Remodelers Advantage

Ep.92: The Dangers of Burnout and How To Promote Individual Resiliency with Marian Faller

No matter how well your remodeling company is doing, how well organized you are, life can get hectic at times. You work through it all, but this can leave you vulnerable to burnout. Which can lead to an avalanche of problems.

In this episode, Marian Faller discusses burnout with Victoria and Mark, sharing its causes, the signs to look for in yourself and others, and how you can promote resiliency within your company. 

Marian is a psychotherapist, and owns Cornerstone Consulting and Cornerstone Counseling in Westerly, RI. She also serves as a consultant for individuals, families, and companies wanting to address mental health concerns. She also happens to be married to our own Tim Faller.

Burnout happens gradually, says Marian, and so gradually that you may not notice it until it’s too late. People experiencing burnout can be irritable, miss days of work, and can even get to the point of clinical depression. Burnout can affect individuals as well as entire organizations. Marian talks about what to know to keep yourself and your employees mentally healthy, including:

  • The signs and symptoms of burnout
  • How physical health can cause burnout
  • How burnout can spread from one individual
  • Why ignoring the causes of burnout won’t make it go away
  • The genetic and chemical components of mental health
  • What folic acid has to do with it
  • Promoting resilience in yourself and others
  • Focusing on what went right vs. what went wrong
  • What we can learn from Winnie the Pooh and Cleopatra
  • Modeling good habits and behaviors
  • Setting the right tone
  • Using hardships to promote resiliency
  • And more …

Knowing the signs and symptoms of burnout — and how to help yourself and others through it — can make a big difference in your own happiness and your team’s job satisfaction.

EP.91: [Unscripted Back-up] Expert Panel at Extreme Business Makeover Shares Insight

As we wrap up 2019, we’re looking back at some of our more popular episodes and this one was a huge hit.

For our 50th episode in January, we gathered a panel of industry experts and took questions from the audience at the Extreme Business Makeover event. It capped off an intense two days of learning, sharing, and networking among the remodelers attending and our Remodelers Advantage team.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark directed the lively discussions with our panel. Panelists included:

  • Michael Sauri of TriVistaUSA Design + Build and the 2018 winner of the Fred Case Remodeling Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
  • Doug Howard, RA’s CFO and Director of Consulting Services, a.k.a. “The Fixer”
  • Judith Miller, Financial and QuickBooks “Guru”
  • Tim Faller, RA’s Senior Consultant and “Master of Production”

We covered profits and payroll, cash flow, the owner’s role in a growing business, margins, staying top-of-mind in your marketing, smart lead qualifying, planning and making decisions on your job sites, and the power of asking “why?”

It’s an insightful and all-encompassing discussion of how to run your business to get bigger margins, more profits, and creating a real life/work balance. If you missed it back in January, you need to listen to this episode.

And Don’t Miss THIS Year’s Extreme Business Makeover Event;
New Content, Fresh Ideas

On January 28-29, 2020 we will gather once again at the BWI Westin and present 2 days of interactive presentations, breakouts and expert panels (like the one featured in today’s podcast). We have Super Early Bird pricing in place until 12/15/19 so Click here for more information and Register Today!

Ep.90: Inside the Design-Build Movement with David Supple

You may have thought that the design-build business model is a recent phenomenon. But years ago, all builders practiced design-build, but something happened along the way to create separate industries.

In this episode, David Supple takes Victoria and Mark on a deep dive into the history of the design-build model, the truths about it, and why it’s been around as long as buildings have.

David is the founder and CEO of New England Design & Construction in Boston. He’s grown NEDC to be a leader in design-build excellence, winning more than 30 awards and being written about in more than 30 publications over the past 14 years. In addition to expanding the company, David has started the DesignBuild Movement, a forum with the purpose of educating the public on this topic with the end goal of creating better buildings. 

David has had a fascination with creating buildings since his art history teacher in high school showed the class slides of landmarks in Europe like Notre Dame Cathedral and the Sistine Chapel. He decided he wanted to build those types of spaces, and was steered into architecture. He graduated from college with an architecture degree, and started practicing. Then, he says, he realized he didn’t know what he was doing. So he went to work as a carpenter to get a foundation in actual building before he opened NEDC. David talks about the history of architects and builders, and how the industry got to where we are now, including:

  • What an architect used to be
  • The historical apprenticeship process
  • How the industry separated into architects and builders
  • What social status had to do with it
  • Why design-build almost went away
  • The efficiencies of design-build as a process
  • How to position design-build with consumers
  • Design-build vs. design-bid-build
  • And more …

It’s a fascinating look at the history of building, architecture, and remodeling, and will make you better prepared to discuss what design build really means. To learn more about the DesignBuild Movement, check out the pages on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


Ep.89: Focusing on Clarity in Communication with Jeremy Steinruck

We’re under an almost-constant barrage of information from every angle. As leaders in our business, it’s imperative that our messages are clearly understood. But it’s equally important, if not more so, that we get messages clearly. 

Looking ahead to 2020, Jeremy Steinruck is focusing on clarity in communication and cutting through the white noise.  

In this episode, Jeremy discusses how to make your communication skills better with Victoria and Mark, what it will take, and how it will help your business and your life.

Jeremy is co-owner and vice president of Axis Construction in Wichita Falls, TX, a company he and partner Jeff Miller started 13 years ago. Jeremy holds a master’s degree in human resource management, but he is most thankful for the influence of incredible mentors and friends who have shared their wisdom freely. 

Learning to be a better communicator is possible, even if it’s not in your native skillset. Jeremy says the first part, for him, was getting rid of his “head trash.” He had to get rid of limiting beliefs, only hang on to ideas that could be proven true, eliminate his assumptions of what someone else believes, and not let any of those things influence his decisions. He talks about how to get past that, and boost your communication and listening skills, including:

  • The basic rules of engagement
  • Facing fears
  • Placing yourself in someone else’s comfort zone
  • How to plan your conversations
  • Understanding you can’t convince someone else
  • Asking questions to get to others’ needs
  • Setting goals at the beginning of the conversation
  • Communicating with intent
  • The four things to do before having a tough conversation
  • And more …

Two of the biggest barriers to effective communication are distraction and selfishness, and Jeremy says that recentering and concentrating on your core values will help you get over them.

Ep.88: All Help Is the Same, Isn’t it? with Allison Iantosca

As a seasoned business professional, you’ve probably been on both sides of the equation when it comes to giving and getting help. Get advice, give consultation. Gain a mentor, bestow some wisdom. While in these essential moments, we want to help and be helped, that doesn’t always happen. 

It helps to know there are differences in the types of support we can give and get — and what they are. 

In this episode, Allison Iantosca will discuss those distinctions with Victoria and Mark, and how stopping and thinking about how you ask for or give help will make the results more useful and valuable.

Allison is the president and owner of F.H. Perry Builder, a Boston-area custom remodeling firm focused on building homes and relationships of lasting value.

Though there are nuanced distinctions, coaching, consulting, and mentoring are not the same thing, says Allison. Knowing the differences will make the help given or gotten more relevant and valuable. Figuring it out includes knowing what you want to offer or receive in that moment, including:

  • Who needs what, and when
  • Concentrating on process in coaching
  • Consulting and advising on outcomes
  • Using experience in mentoring for a shared outcome
  • Coaching your staff
  • How to know what help to ask for
  • The time periods needed for each
  • Asking the right questions to spur the right answers
  • And more …

One of the best ways to differentiate between the three main types of help you can give or get is to determine the goal, and what choices need to be made to get there.

And Speaking of Consulting & Coaching …

As we head into 2020, there is no better time than RIGHT NOW to be planning for how your company will hit the profit goals that you have committed to… What? You have no Goals? No Plan? Well, we will help you with that too!

Join us on Tuesday, November 19th as our CFO & Director of Consulting, Doug Howard, hosts a FREE Webinar and walks you through the key steps to Creating Your Wining Strategy for 2020.

Click Here for More Information and to grab your spot.

Ep.87: Partnership — Creating a Unified Vision for your Company’s Future with Matt Carlson

Having a business partner can be an enormous advantage if you approach it correctly. Most people underestimate the commitment and work that goes into a partnership. Ensuring that you’re on the same page and share the same vision goes far beyond having a plan on paper.

In this episode, Matt Carlson shares his story with Victoria and Mark, and what he’s learned as the minority partner in his business in making the relationship work.

Matt is the general manager and co-owner of Fox Home Innovations in Manhattan, KS. After 10 years in the business, and nine as an owner he has a unique perspective on the lessons he has learned from growing FHI alongside his business partner Chris Fox.

Matt and Chris met in college, and worked on several projects together there while both where studying entrepreneurship. Matt then joined Chris in his new remodeling company. He started out working in the field, and Chris proposed the partnership idea quickly. It started as a trial run for a year, while he was still considered an employee. They made it official after the trial period. Matt talks about what you need to do to create and maintain a successful partnership, including:

  • Making the commitment
  • Being open and honest
  • Putting egos aside
  • How to maintain an equal partnership regardless of ownership stake
  • The importance of having open books
  • Delegating duties and responsibilities
  • Keeping egos out of it
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Speaking with one voice
  • Taking a thoughtful approach to long-term company health
  • And more …

If you’re in a partnership, or are considering one, Matt says the biggest thing to remember is to put the business first — above any personal relationship you share.

Never Stop Learning…

In today’s episode, Mark mentions our Masterclass sessions that are now available. These two-day courses are intimate, interactive sessions with plenty of hands-on instruction. Small class sizes mean you have plenty of time to interact with your trainer and classmates. All of our instructors are industry experts and among the best in their fields of expertise. To see our slate of available courses, go to https://www.remodelersadvantage.com/events-training/masterclass

Ep.86: Connecting with a Few Good Realtors with Kathi Fleck

Working with just a few Realtors can bring additional jobs to your remodeling company. It’s not about appealing to the masses, but about developing relationships with several realtors who appreciate how you work, your quality, attention to detail, and exceptional client experience. 

In this episode, Kathi Fleck discusses working with Realtors with Victoria and Mark, and how to establish and maintain relationships that can get more jobs for your company, help them sell more homes, and take care of your shared clients.  

Kathi is co-owner of LoneStar Design Build in the Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX, area, where she leads a team and their clients through the design-build experience. Kathi has a long-term relationship with Coldwell Banker Real Estate, and other Realtors who send business her way.

Realtors go out of their way to support the seller/ buyer experience, says Kathi. Helping their clients with remodeling and providing referrals is part of their daily routine. As remodelers working with realtors, understand how Realtors work and make them look good as they support their client. It can be challenging, but Kathi says a few simple tricks can pay off with easy referrals, including:

  • Finding partners who fit your company and market
  • How to make their lives easier
  • Getting the right referrals
  • Dealing with bad leads
  • Avoiding the bid process
  • How referrals can go in the other direction
  • How much to invest in marketing to Realtors
  • The power of free food
  • And more …

The best way to start is by contacting real estate offices and setting up a presentation, calling an agent who works in the same neighborhoods you do, and taking advantage of networking groups.

Building a Better Design Process

Kathi will be presenting on another topic as she helps lead our next MasterClass, Building an Effective Design Process, on Dec. 11-12, here in Baltimore. She’ll be joined by other experienced, award-winning remodelers who will teach you or your designers how to improve your design process and create an extraordinary experience for your clients. Get the details and register here.

Ep.85: Unraveling the Undervalued “Proactive Outbound Sales Call” Metric with Abe Degnan

Our Roundtables members share their financial metrics at every meeting, in what we call the composite report. But there’s one field that’s almost always reported as zero.

It’s the proactive outbound sales call metric. It’s confusing to many, not just as a field on a spreadsheet, but as an activity.

Abe Degnan says this metric is valuable to all remodeling companies, and making those calls builds his own company’s sales pipeline.

In this episode, Abe joins Victoria and Mark to explain the proactive outbound sales call, how to track it, and what it can do for your company. 

Abe is president, problem-solver and life changer at Degnan Design Build Remodel in DeForest, WI. He also manages day-to-day business operations — and as a long-time Roundtables member, Abe knows how important it is to measure what is managed.

This statistic isn’t just for replacement companies with a call center, says Abe. A proactive outbound sales call also doesn’t have to be a phone call. It occurs any time you follow up on your sales process in a way that is outside of your established sales routine or is something your client isn’t expecting you to do. Abe talks about what those follow ups can be, and how to track them, including:

  • Why sales needs to do it, not marketing
  • Sending handwritten note cards
  • Calling on cold leads
  • Contacting a lead that fell off your radar
  • Networking for leads
  • The number of activities you should do
  • The ROI on the effort
  • Who you should reach out to
  • Including it in your marketing plan
  • How long it can take to convert
  • And more …

Making proactive outside sales activities a part of your business can get, and while it’s a marketing activity, it has to be carried out by the sales staff to be effective.

Speaking of Marketing…

If you’re looking for more ideas and better ways to market your company, check out Mark Harari’s Masterclass this December 9th & 10th in Baltimore called “I ‘AM’ the Marketing Department.” It covers all the major aspects of running a marketing department, and is specially geared to meeting the needs a marketing department of one.

Ep.84: Crafting a Strategic Marketing Plan with Mark Harari

It’s that time of year — it’s time to put together your company’s marketing plan for next year. If you don’t know where to start or what your plan should include, Mark’s here to help.

In this episode, Mark is on a one-man mission to get your strategic marketing plan into shape.

First thing to know — your marketing budget isn’t your marketing plan. It’s the most common error we see, and that’s just a list of ways to spend money, not a plan. You have to set goals, and create tactics to get there. It can run up to 40 pages for a small business, and should encompass branding, positioning, a SWOT analysis and more. But if you don’t have a plan yet, Mark tells you how to take small steps toward creating a larger plan by starting with a strategy, including:

  • Objectives
  • Strategies
  • Tactics
  • Setting time frames
  • Getting specific
  • And more …

This is the first step to creating a larger marketing plan — and something you should have complete before you start creating your marketing budget. If you need more help getting your marketing in gear, send an email to mark@remodelersadvantage.com. We’ve also got a MasterClass for marketing in December called I “AM” the Marketing Department that will kick-start your marketing strategy and planning.

Ep.83: Using Trade Area Analytics to Grow Your Business with Nick Ogle

There’s not much that’s more frustrating than missing out on business opportunities close to home. Understanding the numbers that surround your business’s trade area is critical to determining what may be flying under your radar. Through analytics, you can interpret those numbers and take advantage of what they tell you.

In this episode, Nick Ogle talks to Victoria and Mark about how using trade area analytics can help businesses with growth and strategic planning.

Nick is the Bath & Kitchen Buying Group’s executive director, and brings more than two decades of kitchen industry experience to BKBG, having previously served as director of strategic partnerships and national accounts for Masco Cabinetry. Nick received his degree in selling and sales management from Purdue University, and currently lives in Michigan with his wife and son. BKBG is also RA’s newest strategic partner in helping our members grow their businesses.

There’s so much information and data available, but you’ve got to pick the right numbers to analyze — and look at them the right way. Trade area analytics break down the numbers in your surrounding market and let you compare it to your own business model and services. It can be eye-opening, Nick says. He talks about how a remodeler can find the right data and how to use it, including:

  • Starting at your local library
  • Resources you can use for little to no money
  • What data to look for
  • Demographic and housing stock to analyze
  • What to compare your local data to
  • Setting benchmarks
  • Why it can help you grow your area or do better where you already are
  • How to identify the hot remodeling areas
  • Understanding your area’s history to predict the future
  • How to look at the numbers the right way
  • When to ask for outside help
  • Who to ask
  • And more …

Analyzing your local numbers can help you make the most of your marketing budget, reach the right people in the right places, and make more money. To find out more about BKBG, you can go to the website, or you can call Nick at 440-313-4275.

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