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Do You Know Your Numbers? Take The Test!

By SEN Design Group on Nov 15, 2019 9:01:31 AM

5 Minutes. 10 Questions, Take this test to determine your level of financial know-how, and how sufficient
it is to successfully grow your operations into highly profitable small business that, if desired, could
include a chain of kitchen/bath satellite showrooms spilling over into neighboring states.

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Do You Have The Courage To Act On Business Tough Love?

By SEN Design Group on Nov 15, 2019 8:45:08 AM

When asked about the single greatest benefit that he received from critiquing a fellow colleague's
kitchen and bath design business, Gary Case (Rockville, MD) wrote: "It may be that the best way to
learn is to teach. It's also the best way to recognize the in-congruence between the advice you give, and
your own lack of compliance with that advice. Living up to what you advise others to do is then hard to

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How To Build Your Business Into An Engine For Wealth!

By SEN Design Group on Nov 14, 2019 10:39:54 AM

Yes, it is very possible to build your kitchen/bath or design/build business into an engine for
genuine wealth. The European kitchen industry serves as an excellent model to emulate. There
are six advantages that your European counterparts have acquired over the last several
decades that are keys to their impressive financial success. Indeed, their action steps have
empowered them to build chains of 20+ successful showrooms that have even spread over into
neighboring countries. What follows is a brief synopsis of each advantage.

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Best Recipe For Durable Business Success

By SEN Design Group on Nov 13, 2019 11:42:20 AM

Research proves that central to any company’s market dominance is something labeled a “SMaC Recipe” – a “set of durable operating practices that create a replicable and consistent success formula.” Indeed, the word “SMaC” stands for specific, methodical, and consistent. Now design firm owners in our industry may very well be specific in developing their floor plans and contractual documents for clients. But, as a group, they are mostly underdeveloped, reactive, undisciplined, and inconsistent in their business practices.

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Are You Truly Ready To Add A Sales Designer?

By SEN Design Group on Nov 13, 2019 11:04:07 AM

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RUSTIC GLAM: A Smart Remodel Marries Rustic and Elegant

By SEN Design Group on Mar 3, 2019 2:06:00 PM

Reposted from AIM Kitchen & Bath |  By Tracy Dickinson, Photography by Tim Abramowitz
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Three Books That Will Change Your Personal, and Professional Life...For The Better

By SEN Design Group on Oct 25, 2018 3:45:31 PM

We could post a list of the "Top Books to Read to Improve Your Business" and scour the web to find ones that we think are great relating to business management, sales, marketing and more.

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Calculating and Understanding The Break-Even Point

By SEN Design Group on Oct 25, 2018 1:51:43 PM

So, you have completed your company’s budget for 2019 – congratulations! The budget gives you a spending plan in support of your revenue goal. And you have also inputted the data into your accounting software package so you can pull an Actual vs. Budget Report every 30 days. This report is a great management tool to keep your business on track to achieve all your financial goals. The most effective businesspeople manage their operations based upon projections and results measured in numbers … not based upon intuition and hope.      

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Using The Break-Even Analysis Year Round

By SEN Design Group on Oct 25, 2018 1:50:49 PM

Most employees probably think their Dealer-Owners are getting rich in this business. Why else would your company need to charge such high prices for a kitchen or bath, right? Now imagine your employees’ response to the news that your company won’t earn Dollar One in Net Profit until it completes $781,277 in projects. That should get their attention!

Topics: Finances
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Why People Succeed - And How You Can Help Your Team Do the Same

By SEN Design Group on Oct 25, 2018 12:45:52 PM

In his book Give and Take, Wharton business professor Adam Grant shares some extraordinary truths about how and why people succeed. He writes: "For many years, psychologists believed in any domain, success depended upon talent first and motivation second. Today, we have compelling evidence that interest precedes the development of talent. It turns out that motivation is the reason that people develop talent in the first place."

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Why Being Bold With Your Pricing Wins New Business

By SEN Design Group on Oct 16, 2018 7:55:37 PM

Having reviewed literally hundreds of dealer financial statements, SEN can say with a high degree of certainty that most practitioners are undervaluing their jobs by at least 15%. On a $2,000,000 operation, that's $300,000 being left on the table. Imagine what that kind of extra cash can do to solidify a firm's financial underpinnings or achieve its growth objectives!

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Never Too Small – Or Too Large - To Buy Better

By SEN Design Group on Oct 3, 2018 4:56:27 PM

It’s absolutely true that a 1% reduction in your cost of sales increases your net profits by fully 1%. But the same is not true of a 1% increase in sales. Yet dealers always seem to focus on the top line.

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Why Being Bold With Your Pricing Wins New Business

By SEN Design Group on Sep 25, 2018 2:01:29 PM

Having reviewed literally hundreds of dealer financial statements, SEN can say with a high degree of certainty that most practitioners are undervaluing their jobs by at least 15%. On a $2,000,000 operation, that's $300,000 being left on the table. Imagine what that kind of extra cash can do to solidify a firm's financial underpinnings or achieve its growth objectives!

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Play To Your Prospect's Fantasies

By SEN Design Group on Sep 24, 2018 10:36:52 PM

Remember when Lehman Brothers went down in September of 2008, and your sales volume dropped precipitously like a large rock falling off a high cliff? Helpless feeling, wasn't it? Even the most senior designers in the kitchen/bath industry could not seemingly make a sale happen back then. Cabinet manufacturers who had just expanded their plant facilities to handle the booming demand of the 2003-2008 economic expansion were just as helpless - aghast at the rapid decline of incoming sales orders.

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Things to Do Before Putting Up That "Out of Office"

By Becky Wiedemann on Jun 15, 2018 3:49:33 PM

It's officially summer which means for many of us, it's time for a vacation! However, as a small business owner, it can be stressful even thinking about leaving the office for a week. Here are a few tips on preparing for your absence.

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More Than Just a Buying Group...

By SEN Design Group on May 11, 2018 10:24:02 AM

SEN Is more than just a buying group. It's a business development group, dedicated to making its members more profitable and successful than ever before. With 6 Unfair Advantages, SEN Members rise above the competition by earning, and learning more. 

1. Financial Know-How 

We’ll help you get to know your numbers, discover what’s not working and learn how to make adjustments that keep the profit rolling in.

2. Purchasing Power

We give you access to reduced product rates and annual rebates that put your average margins way ahead of your competition.

3. Higher Gross-Profit Margins

We’ll help you learn how to market yourself in a way that proves your value and raises your gross profit margin.

4. Sales Professionalism 

Learn how to leverage a consumer-friendly sales process, develop better sales techniques, train recruits and turn prospects into repeat paying customers.

5. Strategic Community

By bringing our members together, we create a supportive community that works toward making everyone involved more profitable.

6. Automation

Our pooled resources allow SEN Design Group to produce revolutionary assets that every member can profit from.

That's it! It's that easy. Business owners who embrace and implement all 6 Unfair Advantages set the company up for true success..and turn it into an engine for wealth!

Want to jump in immediately? The last SEN Business School of 2018 is coming up this July. 

Complete Details & Link to Register Here

For more information on any of the Unfair Advantages a SEN Membership offers you, contact us! We're ready to help you earn more, and learn more. 


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Another KBIS Has Come and Gone...

By Becky Wiedemann on Jan 26, 2018 10:31:32 AM

KBIS 2018 was a great success with an estimated increase in attendance, a definite increase in square footage, and over 600 exhibitors! The SEN Team was in full force both walking the show and presenting sessions during Voices From The Industry. 

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Discovering The Gross Profit Margin To Make Serious Money

By SEN Design Group on Jan 12, 2018 11:31:19 AM

Contrary to popular industry belief, a 40% gross profit margin may not be the magical number that leads to the best bottom line in the kitchen and bath business. The correct number for a particular business may be significantly higher or lower. It really turns on three things: (1) a “market-rate” owner’s salary, (2) the operation’s overhead including a “market rate” rent, and (3) the owner’s desired annual return on his investment.

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Embracing the Pantone Color of the Year

By Becky Wiedemann on Dec 21, 2017 12:45:19 PM

By now you have likely heard that the 2018 Color of the Year is Ultra Violet. It's a bright and vibrant color that brightens up this Winter season. 

Topics: Design Trends
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How To Be More Profitable In The New Year

By SEN Design Group on Dec 19, 2017 9:30:04 PM

The first reason why a bigger top revenue line only marginally affects one’s bottom line is that more errors are made with higher sales volumes; so gross margins typically decline by a few percentage points. Secondly, variable expenses - like sales commissions and payroll taxes - increase with higher sales volumes. And third, more staff people are usually needed to support the higher sales volumes, adding to the overhead.

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Yes, Another Holiday Gift Guide

By Becky Wiedemann on Dec 12, 2017 3:36:38 PM

You’re probably already thinking, really? Another holiday gift guide?! Yup! But we think this roundup of gift ideas is perfect for an office gift exchange, or even something for a recent customer.

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6 Ways to Make A Small Kitchen Look Large

By Becky Wiedemann on Nov 7, 2017 9:22:20 AM

Sometimes a small kitchen is a reality, and that’s okay, but that doesn’t mean it has to FEEL tiny. It is very possible to create an airier feeling in a small space, while creating extra room with a few design hacks, AND still keeping style, personality, and functionality. In no particular order, let the wild faux-spaciousness tips begin!

Topics: Design Trends
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Tucson Fall Conference Recap

By Becky Wiedemann on Oct 25, 2017 12:06:09 PM

Another conference has come and gone and boy, was it a blast! Tucson, AZ was the perfect backdrop for the Fall educational and networking event with Members, Vendor Partners, and Guests.

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The Skill I Needed At My First Promotion - John O'Reilly and Nora DePalma

By Nora DePalma on Oct 18, 2017 9:09:49 AM

John O'Reilly and Nora DePalma of NEXTGen sponsor O'Reilly DePalma discuss leadership and finance as areas they wish they knew more about before receiving their first promotions.

Topics: NEXTgen
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The Skill I Needed At My First Promotion - Barb Buchman, Task Lighting

By Barb Buchman on Oct 11, 2017 4:34:09 PM

The business skill I wish I had for my first promotion was how to be an effective leader to build a high-performing team.

Topics: NEXTgen
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The Skill I Needed At My First Promotion - Gordon Sutton

By Gordon Sutton on Sep 25, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Management was the skill I most needed at my first promotion.

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New Panel Added to NEXTgen Conference

By Nora DePalma on Sep 22, 2017 10:55:50 AM

What do you wish you knew about business success in the kitchen and bath industry when you were just starting out?

Topics: NEXTgen
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NARI CEO: The Business Skill I Needed at My First Promotion

By Fred Ulreich on Sep 14, 2017 3:08:40 PM

My first job out of college was in retail marketing with an international oil company.  Anything and everything to do with service stations, from the refineries to the fuel pumps, that was the business. 

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The Business Skill I Needed at My First Promotion - WarmlyYours NEXTGen Sponsor

By Elodie Pasek on Aug 28, 2017 7:50:19 AM

One thing I learned early on in my career is that learning is lifelong. No matter what level of formal education anyone attains, it is just the start. I always keep learning because business is always changing.

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Handling Objections Successfully

By Becky Wiedemann on Jul 25, 2017 4:38:01 PM

More than likely, you've come up against ojbections from a client before. Maybe, more often than you'd like. But how you handle it can make the difference in ultimately gaining the sale, or not. Dale Carnegie has developed a powerful, structured response to handling objections and a few of the steps are outlined below.

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Marketing Your Integrity Enhances Profitability

By Becky Wiedemann on Jun 12, 2017 3:11:58 PM

Ten years ago Faith Popcorn, the futurist guru, wrote “what will make us buy one product over another is a feeling of partnership with the seller” … “that decency is not only the only way to behave, but decency can also be profitable” … and “we want to buy from a person … a person whom we trust.”

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Prepping Your Business For Sale

By SEN Design Group on Apr 26, 2017 9:17:36 AM

By Ken Peterson, CKD and Leah Peterson, SEN Design Group

Topics: NEXTgen
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The Art & Power Of Collaboration

By Ken Peterson, CKD on Mar 13, 2017 4:15:46 PM

About eight years into the kitchen/bath design profession, I developed a different way of doing business that completely transformed my operation, producing results far beyond all expectations. This new sales process was predicated on four core marketing principles:

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Top 10 Best Practices to Make Your Business Stronger

By Becky Wiedemann on Feb 8, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Having launched the kitchen/bath industry’s first buying and business development group in 1994, the SEN Management Team has had an opportunity to work with hundreds of design firm owners. We have analyzed their financial statements, studied their business models up close and personal, critiqued their operations onsite, and coached owners for many months on end …. and through both good and bad economic times.

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SEN Design Group Expands Kitchen and Bath Education Team

By Becky Wiedemann on Feb 3, 2017 2:16:51 PM

Veteran Dealer Dan Luck to Join as Education Manager

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What is a Kitchen and Bath Buying Group?

By Becky Wiedemann on Jan 18, 2017 12:55:33 PM

Ah, yes. The familiar question. It is usually preceeded with "What is SEN Design Group?," however. After a great week at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Orlando, FL, it seems appropriate to address the often asked question of, "What is a kitchen and bath buying group?" 

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NextGen Matters: A Generational Conversation Begins

By SEN Design Group on Jan 9, 2017 10:00:00 AM

For nearly 20 years, our Founder and President, Ken Peterson, CKD, has had a sought-after business management column in Kitchen and Bath Design News Magazine. Ken, who continues to be active in the company, now oversees education for SEN, and his daughter, Leah, began running daily operations three years ago as Executive Vice President. 

Topics: NEXTgen
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Why Showroom Size And Content Is Critical To Profitability

By Ken Peterson, CKD on Dec 16, 2016 9:14:09 PM

Contrary to popular opinion, a bigger showroom is NOT always better. At least, not if you want your firm to make a healthy profit. It might be good for your ego, for your sales staff’s use to make a good living, and for your vendors who love having so much of their product on display there. But a bigger showroom may not be good at all for your bottom line.

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How To Organize Personnel For Maximum Productivity & Growth

By Ken Peterson, CKD on Nov 21, 2016 2:00:00 AM

Ours is an industry that in many ways is more people-intensive than capital-intensive. To be successful, startups will definitely need proper capitalization (usually through long-term loans) to finance their showroom displays, office equipment, organizational expenses, and 4-6 months of fixed overhead expenses. But good cash flow from assertive payment terms with residential clientele enables most mainstream kitchen and bath firms to not require much borrowing for working capital purposes. That feature alone can make this industry quite appealing for budding entrepreneurs.

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Placing A Value On Your Business

By Ken Peterson, CKD on Oct 24, 2016 2:01:00 AM

There are a number of solid reasons to value your business – even on annual basis. First, if your spouse will inherit the business upon your death, your company should have enough term insurance on your life to be able to buy back the stock from your spouse. That action assumes, of course, that you would like (a) to see your company be perpetuated for the benefit of your staff and your clients and (b) your spouse has neither the interest nor the skill to operate it.

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The Use Of Boldness In Sales

By Ken Peterson, CKD on Sep 29, 2016 1:01:00 AM

Sixty years since the advent of the modern kitchen/bath industry, design firm owners are still not making nearly enough money for the beautiful, functional, and complex projects they design and produce. A bold statement, yes. Here's my proof that dealers are not charging enough for their work. The vast majority:

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The Value of Benchmarking

By Ken Peterson, CKD on Apr 13, 2016 2:00:00 AM

Congratulations are in order! As a kitchen/bath firm owner, you survived both the Great Recession and the Reticent Recovery. Showroom traffic is considerably better. Consumers are more optimistic. You are busy preparing more proposals and closing more sales. Things are finally back to normal after a rough few years.

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Focus on Gross Profit

By Ken Peterson, CKD on Aug 12, 2015 5:00:00 PM

Don't focus on the top line. Gross Margin Dollars - and Gross Profit Percentage - are the two most important numbers on your Income Statement. In other words, it's not how much you sell in volume, it's how much money you make on each job sold. 

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