The Stone Industry Education series – organized by Stone World and the Natural Stone Institute – wound down for 2023 with its final event hosted by Triton Stone Group at its new facility in Austin, TX. The all-day seminar drew nearly 40 fabricators who arrived eager to learn and discuss business best practices to make for a more efficient and profitable shop.
“I don’t have all of the answers, but I have the answers that work for my business,” said Blake Christensen, co-founder of Valley View Granite in Tremonton, UT, who presented the session. Christensen explained to his audience that he grew his business by learning from experiences and improving upon them. He now has a loyal team that runs multiple locations. “Others have different answers that work for them.”
Christensen talked about a unicorn process. “Successful sports teams take a regular player and make them a super star,” he said. “They make them a unicorn” The same can be done with a fabrication business. The way an owner treats and communicates with their employees makes all the difference in building a successful operation.
“A lot of reason I like to own by own business is because its success or failure depends on the person in the mirror,” said Christensen. “When you start to go down a path of bad decisions is when the problem starts. You have to identify it and change it.”
Christensen went on to talk about the importance of mindset. He told attendees to ask themselves, “What am I doing that affects my team in a positive or negative way?” “If you look at changing your organization, it starts with looking at yourself. I had to learn if I want to change mindset, I had to value the people more than the end result.”
The “town hall”-style setup of the presentation encouraged attending fabricators to share experiences and ask questions. The group in Austin was very interactive – sharing their trials and tribulations and taking away new suggestions for bettering their businesses.
In addition to best business practices, the conversation also turned to technical issues when dealing with natural stone, quartz and even porcelain slabs. Quality control and educating customers was also an important discussion.
“Ultimately, elevating the industry is a team effort with everyone in this room,” said Christensen.
The event also allowed time for fabricators to mingle with sponsors to learn more about their products, as well as a tour of Triton’s facility.
The schedule for the 2024 Stone Industry Education series is set and will be available soon. Visit www.stoneindustryeducation.com to learn more.