Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 49

When growth does occur, it requires more
skilled staff to meet the increased demand-
and everyone in the industry knows that
hiring and retaining a skilled workforce is
the challenge of the day.

companies employ some outside help,
to have that extra set of eyes on how
they're proceeding," Ludolph says. "But
for those who can't employ outside help,
they really have to dedicate themselves
to setting aside time on a regular basis.
We recommend setting a once-a-month
management meeting to focus on growth
goals-and not be derailed by talking
about unrelated things that might have
happened that afternoon."
Meetings should be used to review
what's working, what's not, and what
needs to be changed to achieve growth
goals-in the short term and long term.
"Learn from your mistakes," Silva says.
"Become a great listener, internally and
externally. Ask questions until exhaustion.
Do your research and avoid group think
at all costs."

7

INCREASE THE
WORKFORCE

When growth does occur,
it requires more skilled
staff to meet the increased demand-and
everyone in the industry knows that
hiring and retaining a skilled workforce
is the challenge of the day. "The shortage
of a skilled workforce is hurting a lot of
companies," Ludolph says. "You have to do
a lot of training. Let's face it. It's currently
unlikely that you will find someone with
experience in the job you want them for."
To find trained or untrained employees,
"you have to pull out all the stops," Ludolph

says. "Leverage anything you can. First
of all, make your company an interesting
place to work. That's very important.
Young people want an environment where
they see themselves as a part of the team
that produces something of value.
"And develop partnerships, if you can
find them in your local area," he continues.
"Not enough people have executed on
that yet, but there are some good training
programs out there."
SeaDek works with some of the
colleges in central Florida, as well as with
the Melbourne High School Academy of
Business and Finance in Melbourne, Fla., to
help tailor and create the company's CAD
programs-and to create future employees
for SeaDek. "That's a big strategy for us-to
create a work force and attract people to the
company," Gardner says.
The bottom line: planning and
executing business growth is simply a part
of running a business. "Regardless of the
size of your business, you need a strategy
for growth," Silva says. "If you are a forprofit business, if you are not growing,
you are shrinking. There is no such thing
as holding your ground.
"Isn't that capitalism?"
Sigrid Tornquist is a Minneapolis-based writer and
editor, and a frequent contributor to the Review.

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Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020

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