Image in modal.

We’ve been sprinting a business marathon since things got frenzied in the 2020s. We have finally ended that race to complete jobs before they have arrived. It's been an incredible journey, and now, as we catch our breath, I suggest a strategic pause — a moment for reflection and innovation. As a design-build leader in your market, consider this intentional break. For the next few weeks, let’s refrain from changing, adding or removing anything. No new products, no chasing new accounts. Let’s stop running and simply look, listen and learn.

I understand that many of you have recently returned from KBIS, where you were bombarded with numerous new products vying for a place in your showroom. However, before hastily rearranging spaces to accommodate these arrivals — many created merely to fill booth spaces — take a moment to think it all through. Winter grants you the luxury of time. Seize this opportune moment to reassess and recalibrate your showroom strategy for unparalleled success. Embrace this strategic pause to understand your market’s current trajectory, predict its future and identify simple steps to prepare accordingly.

1. A Breath for brilliance:

Grant your showroom team the space to breathe. This is not the time to stress over where to wedge in the latest products and pursue every potential client. Inspire your team to reflect on their achievements. Take the time to express gratitude individually to your valued customers for entrusting their plumbing fixture needs to your expertise. Recognize the importance of occasional reflection and appreciation, allowing your showroom to evolve as an innovative space rather than simply succumbing to constant pressure to be a decorative plumbing showroom.

2. Reflect on your journey:

Cast your mind back to the tumultuous journey since the onset of COVID. Now, take a concentrated look back and note what you did and did not do well. Ask your team to also take a look back. It is best to take the time now when the events are fresh in everyone’s minds. Then gather all this fabulous intel and allow time to review each sentence. As your mind skips from idea to idea, keep looking ahead and resist the temptation of immediate decisions. Let your mind ruminate as your business breathes and you continue your exploration.

3. Outside the showroom walls:

Now that your mind has shifted into a contemplative mood, step out of your showroom and discover what the design-build world is contemplating. Dedicate time to meet with influential designers, builders and plumbers — gaining insights into their perspective on the past, your showroom’s performance and their expectations for the coming months. As illuminating as your and your team’s impressions are, your clients’ thoughts provide another crucial view of your brand’s perceived strengths, weaknesses and how you can influence the immediate future. And as we say here often, perception is reality.

4. Insights Beyond Your Past:

Over the next few weeks, take a few leisurely strolls around your showroom and jot down your thoughts without the urgency to act. Whether small or large, nutty or obvious, whatever comes to mind, make a note of it. These observations will unveil insights that transcend the frantic situations of the past few months, where the immediate need to fix things was paramount. A moment of reflection may be the key to unlocking solutions and innovations that were previously overlooked.

March 2024 Showroom Dollars & Sense column feature image of coffee surrounded by stacks of letters

5. Engaging your valuable staff:

Now that you have collected valuable insights from your team, influential customers, and yourself, take the time to thoroughly review these comments. Select no more than five key opportunities to act upon. Share these insights with your team, allowing for a collective understanding. Invite diverse perspectives on the chosen topics, recognizing that the best way forward may not always be clear. There is no wrong answer only ideas. By involving your team in this, you tap into a collective intelligence that is better equipped to navigate the intricacies of your unique challenges. This collaborative approach ensures that everyone is aligned on the identified actions, fostering a more cohesive and effective response.

You are now best set to formulate and execute your strategic plan for the upcoming months.*

This pause isn’t a retreat; it’s an invaluable chance to learn from this challenging period and propel your business forward. Please do not let this rare opportunity to sip away. Harness the creativity cultivated during this time and channel the energy to fuel the forthcoming wave of success for your brand.

As you plot and plan your strategy remember the words of wisdom from Brené Brown, “It’s not about being right; it’s about getting it right.”

* Please note that I have consistently emphasized that this pertains to the upcoming months. This could entail a timeframe ranging from four to five months or even extend to 12 to 16, provided that the situation remains stable. Yes, we must remain agile to adapt when unforeseen challenges arise. However, the notion of rigidly planning a strategy for a duration beyond the upcoming months is simply too fragile in today's dynamic and unpredictable environment.

If you would like to discuss this in more depth, please reach out to me at LinkedIn.