Better is Always Better

I know from experience that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. At 63, I am still learning. I listen to podcasts and read almost every day; I am learning all the time.

As you get older, you have to be very intentional in our learning. The business world keeps changing, so you have to stay on top of it. If you’re reading this, you know a lot about
hardwood flooring. I’m sure that you’re comfortable answering questions about installation, sanding and finishing, and proper care for hardwood flooring. But that confidence
might start to disappear if someone asks you about the financial part of your business, such as specific details about what your exact costs, or the net profit is for each job.

As business leaders, we need to continue improving in all areas of our business, not just our knowledge of flooring. We need to know how the financials work and what things affect them both positively and negatively.

To run a company profitability (not just this week or this month, but the entire lifespan of the company), it is essential to understand the financial part of the business. Income and
expenses are the lifeblood of every company. Knowing how to budget for both can be the deciding factor in surviving in both good times and tough times. Unfortunately, I’ve known too many people who worked hard to build up a great company only to lose it when the economy changes simply because they did not pay attention to their financials and make the changes that needed to be made.

When I was first starting out, I would work long hours every day to make sure our business grew. As Horizon Forest Products grew, it became clear that hard work alone wasn’t going to be enough – I needed to build an understanding of our financials. A strong understanding in business financials is often the difference between a person who works for a flooring company and a person who owns a flooring company. It’s also the difference between having a good company and a great company. Don’t wait until your company is in trouble
to get better at managing money! Start learning and improving today.

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to start learning:

  • Listen to podcasts about specific topics. These are free and you can listen anytime.
  • Take an online class or online training. Some are free, but those with a cost can still make you more profitable.
  • Enroll in an evening class. Local community colleges have very low tuition. Invest in yourself!
  • Bring someone onboard to help and teach you. Surround yourself with good people.

There are also computer programs that can help. I know, for some of you, computers make you even more uncomfortable than finances. But hey! That’s another opportunity to get
better! (And possibly a topic for another time). If you don’t know where to start, it can be as simple as googling “how to learn business finance.”

So, you may ask, “why are you telling me to learn all this stuff? I didn’t really like school that much the first time around.”

I’ve been blessed with running Horizon Forest Products for 25 years now. When I think about Horizon, I don’t think about all the trucks and buildings; I think about the faces of
the people who make the company great. It is a great honor to help them provide for themselves and their families, but it’s a great responsibility too. Business financials don’t just keep the lights on for the business, they keep the lights on for the people who work beside me.

At the end of the day, it’s the people that matter. If you’re like me, you’ll do everything in your power to give your employees opportunities to succeed. As you continue to get
better at managing the company, your team will get better. And having people in the company that are doing well should be part of our success plan. It should be better for everyone.

And better is always better.

David Williams, Vice President at Horizon Forest Products.

To learn more about Horizon Forest Products, visit

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