Business Management

Ep.37: The Art of Effective Communication with Paul Winans

Most work requires more than one person to get it done. Effective communication is essential to the enterprise. Everyone has to learn the skills to communicate effectively. One key is concentrating on what brings you success — in work, with your spouse or partner, and in the rest of your life. Build on that.

In this episode, Paul Winans joins Victoria and Mark to dive in to work on having effective arguments, resolving conflict, and working on listening.

Paul and his wife Nina owned a remodeling company for 30 years, living and working together, selling the company in 2007. Paul continues to work in the industry as a consultant, writer, and facilitator with R/A’s Roundtables.  As a facilitator, Paul works with our members to help them improve every aspect of their communication.

The biggest problem in effective communication happens when people just want to be heard, and don’t take on the responsibility to listen. For entrepreneurs, especially, It’s easy to say you have to listen, but you’ve built your business on others hearing you, and that habit is hard to break.

It takes a conscious and constant effort toward improvement. Paul gives examples and tips for improving your communication skills, including:

  • Focusing on understanding the other person
  • Using “I” language, not “you” language
  • Avoiding verbal attacks, even if they’re unintentional
  • Asking neutral questions
  • Establishing a foundation for decision making
  • Bridging the gap between communication styles and paces
  • How to tell if someone’s just visiting the conversation
  • Why meeting about nothing is good, actually
  • And so much more…

2019 Couples Retreat Workshop

This episode covers a lot of valuable ground, and you have an opportunity to go even deeper as it pertains to working with your spouse. As we mentioned in this episode, Paul and Nina will lead a Couples Retreat Workshop 2019 in Scottsdale, AZ, on February 7-8, 2019.

It’s an intimate group of 15 couples who will learn how to deal with conflict, argue effectively, and set goals for yourselves. The spots are going fast (a reservation was made during the podcast!), so act quickly to take advantage of this incredible resource. Register here!

 

Ep.35: Why You Should Have a Personal Vision Statement with Dave Bryan

A personal vision statement charts your course — in life and in business. If you don’t have one, you might as well be lost at sea when you’re making decisions.

For Dave Bryan, his personal vision statement serves as his North Star, allowing him to plot his course through his life. “There are a million ways in any given day to get knocked off course,” he says. “Everything you do should be in support of your life, and having a personal vision statement can help you stay on the path and keep on track.”

In this meaningful episode, Dave talks to Victoria and Mark about the genesis of the idea for him, how he did it, and gives tips for how you can write your own. Most importantly, he shares his reasons why you should.

Dave president of Blackdog Builders, with offices in Salem and Amherst, NH. After starting his business in 1989, he’s built Blackdog into a strong, consistently profitable business, with several diversifications under its umbrella. Dave is an entrepreneur who is known for the discipline and care with which he runs his company. Dave is also one of our popular Roundtables facilitators, where he shares his story with the groups.

Being an entrepreneur can be lonely, with no one to keep you accountable. Planning your life and using a personal vision statement can help define your goals. Dave’s path to writing his own statement began with the recession in 2008. “It was brutal,” he says. But defining the goals and intentions for his life going forward was a turning point.

You’ll hear Dave’s personal vision statement and learn why he won’t share it in written form. But you have to do the work yourself for your own, he says. Dave covers how to develop your personal vision statement, and what it can do for your life and business, including:

  • Creating a vision board as a first step
  • Why work is only a tool to build your life
  • How far out to plan
  • Working gratitude into your plan
  • What you learn when you look back

With all of the planning and goal-setting you do for your business, you may still be spinning your wheels if you don’t create the personal plan that forms a strong foundation for what you do — and why.

You can learn more about Dave and Blackdog at the website.

 

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Ep.33: The Sales-to-Production Handoff with Bruce Case

To many remodelers, a project works like a relay race, depending on good handoffs of the baton. The sales-to production-handoff is critical, and if you drop the baton, the race is over.

But there are ways to make it less of a hard handoff and more of a continuum, says Bruce Case. Bruce joins Victoria and Mark to explain how to break down the barriers and bring Sales and Production together as a team.

Bruce Case is the president and CEO of Case Design/Remodeling Inc., one the largest full-service remodeling firms in the nation with more than $60 million is annual revenue. Focused on the Washington, DC, metro market, the company provides a unique mix of design/build and home improvement services. Over the past 15 years, the company has extended its reach across the US through a network of licensees and franshises working under the Case Handyman & Remodeling Services banner. All these initiatives is focus on inspiring team members and clients.

Involving Production from the beginning of a job makes the projects more seamless and collaborative, creating a process that empowers employees and keeps them all focused on the bottom line. Bruce tells you how Case handles this team approach, including:

  • The need for accurate estimating
  • Why Project Managers get to sign off on a contract before the client does
  • Structuring compensation for Sales and Production based on gross profit
  • Who goes to what meetings and why
  • What to do when you need a tie-breaker
  • And a whole lot more…

Bruce talks about how to lead this process, and your team, with empowerment and accountability. For more about Case Design/Remodeling, check out their website. And we’re looking forward to Bruce’s AskAnything Fireside Chat at the Remodeler’s Summit on Sept. 26 — his fourth time sharing his expertise with us.

 
 

Ep.32: Industry Insights with Rick Strachan

If you’re curious as to where the remodeling  industry is going and the key opportunities for the future, Rick Strachan of Hanley Wood has your answers.

In this episode, Rick breaks it all down with Victoria and Mark, telling you what will drive growth, and how to face the coming challenges. You’ll get the big picture, detailed information to help you make strategic decisions for your future, and more numbers than you can shake a stick at.

Rick has worked in the media and information business serving the construction industry for 35 years, and for the last 26 years has been with Hanley Wood’s Remodeling Group. He is a founding member of the Harvard Joint Center Remodeling Futures Program, and is a past board member and former chairman of the Home Improvement Research Institutes Remodeling Professional Committee. He has also received NARI’s President’s Award for service to the industry.

The biggest drivers of remodeling, now and for the near term, are the Baby Boomers. Rick tells you what you need to know about this generation’s buying power and habits, as well as:

  • The predicted habits of Millennials in the remodeling space
  • The phenomenal growth in the industry and why the future looks bright
  • How to address your labor shortage
  • Why product and materials costs will escalate, and how to deal with it
  • Why HGTV isn’t all bad for business
  • What our aging housing stock means for you
  • And much more…

This episode is as close to fortune-telling as we can get. If you have any questions for Rick, you can email him at rstrachan@hanleywood.com. For more information about Hanley Wood and its news and information about the remodeling industry, go to their website.

Summit Partners

We are proud to partner with Rick and his team at Hanley Wood on producing the Remodelers Summit and we’re excited to get down to New Orleans for this year’s event. We only have 5 seats left for Summit so if you haven’t registered yet, please do so ASAP. You do NOT want to miss this year’s event!

Ep.31: How to Successfully Use Cost-Plus Pricing with Josh Baker

The Cost-Plus Pricing model seems to go completely against common sense, but it’s a concept that we’re getting more questions about from our membership. One contributing factor is that consumers increasingly demand transparency when purchasing products and services — and homeowners are coming to expect it when undertaking a remodeling project. But so many remodelers don’t understand it. Can Cost Plus be your new pricing model?

Josh Baker, co-founder of BOWA Builders, has been using Cost-Plus Pricing for more than 20 years. In this episode, he talks to Victoria and Mark about its pros and cons, and why it’s a cornerstone of his company’s success.

Josh founded BOWA Builders in McLean, VA, with college friend Larry Weinberg in 1988, serving the Washington, DC, metro market. As the leader of BOWA’s sales and marketing team, Josh helped to quickly grow the company’s revenues from $250,000 to nearly $40 million in just 20 years. As chief revenue officer, Josh’s focus is on growth and managing an energetic, productive sales team. Recognized nationally as an expert in the industry, Josh is quoted regularly in publications, including The Washington Post, Better Homes & Gardens, and Remodeling, and is a frequent speaker at local and national industry meetings.

Cost-Plus Pricing can be a differentiator, but it can also frighten some remodeling business owners — as well as some clients. Josh explains how to present the concept to clients, and what it will take to implement it profitably, as well as:

  • What jobs are suited to the Cost-Plus Model
  • Weighing the risks and rewards
  • The necessity of pinpoint accuracy in estimating
  • Why not to apologize for your costs
  • The time it takes to do well
  • Why you need a sophisticated, expert sales staff to make it work
  • And a whole lot more…

Josh stresses that Cost-Plus Pricing isn’t for everyone, or for every job. Listening to this episode may help you decide if it’s the pricing model for you, or for some of your projects. Check out BOWA’s website for more about the company, and if you have questions about Cost-Plus Pricing, send Josh an email at josh@bowa.com.

 

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Ep.29: How to Build an Award-Winning Company with Jeremy Martin

Success in the remodeling industry is all by the book for Jeremy Martin. That goes for the 50 books he reads per year, and the systems and business processes he institutes and uses at his company. And most importantly, those two factors culminate in “The Book” — the three-ring binder filled with details and documentation that has powered his company’s growth.

Jeremy talked with Victoria and Mark for our live podcast in June — and if you missed it, take this opportunity to catch up. You’ll hear insights and tactics you can put to work for your own company immediately.

A principal with RisherMartin in Austin, TX, Jeremy founded the company with partner Chris Risher. Jeremy graduated from the University of Texas with an engineering degree and went to work at Fortune 500 giants like IBM and Intel. Jeremy combined his corporate experience with his love of building and launched his home building career in 2001. He’s an RA Roundtables member, was recognized as a “Rising Star” by NAHB, and was in the “40 under 40” lists for Professional Builder and Professional Remodeler. With Chris, he was named the 2016 Fred Case Remodeling Entrepreneur of the Year, and was a finalist for the RA Impact Award.

Jeremy’s time with huge companies gives him a different perspective on the remodeling business, and he’s applied the lessons learned at businesses with 60,000 employees to his now 10-person company. “You have to think big to get big,” he says. “But don’t expect that growth to be linear.”

Learn how RisherMartin finds their ideal clients, gets an average of $1 million per job, and how they hire, along with:

  • Setting intentional time on the calendar for big picture thinking
  • Troubleshooting the most treacherous part of the remodeling business
  • The secret to a healthy business partnership
  • How to strive for continuous improvement
  • Selling the fixed-price model
  • And more…

You’ll also get to hear Mark admit his man-crush, and find out what Victoria’s theme song would be. You can learn more about RisherMartin on the company’s website, which devotes a page to The Book — that’s how important it is to their success.

In today’s episode, Victoria mentions a slide that was available during the Live Episode back in June, for those of you who are interested in learning more about Roundtables… Below is a copy of that slide, click to see a larger version.

Ep.28: The Dos and Don’ts of Implementing Technology with Donny Wyatt

Technology is critical to boosting efficiency and ensuring scalability for remodelers and builders, but tech isn’t the answer to everything. It’s hard to know where to start, and what problems tech can solve for you. Too often, you purchase an expensive program, people don’t use it, and it gets shelved.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark talk the dos and don’ts of tech with Donny Wyatt, the founder and CEO of CoConstruct, a web-based project management system for custom builders and remodelers.

Back in 2005, Donny was a homeowner who had a typical, but frustrating, building experience, and used that inspiration to create a web-based system to help custom builders and remodelers serve their clients better. Today, CoConstruct has been named the No. 1 software of its type by SoftwareAdvice and Finances online. Donny leads a team of nearly 100 employees serving 5,000 customers across North America and beyond.

The biggest key to successfully implementing a software solution is to start small, advises Donny, and pick one or two key problems to solve. Then use your sales skills to get buy-in from your team, concentrating on one or two key players — a driver and a curmudgeon. Donny tells you how to do that, as well as:

  • Figuring out what problems you need to solve
  • How to get past the human speedbumps
  • The positive side effects of the right software
  • Why a tech problem may really be a leadership problem
  • Using tech to make your clients’ experiences outstanding
  • When to keep going through a puddle
  • And a whole lot more…

This is lively episode packed with information you can use today. You can learn more about CoConstruct with just a click.

Just like our remodeling industry audience, Rave Reviews are the lifeblood of any good podcast…

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And as always, if you have a topic that you would like us to cover or know of an industry contact, author or thought-leader that you think others would like to hear from, let us know.

 

Ep.27: How I Quadrupled My Revenue with Todd Jackson

Growing your company requires thinking big, developing innovative strategies, and taking risks. If you do it right, the results can be huge. Todd Jackson did it right, and quadrupled his revenue.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark talk to Todd about how he achieved that success, and the details and work behind the big numbers.

Todd is the CEO and president of Jackson Design & Remodeling in San Diego, CA, and a long-time Roundtables member. During the recession of 2007-2009, he developed and adopted strategies that got the company these amazing results in the next decade.

Learn how Todd not only weathered the downturn, but put systems in place and doubled-down on his marketing to power his company when the economy bounced back. He talks about the importance of creating a culture that celebrates success, as well as:

  • The key advice he got from another Roundtables member
  • Why his salespeople love their lower commissions
  • How his showroom drives profits
  • His strategy to cut the design process from months to weeks
  • Financing vs. cash
  • The awesome power of wearing slacks
  • And more…

There’s no one magic bullet, but a cohesive mix of strategies, calculated risks, and goals that will speed a remodeling company toward exponential growth. Click through to see more about Jackson Design & Remodel.

You don’t want to miss this episode!
 

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Ep.26: How the Media Business Can Transform Your Remodeling Company with James Carey

With so many new media and communication outlets, it’s hard to know what channels to use for your own marketing. But that also means there are opportunities — and getting your message out to an audience is easier than ever. Taking the plunge into media can change your business.

In Episode 26, Victoria and Mark tackle the new media and marketing landscape with James Carey, who transformed the remodeling business he owns with his brother Morris when they pitched a radio show about home improvement in the 1980s. That led to a national syndication deal, a TV show, and book publishing.

James is the president of Carey Bros. Remodeling in Brentwood, CA, and is the co-host of the nationally syndicated radio program On the House with the Carey Brothers and of their pro podcast CareyBrosPros.

While James made his splash in old media, he continues to take advantage of the new opportunities provided by just a wifi connection. From podcasting (which we love) to social media, James leads you through ways to get your message out, including:

  • Finding your unique outreach
  • Harnessing the power of the media
  • What you can learn from Mommy-bloggers
  • Helping homeowners make informed decisions
  • Access vs. competition per channel
  • And a whole lot more…

It’s a fascinating episode, and will inspire you to think about your marketing — and your business — differently. For more about James (and Morris), check out CareyBros.com to learn about the remodeling company. Their radio program site for homeowner advice is OnTheHouse.Com, and their site for professional remodelers is CareyBrosPros.com.
 

We love the feedback we have received so far!

As always, if you have a topic that you would like us to cover or know of an industry contact, author or thought-leader that you think others would like to hear from, let us know.

If you’re enjoying our PowerTips Unscripted podcast, please spread the word and post reviews on iTunes and Stitcher.

Ep.25: Open Book Management with Ken Kirsch

The thought of showing your financials to your employees may be unsettling. We’ve known remodelers who are so leery of sharing their numbers, their field crews don’t even know their project budgets.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, says Ken Kirsch, a proponent and practitioner of Open Book Management. In this episode, Ken tells Victoria and Mark that showing your numbers will engage and motivate your team — while helping your bottom line.

Ken is the president of MAK Design+Build Inc. in Davis, CA. Drawing on his experience as a carpenter and an artist, he and his wife Ellen started MAK Design+Build in 2003, out of an Airstream Trailer in their driveway. Ken’s a member of Roundtables group Krypton, and was introduced to the concept of Open Book Management at his very first RA meeting.

Victoria and Mark talk with Ken about the positives, and one surprising negative, he’s experienced since embracing Open Book Management. They discuss:

  • What to show and what to avoid
  • Focusing on the Big Picture 
  • The importance of your team being financially literate
  • When and how to discuss your numbers
  • Engaging your employees for lower turnover
  • And a whole lot more…

Transparency in business is much more than a buzzword, it’s something your employees will seek out more and more. Find out how Open Book Management can make your business better. Click here to see more about MAK Design+Build.

As promised, here is a shot of the AirStream that Ken got started in