Altitude can drastically affect the performance of any type of gas aspirated engine; it can also affect the human body by decreased oxygen…where am I heading with all of this? In the business world and certainly prevalent in the building supply industry, you have to consistently adjust your business engine, and if you don’t, you will be struggling to run at optimal performance. I’m not necessarily leaning towards or promoting diversification on product offering or services, something we all have discussed during our FBMA regional meetings.  Instead, let’s look at other areas that we all need to fine tune or consistently adjust:

A. Product Knowledge – Is your staff getting educated on products you sell on a monthly basis? Do they really know the products as well as they should? Look at your product training schedule and ask yourself, “Can We Do Better?”

B. Product Offering – Are you stocking the products that totally support your customers? Are you surveying your sales staff and counter staff on what the customers are asking for? Yes, it is difficult and somewhat impossible to stock everything (that’s where our wholesale suppliers really come into play), but make sure you’re supporting the needs of your customers, especially when there is commonality amongst the request from your staff.

C. Follow Up – So important. You spend a great amount of your time preparing quotes, prospecting and networking, but it all goes to the waste basket when you don’t follow up…enough said here.

D. Attitude – We all get burned out, stressed out, maxed out and so on, which in many cases (for most humans) can put a damper on our attitude. I can’t stress enough the importance of taking time for yourself, if you don’t have time, then make time! Remember, your attitude affects everyone around you. How do you want your team to operate, with a positive attitude or a negative one?

E. Teamwork – Attaining perfection, success and a good livelihood doesn’t come easy. Chances are it took a team to get there, and like every team a good coach makes the difference. So ask yourself, are you a good coach? Are you a good sales person? If you feel you’re lacking in your area of expertise, communicate with your team or team leader and adjust your game plan for a better chance of winning the game.

F. Commitment & Communication – Staying focused and committed to your job makes the difference.  The biggest problems arise when the communication chain is broken. When this happens, it could put a business out of business; it could put a sales person or manager out of a job. The bottom line is poor or no communication equals unhappiness and failure. Top performing companies have outstanding communication and commitment which also equates to happiness and success. Where do you or your company stand?

Adjust for Altitude…It could make the difference, both personally and professionally. Good luck!

George Fishtorn II is the general manager for Kimal Lumber, a dealer in Florida. He is also the chairman of the Florida Building Material Association for 2012. This piece originially appeared in the FBMA's August 10 newsletter.