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  • Mark Lipton

The Ben Moore Tapes!

Updated: Feb 12, 2019

I didn’t sit down to write this column planning on telling you a story about how at 21, a kid’s brain is still not fully developed.  But it seems now that that is what you are going to get!


“So do you think dropping out is a bad idea?” my daughter asked me via text.  Studying abroad in Barcelona, she explains she is learning more from the travel on the weekends than the classes during the week.  Dropping out to focus just on traveling around Europe seems wise (to her at least).  


“So??  What do you think?”  That was my sign that she was serious.  I’m glad she gave me that sign because up until then, I was not so sure!


Her bank account is filled with money from Ohio State: her scholarship which she owes to the school in Barcelona.  But at the moment that money is hers!  Kind of like when I get paid on a big job but I have not paid Ben Moore yet! 


With that big scholarship deposited in her account, she felt rich.   If she dropped out now, BEFORE she handed that money over to the school in Barcelona, she reasoned she could live off that money and travel around Europe on it. 


It never occurred to her that if she dropped out of school now, Ohio State would want their money back!  There’s obviously a lot about the world I forgot to teach her!  She should have spent a little more time contemplating that plan! You've got to love the confidence though! Even AFTER I told her it was a bad idea....she insisted on knowing "why?"


Our lives as independent paint retailers tend towards the pedantic: turn the key, order the paint, sell the paint, turn the key!  While it’s easy to fall into this pattern, it’s important that you fight that hazard by leaving yourself contemplative time!  That time will help you grow your business and entrepreneurial skills.  


Chances are you were not trained to be a paint dealer.  I have never met a dealer who told me she bought her stores after receiving her Master’s in paint retailing. But I have come across many dealers who understand the need to grow their “retailer’s intellect.”  They are on the lookout for opportunities to expand their knowledge and experience: and therefore their profits. You should be too.


These opportunities come in different ways for each of us.  Some join networking groups where they can speak to other business people who have aligned experiences.  Others join dealer co-ops like Allpro or get involved with the PDRA, so they can interact specifically with other paint retailers.  


For me, while I do both of the above, I still find that I need more.  I need quiet contemplative time.  It’s during this time (often spent hiking the woods near me, listening to music) that I can consider all the information I take in and what I feel helps me and my business best.

Running a business, whether you are large or small, is a thinking persons game!  Thinking about the big picture and where you want your business to take you.  And thinking about the day-to-day, like what to do with that problem customer who’s business you can’t afford to lose. 


You can’t just work in the paint business.  If you want to be successful you need to spend time thinking about the paint business.  Being more contemplative about your business life, gives your skills space to grow and leave less to chance.


I hike to make the contemplative time I find I need.  It was during a hike that I decided to start podcasting and so far, I could not be happier.  I’ve got three episodes “in the can” already (you see I’m already picking up the podcasting lingo) and am working with an audio engineer to make the raw audio recording into a finished product.


The tapes that I have to share with you guys over the next month or so, are a fascinating look into the mind and heart of Benjamin Moore.  


CEO Dan Calkins and I covered a lot of ground!  From the complexities of a relationship that at times has suffered from a lack of trust, to the simple but important: color tools (which Ben Moore spends $24,000,000 per year on)! 


Dan was opened to all questions.  He seemed sincere with his answers.  Many people speak about transparency but Dan seems to have offered it.  I learned a lot about how Ben Moore thinks on a wide range of topics and I believe that you will learn a lot from listening too! 


If Benjamin Moore is an important part of your life, you need to listen to these two episodes.


Hopefully, this blog and these podcasts remain or become an important part of your paint education.  I’m looking forward to sharing them with you.  I’m hopeful to have the first episode out next week!  Maybe give them a listen while you hike through the woods?  It always works for me!







©2019 by Mark Lipton

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