Business Management

Strategy Isn’t Enough with Brian Gottlieb – [Best of PowerTips Unscripted]

A successful remodeling business isn’t only dependent on tactics or the larger strategy behind them. A company’s culture plays a crucial role in executing any business strategy. 

In this episode, Brian Gottlieb discusses the key steps needed for a business to implement their desired strategy with Victoria and Mark.

Brian Gottlieb is the founder and CEO of Tundraland Home Improvements, which serves all of Wisconsin. He started his business on a plastic folding table, with just $3,000 in cash. Today, Tundraland employs more than 220 people, and revenues  are in excess of $42 million. 

He defines strategy as an integrated set of choices an organization makes to position against the competition, add value to their customers, and add value to the company. Brian’s “a-ha” moment came last summer, when he understood that when a community is at its full potential, we’re all in a better place; and when an organization is at its full potential, we’re all in a better place.

He calls Tundraland a training organization — developing an employee to his or her full potential is a key point of the company’s  strategy. Brian describes the four ways to define your culture, and how to make it stronger, including:

  • How building a strong culture is like building a ship
  • How realizing potential depends on others
  • Examples of the wrong strategies
  • And more …

Everyone Should Think Like an Entrepreneur with Sean Castrina – [PowerTips Unscripted] S4 E4

Sean Castrina joins the program to discuss why everyone should think like an entrepreneur and the importance of developing a strategy for determining what business you want to start. He shares that when he lost his job, he found another one so he could take his time to figure out his next steps. 

Sean Castrina is the Founder of The Weekend MBA, host of The 10 Minute Entrepreneur Podcast (a top 10 entrepreneurship podcast), an author of 4 bestselling books, and a serial entrepreneur.

Sean, Victoria and Mark discuss:

  • Critical components of building a successful business
  • The top reasons why most entrepreneurs fail
  • Why you must constantly look for new revenue streams 

Using Kaizen to Improve Your Business with Michael Sauri [Best of PowerTips Unscripted]

In today’s episode of PowerTips Unscripted, we are featuring one of our more popular episodes. If you have topic ideas for an episode or a guest we should be interviewing, send an email to victoria@remodelersadvantage.com.  Enjoy!    

The Kaizen practice focuses on improving existing, standardized processes by eliminating waste and was first practiced in Japanese businesses after World War II.  Kaizen translates to “Change for Good,” and that can mean many great things for your growing remodeling company. The process of constant improvement, with every team member participating, allows your company to constantly raise the bar on its target metrics.  

In this episode, Victoria and Mark learn more about the Kaizen practice of process improvement by welcoming Michael Sauri, CEO of TriVista USA, to the show.

Michael and his wife Deborah started TriVistaUSA in 2005 with the goal of providing an outlet for creativity and a Ritz Carlton-level client experience. “Our Thoughtful Design Builds Fine Living,” is their mission statement and their mantra as they bring phenomenal, award-winning design to the Design/Build community in the Washington DC area.

Victoria, Mark and Michael talk more about:

  • The background of Kaizen and how TriVista got involved
  • Hiring and developing a team within the Kaizen structure
  • The differences between Kaizen and other process improvement practices
  • And More…

Why The Design-to-Production Handoff is Worth Measuring – [Powertips Unscripted] S4 E3

Today on Powertips Unscripted, Dan Hurst joins the show to discuss the handoff from design to production. Dan talks about how to define the minimum standard of completeness and quality for each function or role involved in preparing the handoff packet. Dan also discusses how to use checklists for each role to ensure that quality standards are met.

Dan Hurst is the COO and part owner of Hurst Design Build Remodel in Cleveland Ohio. Dan and his brother Pat have been a part of Roundtables since 2006. Dan was also on a panel at the 2022 summit at the Gaylord in the National Harbor.

Victoria, Mark, and Dan talk more about:

  • Team handoff meetings
  • 3 core project deliverables
  • How these core deliverables can improve standards
  • And more…….

Building a Culture of Support in Construction with Steve Barkhouse – [Powertips Unscprited] S4 E2

Steve Barkhouse joins PowerTips Unscripted to discuss how to create a culture of mental health support in the remodeling industry. In the post covid era, Mental health has affected many employees and business owners, so Steve and his team created a framework for dealing with the added stress that comes from covid. This support framework includes a video and a full-day training session to help employees work on and improve their mental health. Steve talks about how this initiative of offering additional support has helped his company build a healthy culture.

Steve is the owner of the award-winning remodeling firm Amsted Design-Build in Ottawa, Canada. Over the past 33 years, Steve has grown Amsted into a 50-person team with over $20 million in revenues. He is a past Impact Award winner and a 15-year member of the Mentor group Remodelers Advantage Roundtables Peer Group.

Steve, Victoria, and Mark talk more about:

    • The impact of mental health on the employees
    • Why mental health is crucial right now
    • Mental health in the remodeling industry
    • And more…

Gauging Your Designers’ Workload Effectively With Jeff Talmadge-[PowerTips Unscripted] S4 E1

In this episode, Jeff Talmadge discusses how he and his team created a point system for his design staff to spread their workload.  Each designer is assigned a predetermined number of points, weighted by criteria such as permitting, scope, and complexity of the job.  The team tracks points weekly and has found that designers are less stressed, customers are given more accurate timelines, and production can plan their workload better.

Jeff Talmadge is the president of Talmadge Construction, a large, premium design-build firm based in Aptos, CA.  Jeff and his team pride themselves on their commitment to customer service, quality workmanship, and a strong team culture.  

Jeff’s five words of wisdom – patience, persistence, never give up.

Listen as Jeff, Victoria, and Mark discuss:

  • Increasing job satisfaction across the company by managing designer workloads
  • Improving customer service by managing expectations with accurate timelines
  • And more…

The Delicate Art of Qualifying Remodeling Leads with Chip Doyle- [Best of Powertips Unscripted]

Leads! Lead! Leads! Business is good, leads are coming in. But are you over-qualifying, under-qualifying, or doing it just right? 

Chip Doyle’s got research that says 30-60 percent of business is lost because the initial phone call is handled incorrectly. So if you’re not doing it just right, you’re leaving money behind.

In this episode, Chip’s back with Victoria and Mark to break down the best practices for lead evaluation over the phone, and what to leave for the salesperson to handle in the prospect’s home.  

Chip Doyle wrote Selling to Homeowners — The Sandler Way, a best-selling industry book, and has been offering Sandler training for 20 years. He has worked with hundreds of remodeling companies across North America — including many of our Roundtables members and RA University members, and many other RA programs.

The most fundamental mistake many remodeling companies make — especially in this hot market — is mismanaging leads over the phone. Over-qualifying leads mean you’re actually losing money, says Chip. He says the salesperson’s job is to go out and get “no”s. Getting into the home is key, but too many owners wear too many hats and don’t have enough time to devote to sales calls. The result is being too stringent during the initial phone calls. Chip talks about how to qualify your prospects the right way, including:

  • Predictive qualifying
  • How long the initial call should take
  • Who should do the qualifying
  • Training the qualifier, or LIP
  • Ensuring that the homeowner has a positive experience on that first call
  • Finding out the client’s pain points while on the phone
  • Making and confirming appointments
  • And more …

Helpful Tips on Hiring with Mike DiFabion – [Best of Powertips Unscripted]

Hiring is on everybody’s mind these days.  But, utilizing the proper tools in the hiring process is key to ensuring you’re creating a great team.  Guest Mike DiFabion is here to share over 20 years of experience in the remodeling industry and the tips and tricks to creating a smooth, efficient hiring process.

Mike started DiFabion Remodeling, Inc. in 2000, intending to become the best local mid-sized remodeling firm in the Charlotte market. By providing superior customer service and controlled growth, the company now boasts a reputation beyond reproach and is enjoying its 16th year in business.

Victoria, Mark, and Mike talk more about:

  • Hiring timeframes
  • Character traits to look out for
  • Experience Vs. Ability to learn
  • And more…

Growing a High Volume Remodeling Business with Jake Schloegel- [Best of Powertips Unscrpited]

Many remodelers dream of one day building a high-volume remodeling company. Others aren’t sure it’s worth the effort.

In this episode, we talk to Jake Schloegel about what it takes to grow a high-volume remodeling business. Why build it? Who should be involved? What are the expectations?

Jake is the Founder of Schloegel Design Remodel, an award-winning Design/Build firm in Kansas City. He started in 1980 as a one-person company and has grown it, with the help of his team, to an operation exceeding $14 million in revenue annually. The company is now managed by Jake’s son, Charlie Schlegel, and his business partner, Chris Peterson.

Jake has been a facilitator and instructor for Remodelers Advantage for years and is very active in the remodeling community, having served as president of NARI from 1990 through 1992.

Victoria, Mark, and Jake talk more about:

  • Jake’s business and what prepared him for growth.
  • Who helped Jake in building the company?
  • The key components necessary for sustainable growth.
  • Why Jake wanted to achieve high volume.
  • What Jake would do differently if he could have some do-overs.

Personal Wealth Building for Business Owners with George Kall-[Best of Powertips Unscripted]

As a remodeling business owner, building wealth and financial security is something you want to achieve.

Unfortunately, it’s something that many put off because the needs of today are more pressing, especially with the current market.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark talk to George Kall about tips and advice on planning for your future financial security today.

George owns Metro Building and Remodeling Group, a Design-Build firm in Ashburn, VA. George started the company seven years ago and now employs a team of 9 and was recently ranked #107 on this year’s Remodeling Magazines list of largest remodelers.

Victoria, Mark, and George talk more about:

  • Establishing a company 401k and how you implement it.
  • Setting aside money for your family.
  • Planning for uncertain times.
  • Obtaining financing for the business.
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