Uncovering the Floor Coverer
Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a successful businessperson? Well if you ever meet Lamar Prance, owner of Cherokee Floor Covering, he’ll tell you.
Prance has been a small business owner over forty-six years. However, he hasn’t always been in the floor covering business. After graduating high school, he landed a job at Lockheed Aircraft where he would work for six years. He didn’t like it there because of the confinement, so he quit and got a job working for his uncle. After a year, he quit because the job was too demanding and required him to work fifteen hours a day seven days a week. It was then he chose to pursue flooring in order to make a living. He’s been in the floor covering business since 1969, and he started Cherokee Floor Covering in 1975. Prance said, “Life can be tough, but the thing you need to do; is you need always to do what you feel comfortable with. If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t do it.”
Prance believes a successful businessperson needs good values and ethics to run a proper business. Some of the values that Cherokee Floor Covering holds include honesty and respecting the customer; which may sound fairly simple, but both are highly significant. Honesty is a good rule to follow in life as a person because people will respect you more, and will trust you when it comes to doing certain tasks. The second most important thing to value would be the customer. If a problem occurs with an installation a year later, that is within reason, and then they will address it. The bottom line is you got to make sure you address problems and treat people the way you would want to be treated. According to Prance, “communication is the hardest part, if you don’t communicate then it makes a lot of negatives.” You have to be dedicated to the customer and make sure you understand what they want. He also mentions that it is important to make sure you get the information and planning right; before going out on a job. He says, “you can’t wait to do something tomorrow what you should have done today because you will always be behind.”
When asked about how Cherokee Floor Covering compared to other stores prices like Home Depot, Prance said, “I would say when you compare apples with apples, I always like to tell everybody to look at what you have to write a check for.” But for the most part, he believes that his pricing is probably better than other stores. He mentions that Home Depot may have the edge on their finances and a lot of good tactics they use for their advertising. Prance also believes that most big retailers do a fine job in the way they run their business, but he then remarks “We do a better job because were local, and the community that we adhere to we have a better rapport with them. As far as long term, I have had people that have dealt with our business for over thirty-five years.” He believes the bottom line is what you have to pay for something. If you can get a better deal somewhere else, than more power to you.
Prance is proud that Cherokee Floor Covering is a full-service store. They have a dedicated staff who can assist customers in the showroom, installers who measure jobs and estimate costs, and teams to complete prompt installs. Cherokee Floor Covering handles it all. That makes business with them convenient and pleasurable.
Running a business is not always easy. Prance believes that he has been a very blessed man and has not had to face a lot of challenges in his many years of business. However, due to the economic downturn in 2008-2009, Cherokee Floor Covering lost a lot of income. He explains it has been a real challenge to get the business back to where it needs to be. When asked how to handle challenges like these, Prance says, “it’s basically simple, the things you learn growing up trying to do what’s right is the best thing you can do.”
Lamar Prance’s advice for small business owners is that, “you need to set your goals high. You know if you don’t set your goals high, you’re not going to achieve anything. I always try to set my goals higher than I think I can obtain.” By setting your goals higher than you can imagine you may not obtain them, but you will achieve greater things than you would have by not setting any goals.
Through striving towards excellence, there is no doubt you can be successful just like Lamar Prance.