Go for what you believe in and you will succeed!
Fred Stone attended college at Wake Forest University and knew he wanted to pursue a business career after completion. He began working in the commercial banking sector at Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T) and was selected to participate in their management program. Mr. Stone then received a promotion to their commercial lending team. In 2007 he left and became part of Stone Truck Parts in the roles of administration and operations.
Mr. Stone moved on to Elegant Hardwood Floors in 2009. The company was managed improperly and was not profitable at the time. Mr. Stone turned things around for the company by cutting costs and changing the management structure. Elegant Hardwood Floors became profitable in 2011 and has seen continued growth.
Where did the idea for Elegant Hardwood Floors come from?
The company was started by an individual who had the idea of a well-run, high quality service in the high-end area of Charleston’s builder industry. Elegant Hardwood Floors was opened in 2006 and I joined them in 2009.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I always make it productive by starting off with the most important task for that day. Other duties include project management, management of employees, management of assets, controlling costs, new customer acquisition, and new customer development, it could be anyone of these, but the one that needs the most attention is the task I take care of first.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring new ideas to the management team and other staff members to share them and gain feedback. I approach new ideas as a team as there are 15 people whose opinion is important. If we move forward with the idea, I want to make sure that everyone is on board and committed.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The use of historic materials, either original or reclaimed from the original structure, is a great current trend. We refinish old homes and their historical features. We can also source and provide historical features and floors to new homes.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The ability to see the bigger picture, whether it be for a new product or direction. I am always determined to see new ideas through, despite any obstacles, and make them successful.
What advice would you give your younger self?
To go for what you believe in and you will succeed!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
There really has not been a time where we disagreed. The team generally has a consensus on things.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I recommend that entrepreneurs watch their costs. Don’t let your overhead become too much and sink your ship. You should be attentive and understand all costs, whether it be for employees or marketing, that way you can weather bad times and maximize profits during good times.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The training and growth of people. As your enterprise grows in scale and mass, you won’t be able to everything yourself. It is important to have good people growing in their roles and responsibilities. As they develop and learn, the company will benefit from their participation. This will create cohesive teams and take the company to another level.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I found that taking on too many responsibilities and challenges at one time can create a problem. I prefer to take on a few things and do them very well. I also use our great team at Elegant Hardwood Floors to help grow the company and stay on course with the company goals.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One part of our business includes resurfacing and refinishing various features and floors in the home. This is very profitable for our company and the customers are always very pleased with the results. We put an extra coat or two of finish on the floors to really make the floor sparkle. Customers often refinish the floors for themselves or to sell the home, or they may have an event or holiday which they are hosting. We can complete the floors in one or two days and leave them happy with a beautiful floor!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best money spent was our Employee Appreciation Program, which rewards employees for going above and beyond in work quality, attitude, and employee growth.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I find that something as simple as an updated calendar is quite valuable. This way everyone is aware of who is doing what and where. It also keeps everyone up to date on important meetings, projects, or events. I really like using the group calendar.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I liked Rich Dad Poor Dad because it really teaches about entrepreneurship. It talks about growing up, working, and getting a job in a real world sense, not just what you are taught in school. It teaches you that successful people don’t always go with the status quo. Instead they tend to forge their own path.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you can meet triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.” This is by Roger Kippling and is a great quote.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.