Need Help? Call Us 415-423-3313
Need Help? Call Us 415-423-3313
  • Welcome to The Forum. Please login or sign up.
March 04, 2024, 01:06:27 am


Welcome to our new upholstery forum with an updated theme and improved functionality. We welcome your comments and questions to our forum! Visit our main website,, for our extensive supply of upholstery products, instructional information and videos, and much more.

Well That Was Fun.... NOT....

Started by Mojo, September 28, 2019, 10:27:40 am

Previous topic - Next topic


I don't care if I move a shop again for a long time. What a royal pain in the ass. We were so socked in with RV & commercial awning orders not to mention was booked solid on our RV parts & service side. It was a real dance with the schedule but we got-er-dun.

The only thing that saved us was we didn't get any dealer orders which are 24 hour turn arounds. The staff did an awesome job and we never missed a beat. Our sewing operation and stainless production operation was shut down for only 3 days. Our parts and service divisions stayed up and running despite having to chase down and find inventory.

We are all moved now and running full speed again.



Congratulations - well done with the efficiency of a marine !  Remember your office comes last - is the coffee pot close by and can the crew hear you cursing when your office door is closed ?

All the Best


Thanks Steve. Ironically myself and another Marine worked hard to get the building ready. Funnier yet I called a moving company
called " Always Faithful " that we have used in the past. He is a Marine and hires nothing but Vet's. 2 of the 4 movers who showed up were Marines.

In regards to the building, yes I do have a nice new office but rarely use it. I only go in one morning a week. I work from my home office and leave the day to day operations to our managers. I do go in for admin meetings and staff meetings but otherwise I leave them alone to do their jobs. I have relegated myself to part time retiree and now do nothing but marketing programs and business development. Otherwise I have gone full circle. I am right back to what I was doing before in the corporate world but this time making us money rather then some client or other company. Thank God we have awesome managers now that allows me to pull back on day to day operations and focus on expansion through marketing and overall business development.

I will post this here. It is a Marine Corp's motto - I-A-O............ Improvise, adapt, overcome.......:)




Congrats. Impressive accomplishment.  Enjoyed the read!

Regarding the

Improve - I

Adapt - A

Overcome - O

Under each of the alphabetic titles :  Which carries the most weight going forward?  All are very
important, this may not be easy to answer.  Your answer to "O", would be particularly interesting.

Did it primarily change a physical obstacle or change policies? 

It would be interesting to hear under that effort what were the biggest issues overcome?

You will be back into the operation, difficult to expect you to sort of "fade".

Total number of employees your company has grown by ...........has to be significant. 

Enjoy the new ride.



Doyle, adaption is one of the most important aspects of that motto. You can identify an issue but you will never overcome unless you ADAPT.

Taking that motto from a military perspective and applying it to business equates to you having to constantly adapt to changing markets, products, consumer choices, technology, materials, operating costs and the list goes on. A business owner who adapts will overcome the obstacles.

I work from a strategic planning process which I learned back in my corporate days which never gets old or outdated. The company I retired from used this process to plan for the immediate future ( 1 year ) as well as the near future ( 5 year ). Our planning process was divided into these two stages.

The one thing we always did is remain flexible so we could adapt to any changes in the market or technology that we didn't identify
so we could stay just ahead of the curve in our industry ( power and thermal generation ). The 5 year stage always changed
as we identified new processes but many of the items we initially identified remained. We just made changes to processes we used to arrive at the goals we set.

This is how we have grown our own businesses. While I address the day to day issues I always am looking towards the future.
Small businesses have to do this so when they make changes they wont result in costly mistakes. A large company with deep pockets can afford to toss out ideas and start over but a small company cannot. A perfect example of this is I identified
the need for a new building in the future so we started working towards that goal. At the same time I also identified a major expansion to our current business model in the future so the new building will generate additional income which will help us
move towards our 5 year goal of this major expansion. If we went directly towards major expansion we probably would have struggled and put all 3 companies we own in jeopardy, including bankruptcy. It is all about controlling growth, planning, looking into the future, managing your current resources so you can arrive at your destination. Does that make sense ?

I also should mention that 1 and 5 year strategic planning for small business owners should also include your exit strategy. Otherwise if you are getting up in age like me you need to include in your plans eventual retirement.

I have mentioned before here that any business idea is not a sure thing. The smart business man will research it till the cows come home so he can stack the deck heavily in his favor so he has a much better chance at success. I have had 50 product or business ideas in the last 2 years that I have tossed into the trash can simply because my research in the end proved it to be too risky. But I never stop thinking. :)



One of your major points is never get complacent, continue to analyze your business activities - which
includes the near term (1yr) and the longer term (example  5yr).

I can identify with that management idea fairly quickly - for example:  The market in auto repairs -
seat maintenance is a fine example.  It pays us to look at what sells, what original materials are
used in the building process, and equally important is start early planning an inventory while supplies
are available and at the lower price.

This strategy will reduce a lot of problems later on when the work comes into the shop.  Consumers
want to get their transportation repaired back to originality and the sale comes easier to the shop
who planned ahead for that event.  Most need their seats fixed quickly.

Even small shops can get ahead with good attention to these type of marketing issues.

Good information,

Really appreciate your sharing.



I can only imagine the huge changes you have seen in the automotive sector Doyle. Car seats used to be so straightforward but then they came out with all kinds of different fabrics, heated seats, air bags in seats, etc. They must be very complex in some cars.

I know every year RV awnings change. Assemblies are different, new technology is added including LED lighting, mechanisms, motors, projection changes when deployed, etc. It seems every year we have to go to the manufacturers and request parts diagrams and talk with engineers to go over changes. It used to be sewing a replacement fabric for an awning was a simple task. Now with casement awnings and the mechanisms the sewing has to be precise or the assembly will not work correctly. You can imagine that having to replace a 22 ft awning is expensive and not something you want to do because one end was 1/4 inch to long or short. It becomes a science in knowing how much length you will lose over a distance of 20 ft from gathering and then add that to the seams before sewing.

We have one assembly that we do fabric replacements for and they are a royal PITA. It took us a year and several failures ( and a lot of money ) to arrive at perfection but it has paid off. Outside of the OEM manufacturer of the assembly we remain the only company in North America that offers replacement fabrics for these assemblies. No other aftermarket company wants to touch them because they are so tricky and risky to make.

This is what has accounted for our growth - finding niche markets and then exploiting them to the fullest. I spend countless hours weekly looking for these niche markets and sometimes drive myself nuts. But I understand that continued growth will come from new opportunities. :)

Looking at the furniture sector, have you guys had to make a lot of changes and adapt different techniques for today's furniture ?



Yes Mojo,

In auto there are so many brands, probably a combo of your A and O categories are most of the challenges in both furniture and auto.  For example how to disassemble newer car seats is quite
different than working on antiques.  The question:  "how does this come apart or off" frequently, more
so on the newer cars.  Often, it requires digging in to figure things out or on occasions, we do research
where ever the related info is available.

Even in furniture, it isn't all straight forward - the same,  plus we review all the techniques when info
is available.  Sometimes it is merely due to differences in shop technology and newer manufacture.

We are usually always in a state of learning in terms of what equipment, how to pattern, and with
what supplies.

Some customers ask:  "how long did it take for you to learn your trade?"  - the honest answer is
"I'll let you know"!  Because there are always new things to learn about in the work.

One bigger difference in your work to ours is inventory.  We would have to get more diversified  to
get into bigger markets.  Bigger markets, more employees, working in a more specialized manner.

Small business is what it says, small and it leaves challenges in all our activities.

Companies that do most (and more!) of what we do go to bigger efforts because they are related
to more as manufactures.

Small custom people in our trades are shrinking.

It all keeps one in the business thinking!

A direction, like yours is a smart but challenging diversion.

I remember when seamless (molded) carpeting came into play - automotive.  That by now is more competitive and difficult to operate.

Thanks and take care,  more later.