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Better Business Decisions
Show Notes

UNCHARTED: Different Perspectives Lead To Better Business Decisions

Facing uncertainty can be challenging – being a business owner facing uncertainty is tougher.

Red Direction helps you [fast track and] grow your business – authentically, pragmatically, and resiliently.

Start your journey HERE!

Starting the conversation:

With attention to the details that make up your unique selling proposition and the way your company does its work, the organization can successfully adapt and thrive through the external and internal ups and downs all businesses navigate. Taking the time to manage your time is the not-so-secret requirement to success. Time can be creative, and interestingly, the constraints of time encourage us to stay resourceful.

The three takeaways from this program are: goal endings are important; continuously look for what can be next; and good ideas can come from anywhere. Jess Dewell talks with Kevin Kamali, Co-Founder at EA Home Design, about being tenacious and going for the big goals.

Reaching the next level of business growth brings new challenges. Deciding how to approach issues and snags when in the middle of the day-to-day provides a guidepost to use. Kevin Kamali, Co-Founder at EA Home Design, shares his experiences of growing while maintaining a strong connection to his family, friends, and interests.

Host: Jess Dewell

Guest: Kevin Kamali

What You Will Hear:

Being in business with your best friend, you can lean into each other’s strengths.

Decisions and priorities leverage how goals are designed and how they are executed.

Be resourceful and get to the end of the project!

We know the starting line and know where we are going.

Proactive communication with all involved is required for success.

Time management when done well builds in adaptability and flow.

Transcript

Kevin Kamali
There are things very tricky. I mean, it’s really difficult. You cannot see everything in front of you, but you cannot find the problem. You know, don’t give up.

Announcer
This is Uncharted, a series of candid conversations about facing uncertainty. When we are called upon to be courageous, the strength of our leadership is tested. Red Direction has developed the Fast Track Your Business program to help you stay aligned to your business’s True North. Jess Dewell is your guide. Jess brings you a 20-year track record of business excellence, where strategy and operations overlap. Your Path comes from consistently working from the special place your unique True North. Now, here’s Jess.

Jess Dewell
Hello. Welcome back to the Bold Business Podcast. And you want to know something, something that is really important to me is to always remember, we don’t do anything in this world alone. We didn’t arrive here alone, we won’t. And if some people will think we’ll end alone, but I don’t believe we end alone. Until I get there. I won’t know for sure. But just before we like dig into the philosophy of the world and of life, let’s just talk about our business for a second, our business in the fact that we have customers we serve, we have people we work with the people we work with most of the time, we get to have some say in the choice, sometimes we don’t. And all the time there is an opportunity for growth, because of my bad day, or your bad day, or a weird experience that has happened in the world, or something else that has shown up that throws a wrench in the day to day of the business workings. And in the grand scheme of things. What do we do, we take one step ahead, and then we’ve taken another step ahead. And then we figure out how to navigate it in the middle of everything. Because the path you take is your right path. So you’re listening to this, you can go see all of our programs at RedDirection.com. You can also listen to them there, find the podcast platform of your choice, subscribe, and you’ll be able to hear the, this conversation that I’m having with Kevin today, there and all over social media. So make sure that you are following what we’re up to. And I will tell you ahead of time, this conversation is going to be meaty, it is going to be deep. And then it’s going to end in the middle. Because the Fast Track Your Business Today Program receives an uncut conversation of the entire length. So if you want to hear everything Kevin has to say, which I know you will, it is important to go to Fast Track Your Business today.com Check out what that’s about, and go get the entire uncut program. Kevin, I am so glad to have you here today. Welcome to our show.

Kevin Kamali
Thank you Jess thank you for having me on your show.

Jess Dewell
You are welcome. I should probably tell people about you. So I’m going to start and then you’re going to pick up and keep going sound good?

Kevin Kamali
Yeah, sure.

Jess Dewell
All right. Okay, everybody, EA home design was founded, co-founded by Kevin Kamali. And what I found really interesting is that the other co-founder is his best friend. So we’re gonna dig into that, we’re gonna figure out how that works. Because this is not a startup company. This is a company that has been in business for many years. And they have overcome together, they have grown together. And in this concept of, of how a company grows, you know, EA Home Design, is being as old as it is. Kevin brings us over 20 years of experience in the home improvement field. Okay, so that eight years ago, when EA Home Design started that experience that they brought the technology that exists today, the way that they can grow together, how they lean into each other, are only going to be some of the things we talk about because there’s so much more to talk about. Isn’t there, Ali? No. Oh, actually, look at that. I called you Ali. He’s gonna laugh. Ali is that is the co-founder. We do not have the pleasure of seeing today. But I know Kevin is going to do a great job. Kevin, what would you add to what I just shared?

Kevin Kamali
You’re absolutely right. I mean, we were the best friends before we started this company. I mean, Ali has a big background actually has a degree in civil engineering, and we kind of we, we work together even before we started this company, but we saw that there are certain things that he has a strength in and there are certain things that I have experienced and a strength in and being together we kind of complete each other in business. You know, we covers every aspect A to Z from home improvement, from design to execution and that really, we thought why not? You know, let’s do this. And I think we can do it. Because we know every, everything about this business, and we started it and we have been very successful, we have grown very fast. And it has been a great eight years, I should say, isn’t that amazing? Yes, of course, you need it needed a lot of hard work is not that easy running a business, especially in remodeling, Home Improvement. It’s not an easy task to have five-star reviews. 100% You know, every single one to be five-star, you really gotta, you know, work hard.

Jess Dewell
So this hard work, you know, thinking? I think most people when they start their own business, or they buy business, whether they go into it with somebody that they already trust, and they know how to work with or they’re starting with somebody that they don’t, or they’re doing it on their own. One of the things that I think is often overlooked is how much work it actually is. So in the early days, right, EA Home Design is eight years old. In those early days, what was the work like, and what was difficult then?

Kevin Kamali
Of course, you’re, you know, brand new, you’re starting from zero and a new business of I mean, it wasn’t the type of business it was just the business itself was new. And we were trying to make ourselves known out there, put our name out there, and kind of buy credibility for each for us. Because that’s really important people. I mean, it’s kind of we are involved in sales and people buy from who they trust is not about what you sell. Sometimes you can find somebody an item anywhere you go, but you’re going to go back and buy from the person who you trust, who you know, all the time, that’s unhealthy, that’s automatically hidden habit for any person. But in the beginning, he was just gaining that trust, working hard to prove ourselves to people, you know, your customer, customers and all that.

Jess Dewell
What’s, what’s the biggest challenge that you’re facing today? Right? So you’re eight years in? And the, it’s difficult, it’s got to be difficult in a different way. What’s the difficulty that you’re working in and working through today?

Kevin Kamali
To be honest with you, I mean, now why now we have, we have a lot of experience right now we have learned a lot as a day but every day we learn something new, nobody knows everything of course thing the situation the condition about is more the, the external things that affects us like, like, you know, the supply chain shortage with certainty that we are those are our biggest obstacles right now we are fighting you know, trying to getting through that to get our projects done, you know, and there’s there’s a lot of those are the most difficulties right now. I mean, there are things that nobody is there to answer give you is now like it used to be I mean, really, from vendors from suppliers from the biggest companies out there you think you can get a response but we are your you know, you’re the frontline people know us.

Announcer
We will return to Uncharted in a few moments. How you work on your business often means the difference between failure and success. When you commit to developing skills, increasing capacity for the unknown, and prioritizing your mission, you’re taking action towards success. Find out more about how to Fast Track Your Business at Fast Track Your Business today.com Let’s get back to Jess.

Jess Dewell
It’s interesting because I know you’re not alone in supply chain issues at all. And it’s interesting because I’m always curious about that. Have you now so just kind of like reflecting a little bit. Have you ever had a version of this supply chain issue in the past?

Kevin Kamali
No, not really. Not really.

Jess Dewell
No, you were able to balance the demand and…

Kevin Kamali
…the options and believe me there for so so many simple little things nowadays there is not even an alternative. It means you’re absolutely you know, you have you don’t know what to do is just no solution for that. We got to make it work out you know we reach to we go and find places pull it out and might be somebody in a small town in a warehouse has that part. We’ll find a way to get it you know. But we need it because it’s stuck in the middle of the project. We are in people’s house. For the house. You have kids you have a family and disrupt your life to do that. And then all of a sudden in the middle, okay, you gotta wait now just everything in a mess for three months, three more months.

Jess Dewell
And you’re doing and you’re doing kitchens and bathrooms. What do you do right? Now I know you do everything, but I’m just thinking when we had our first conversation, you know, you having a project stop in the middle is tough when you’re living in your house, and that project is happening to your point. And I was thinking about what you were telling me and some of the pictures that you were showing me were kitchens and bathrooms. That’s not something we can easily live without. And, and so you’re right, this concept of being able to be resourceful and you know that, you know, the credibility you have, and you know, what you want to bring to your customers. And so then to go, alright, let’s dig in here, there’s a resourcefulness we’re going to figure out. Because we want to do what we said we were going to do. And we know, as do our customers may drag on, we still want the end to be known.

Kevin Kamali
Exactly. And you have to make that happen. You know, yeah, we have had challenges of, you know, sometimes little surprises here and there in projects, which we have overcome, you know, we always try we work. We brainstorm, to come up with the solution. It’s there is always things issues here and there, but how you handle it is important. Yeah. Or you get, you know, to it, and you get over it, and you pass that, that’s, we have done that, and we have learned from it. Now we do try to avoid, you know, hitting those snags. And that’s, that’s comes with experience a little bit, that’s this is really nowhere that you can read about some of the things you know, improvement, you know, you have to experience certain things. But we are we’re getting better at it.

Jess Dewell
And don’t we all? And you’re you make a really good point, there are certain issues that are business-related. And there are other issues that are industry-related. And there are even other issues that are specific to the company you are in because of what’s been built.

Kevin Kamali
Yes, exactly. Yeah.

Jess Dewell
And did you ever think, did you so, so now I have to know, when you and Ally started this? Do you? Did you have an end in mind? Like when you started this? Did you say this is what we want to do? And until we’re done and we retire? Or did you say this is what we want to do for 10 years? Or did you say this is something we’re building to give to our families? Right? Did you have you thought about what that next step looks like for you?

Kevin Kamali
Yes, we have thought about it and be constantly I mean, even the others, we are thinking what else we can do? How else we can, you know, go to the next step. This, this is a foundation, you know, of course, they might like switch to building, you know, like, we see, of course, a lot of houses and a lot of footprints, a lot of work that’s been done that we criticize and say, Why did they do that? Why did they build this like this, this could be better, I mean, and they say what we can create based on the feedback we get from our client. If you build something from scratch, I mean, it’s, we can come up with, you know, floorplan footprints or layout that’s beautiful and functional. You know, sometimes there is I don’t think there’s a lot of, there’s a little bit of a shortage of that. I mean, building, building in series, a lot of houses and all that is more commercialized, you know, sometimes they pay less attention to what people need, and want and all that. But those are the things we have learned. And I see oh, if we start building that will, that’s our next maybe that’s our next goal. And we’re getting there, too, you know, for building custom houses that people are gonna say, wow. And then we have to build those houses.

Jess Dewell
The true craftsmanship piece, that true, the attention to detail. And it’s amazing how people will notice it, even if they can’t articulate it, because when I walk into and by the way, so I’m going to use an analogy around a like a light switch panel, the thing that you that holds the light switch, right. But this applies to so much more. And I didn’t mean to use a light switch one, it just happens to be what it is, when you walk into a room and one of those, the light switches one of those panels that holds it in, if it’s crooked, you might not go, oh, that’s crooked. However you feel something off in the entire room, and you’re not quite sure what we’re what it is or why because you can’t see it consciously, but you know it and that comes through in our work and that’s what I’m hearing you say is that there are certain things well, that is a very simplistic example. It’s one of those that we know when something is out of coherence or out, right and if we if we can do the things that ensure them in general that coherence is there, the right things will be seen. And those weird little things don’t exist so that there’s a deeper connection to a space to a group to an objective.

Kevin Kamali
Exactly. And that’s, that’s what it is. And as you said, if you enter the room and the switch is at the end of the room, that you have to walk all the way in a dark turn on to see what is this, you know, this is, you might have lived in a house is like that you might live in it, and you get used to it, but it’s not right.

Jess Dewell
It’s not right. I know, the last house that we lived in the light switch to my office was outside the door. You right and same kind of thing, what do you what is but when you open the doors, there was nowhere to put the light switch, because they opened inside instead of outside…

Kevin Kamali
You know, these are like you do that, you know, as we build, where to put the switches, I mean, in between the traffic pattern, how you walk in how people come in how they go there, what should be where,

Jess Dewell
Let’s take that same concept of what you do when you go into a client’s home. And let’s apply that to your business and some of the learnings and the continuous learnings that you are going through right now, Kevin? And when you think about your business, where are the areas that you spend that little extra attention that you put your thought into? Here’s what I need for me, here’s what I need for Ali, here’s what I need for employees, where do you focus attention in that capacity to create that congruence and coherence internally?

Kevin Kamali
Well, we have all everybody has their own responsibilities, of course, there are certain things and if we communicate, you know, communication is very important. It is really important to I was gonna recommend that to anybody. I mean, we really need to communicate, we have to be updated. We got to get reports from each other at all the time, and whoever is best and use everybody who’s best as what they do, you know, if early testers design and you know, he’s a master of cabinetry and stuff like that, you know, we have, we have designers, we have project managers and all that, you know, I’m more on the execution on the project execution side. But it’s just to communicate, sometimes we talk and we, we ask, and we want you know, of course, everybody has a responsibility. Yes. [Go ahead, keep going.] Yeah, that’s where we come and become together, you know, and the wee hours we don’t we don’t call it a problem. We said, Oh, we have to, you gotta come up with we always say, oh my god, there’s nothing we can do. Oh, we hit the wall. There’s nothing we can do. We never talked like that. That’s negative energy, you gotta guess be positive and says, How am I going to do this? Let me see.

Jess Dewell
How am I going to do this? That’s really powerful to flip that particular script. Because it, it still puts the focus on the problem or the issue. Yet, it’s creating possibility. [Mm-hmm.] And where did you learn that from? Kevin? Where did you learn that from? Did you have Did you come by this? Awesome positive scripting? Naturally?

Kevin Kamali
No, but what especially? I mean, I can my background actually is in electrical engineering. But yeah, but I used when I used to work in that field years and years ago before I’m improvement. I mean, you read a lot of troubleshooting. Troubleshooting was my biggest thing. Teachers you, they train you to be patient they train you to try to find things you know, they’ll give up together they’re there it’s very tricky. Yeah, electronic and electronic electrical circuits sometimes they it’s very I mean, it’s really difficult you can now you see everything in front of you but you cannot find the problem. But that teaches you patience that teaches you that there is a way you know you use all that you know you’d be wet [yeah okay] this business but which is very important because I see I hear we talk to people you know, they are some people they come say oh, there’s no way is not possible, is not possible. Everything is possible. You know.

Jess Dewell
That’s really interesting. And I, I’m enjoying this conversation, because it’s easy to give up. It’s hard to keep going. And sometimes, you know, and it’s really interesting because when we’re talking about business, and so there and the giving up, sometimes it’s from the person, the person who’s facing that particular problem. And in my opinion, that’s kind of like the, that’s, that’s the give it that’s the easy way out? Well, the thing is we do have constraints though, in our businesses, we, we can’t solve every problem in necessarily a timely fashion because we don’t have unlimited time. We don’t have unlimited resources. However, those kinds of constraints allow us to be more creative in the moment, and come up with things that if all we had to do was all this time and all of this money, we may not find the solution for a long time. But those constraints that we put there actually help us find the solutions faster, without taking away from what I hear you saying and your business, which is well, so how are we going to do this?

Kevin Kamali
Yeah, and how are we going to do this and we got to, you know, we have to find a solution in a timely manner. And, yeah, we really, you know, you gotta put your mind you gotta put your heart into it, you gotta you can’t shy away, you can run away from this, you gotta get involved, you gotta get engaged with your all your energy, all your thoughts, if you focus for the half an hour, you saw that you find the solution. That’s it, I tell the guys what to do. And I get out there go next time regimen, you know, but that half an hour, I really have to focus on what I’m doing. What I have to come up with, you know.

Jess Dewell
And well, and that’s a really good point, taking some time to understand what you’re solving makes sense to.

Kevin Kamali
Yes, very important.

Jess Dewell
And it’s funny that you said you could see as an electrical engineer that you could see everything because I this is my lack of knowledge in the area. Okay, is once the walls are up, you can’t see what’s in the walls. So, so you’re, you’re actually doing this, you’re like, well, it’s all in front of you. Like sure if everything’s connected. What are the walls are up, but it’s not connected? Right? Yeah, what? Yeah.

Kevin Kamali
It is, it is. I mean, everything but the first time we walk in any house, you know, we talk about how we are going to design or all you know, kind of alter and change everything. At that point, you cannot open or cut anything you’ll see inside the wall to see we cannot people are leaving this house is intact, you’re not here to tear it down. We’re here just to talk. Yeah, we have we, we you know, investigate, check everything, we surveyed the house, from top to the bottom, we tell them, This is what we think 80 to 90%, based on experience, how we can change, what you can do to make this more functional. It’s sometime people get amazed, you know, and say, don’t know certain things. And when you tell him say, Oh, really, those are the possibilities?

Jess Dewell
Well, and that’s why we need people outside of ourselves, right to help us see the possibilities that we may not see because of the view that we have chosen to look at. And there’s that’s not a wrong thing. It’s, it’s not even really limiting. It’s just, uh, well, if I’m going to be curious, I might as well ask somebody else to what do they see what other possibilities could exist so that we can make sure the view that we’re having this we’re guiding our company forward, can continue to be in a thriving positive process, if you will?

Kevin Kamali
Yeah. I mean, you’re you have to be an expert in what you do, of course. I mean, I don’t fix cars every day. I don’t know. You know, that means when I have a problem with my car, I gotta go to a mechanic. You know, if I tried to try to figure it out myself, I might even burn my engine, you know, I don’t know. That’s why I’m exploiting what I do. Everybody has some specialty. But you could always ask for help.

Jess Dewell
Yeah. Did you have to learn to ask for help?

Kevin Kamali
Now, I’m always open, you know, I like to learn. That’s, that’s something I like to learn or ask everybody. I mean, I admire who knows something more than me, and I like to learn it. If they’re willing to teach me you know, we always ask anybody, I even some of the things I’ve learned from our workers, ya know, they, they are the frontline. They have the tools in their hand, they see things sometimes they tell us things. [Right.] Maybe I’ve never encountered and doesn’t matter. You can learn from a child. You can learn every little thing from anybody. It all counts, and then you correlate that you put all that together. That’s what helps you you know, yes. Just so the ego down a little bit.

Jess Dewell
That’s right. Oh, that’s hard to do. It’s hard for me to do sometimes. Okay, so I’m a pretty easygoing person, but every once in a while, somebody will press a somebody will press a little button where might you Go goes, oh. And then and it’s in those moments, I’m like, Hi ego? Can, can you be at this table and play nice ego? We do, don’t we and so I wanted to call out, it’s, it’s okay. Because by the way, that means we’re good business people, if we didn’t have an ego, we wouldn’t be where we’re at. And if we didn’t have an ego, there would be a whole lot less for us to learn. So we’ll, we’ll let’s look at both sides of that particular piece. And, you know, so I’m thinking about your EA Home Design. And as you have been growing the company, and you’re adding employees, and you have teams, and you have all these departments that have to work together, so well. What did it take for you, and for you to really learn how to say this, to really be comfortable, that the handoffs were really strong?

Kevin Kamali
Well, we don’t know that the moment you do that, I mean, it takes time. Of course, you know, everybody to learn about, to learn about everyone’s skills, and how do they react? How do they how can they manage, you know, the responsibilities and how they can do it is just by observing anything, you know, you got to be observing cannot just hand the responsibility and let it go. It will take your time, you have to observe and monitor to make sure that person or that department, they can handle that responsibility. You know, you can always make a system, put it on paper, and you know, make an organizational chart and all that. But who are these people these, like, every part of this, that they’re going to execute this? Or can they do that? Can they handle it, you got to see results, you got to see reports, you got to see what, what’s, how is it coming up, you got to first check that make sure they can do what they’re supposed to do, then you let them go independent, again, takes a lot of an owner’s time, it takes a lot of you need to do that if you need to be on top of your game. Because one little, one little, you know, you cannot drive a car with three wheels. All four wheels should be running well. And that means everybody should be on the same page, everybody. And we have to check on that. It’s all starts from top management, I think the flaw in every company, every business start from the top management.

Jess Dewell
It’s true, it’s what can break through up or what, what is the vision that is passed down? Yep. Yeah, that’s true. And when you think about that, and you’re saying, hey, it takes a lot of an owner’s time. And I did that. I did that. And yes, it took a lot of time, did it does it still take a lot of time to do the monitoring, to do the checking in to look at the reports to guide people and develop them for what your company needs as it grows and changes?

Kevin Kamali
No, a little bit less on that. Because, you know, as we have more capable people and all that it’s like, we hand it over to some people who are better than the other, you know, the kind of that’s why it kind of frees us up a little bit, you know, we are going to, you know, kind of handle the more important issues and matters in the company. Yeah, and that’s it takes time to get to that point. You know, none of this happens. It’s easy to talk about it but it won’t happen overnight. And but if you organize if you, you know make it system may you may create a system and the follow-through self is gonna work eventually is going to, you know, you’re going to be set much better.

Jess Dewell
Okay, people, this is it for your podcast at the bold business. At the Bold Business Podcast today. Guess what, though? Fast Track Your Business subscribers, you go on over to your True North and get the rest of this uncut conversation that I’m having with Kevin right here from EA home design. And until next time.

Announcer
Chart your own course by taking advantage of the Fast Track Your Business program, a vast set of resources and exclusive access to just visit Fast Track Your Business today.com. Your preparedness and the right perspective is absolutely necessary. When you find your help somewhere Uncharted. Special thanks to the Scott Treatment for technical production.

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