahead of the competition? Perhaps a little Lean thinking is just what your organization needs. Learn more and register 

IWF Education: The Importance of Suppliers & Customers

15. April 2020 16:51
 

 Presented by:

 

 

Sponsored by: 

 

By: James Fox, Owner: Fox Woodworking

This may seem like an obvious title to any business person, especially the owner of a one or two person woodworking shop.  I encourage you to read along, though, to learn more about how both suppliers and customers are important to your business.

Suppliers

In the woodworking business, you may have suppliers for the following services: hardware, lumber, plywood, finish, machinery, tooling/sharpening, etc. In order to work efficiently and effectively with your suppliers, the most important factor is your relationship. Nope, it’s not price, delivery time, or any other component of the system. It’s your relationship with them that is the crucial part of your business. And not necessary about how they treat you: it’s how you treat them. Be sure to pay on time, develop friendships with the sales staff and – especially – the drivers. Also be loyal, and finally, don’t be intimidated. How you treat them will impact how they reciprocate. You can control in this relationship based on your behavior.

Customers

Your customers more than the end-users of your products. Customers can also include contractors, architects, designers, and even other shops. Just like suppliers, your relationship is what’s important with them because your business lives or dies here. Also like suppliers, it’s important to treat them well. Be sure you always deliver a quality product because you are as much of the product as the cabinetry. You should sell your personal connection to the job: remember you are the artist – not just a hireling. And last, but certainly not least, charge well for your work and time.

To learn more: I encourage you to attend my session "Running a One or Two Person Shop: How to Make it all Work" during IWF 2020.