Financial Management

Ep.39: How NOT to Grow Your Remodeling Business with Judith Miller

The Great Recession gobbled up a whole slew of remodeling companies, but more of them fail during an economic expansion than during a contraction. Growth is great, but it’s risky, and knowing how not to grow will put you ahead of the game.

In this hot market, there are so many opportunities, you can get ahead of yourself too quickly for the health of your company. And that’s where remodeling company owners get into trouble by growing the wrong way. There are potential downsides, and to avoid them, you have to keep you basic best practices — and customer satisfaction and net profits lie at the center, says Judith Miller.

In this episode, Judith joins Victoria and Mark to talk about the ways to grow your company the right way.

Judith has been a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage Roundtables for more than 15 years. She’s a QuickBooks expert, the author of The Remodeler’s Ultimate Guide to QuickBooks, and has been a columnist for Remodeling magazine for more than 10 years. Judith isn’t just a financial guru, she’s a high-level strategist who understands that numbers prove your strategy. She loves the challenge of helping good remodelers become better every day.

When trying to grow, the biggest stumbling block is a lack of control, preparation, and not focusing on the best practices. Judith tells you what those best practices are, and how to grow the right way, while explaining the details, including:

  • The critical need for leadership
  • Why your financials have to be in order
  • The Top 5 things you need to do to build a strong, profitable company
  • The predictable stages of growth — and which is best to grow in
  • How large you can get
  • Why hiring a sales force is the riskiest transition
  • How to build a company you can sell
  • Why growing over 20% may be crazy
  • And more…

You’ll also learn why “The Whale” projects takes too many remodelers down. Click here to go to the Growth Sustainability Calculator we discussed in the episode.

And if you need QuickBooks help, or want bring in Judith as a consultant for your business, you can email her at jfmiller@remodelservices.com.

 

Want More Ways to Improve Your Business in 2019 and Beyond?

We are excited to announce that we are re-launching and re-branding our annual January event, formerly known as the Master Your Remodeling Business Workshop. The Extreme Makeover: Business Edition Event has been re-tooled and re-focused on providing growing remodelers and renovators with the tools necessary to improve their businesses in 2019 and beyond.

In addition to Judith Miller, this 2-day event will feature well-known speakers such as Victoria Downing, Tim Faller and Mark Harari and bring in new faces like Doug Howard and the 2018 Fred Case Award Winner, Michael Sauri. For more information and to grab Super Early Bird discounts, CLICK 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.

 

Are You a PowerTips Unscripted Super Fan?

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.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.

 

Don’t keep it a secret! Tell everyone you know about PowerTips Unscripted

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.30: How to Create a Financial Plan with Sacha Millstone

Business plans, marketing plans, any plan serves as a map to a goal. Your financial plan is no different.

You need to set your goal, write it down, and commit to it. Our Roundtables members do this regularly for their businesses. But too many people get anxious when it comes to looking at their personal financial plans, says guest Sacha Millstone, a financial planner and wealth manager.

Sacha discusses how to get past the anxiety about your personal financial planning with Victoria and Mark in this episode.

Sacha started the The Millstone Evans Group in the Washington, DC, area in the late 1990s, and now has a team of 10, with offices in Washington, DC, Denver, CO, and Boulder, CO. She has helped hundreds of clients achieve their financial goals by creating a written plan and helping them put it into place.

When you’re running a small business, you can get so absorbed in your work financials that you avoid looking at your personal situation. But you have to, says Sacha. And while you can do a financial plan to get you to retirement, it’s difficult. There’s so much emotion around money that you may need someone to advise, coach, and hold you responsible.

There’s so much good advice in this episode! You’ll learn:

  • The magic of compound interest
  • Why not to use the word “budget”
  • Where your investments are — and what to add
  • Why insurance — especially for yourself — is so important
  • How to mitigate risk in your investments
  • What the Monte Carlo analysis is
  • And a whole lot more…

You’ll also hear why Victoria’s idea of summer fun for kids includes financial quizzes. This episode breaks down the importance of financial planning for remodeling business owners in ways that will make you think differently about the whole subject. It’s never too late to plan.

For more information about Sacha, her business, and how she can help, go to the Millstone Evans Group’s website. If you have questions, drop her an email at sacha.millstone@raymondjames.com or give her a call at (800) 201-4554.

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…

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

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!
 

How are we doing so far?

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

 
 

Ep.17: Building a Sustainable Family Business with Wayne Rivers

According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, roughly 90% of U.S. businesses are family-owned and the Remodeling industry is well represented by closely-held firms, typically started by a founder and then handed down through multiple generations.

Family-owned businesses often run into obstacles and challenges, usually driven by “soft issues” such as communication, emotions, past conflicts, bringing spouses into the business, etc. However, what many of these struggling firms lack is a common vision or mission from a business perspective.

In Episode 17, Victoria and Mark welcome Wayne Rivers, President of The Family Business Institute, to the show to discuss more about his unique approach in working with these types of businesses.

Wayne’s approach is very different and he talks about his tried and proven, step-by-step strategic planning method for maximizing BOTH the success of a business AND their family harmony.

Wayne is a well-known thought-leader, speaker and author on the subject of family-owned businesses; his latest book is Our Family Business Crisis: and How It Made Us Stronger. Wayne is a Wall Street Journal Expert Panelist and has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and the Retirement Living Network.

Victoria, Mark and Wayne discuss the Institute’s unique way of working with their clients; topics include:

  • Identifying reasons why family-owned business struggle
  • Transitioning from one generation to the next
  • The importance of the founder establishing vision early and often
  • The dangers of working AT the business instead of working ON the business
  • “The Magic Bullet” – Business planning methodology and subsequent positive side-effects
  • Going in through the “business door” vs. “family door” when dealing with conflict
  • Dealing with and resolving “soft issues” families face when working together
  • Describing a few steps in the Institute’s 10 step process of working with businesses
  • And more…

A great episode regardless of whether your company is family-owned or not. Many of the concepts discussed about business planning methodology will apply to any business, regardless of ownership structure.

We loved having Wayne as a guest… and we’re even more excited to have him as a featured speaker at the 2018 Remodelers Summit in New Orleans in September.

If you are interested in working with Wayne, his Information is below:

Wayne Rivers
President, Co-Founder
The Family Business Institute
4050 Wake Forest Rd, Ste 110
Raleigh, NC 27609
877-326-2493
Website: www.FamilyBusinessInstitute.com

Ep.13: Buying Out Your Business Partner with Rick Goldstein

Business partnerships are a foundation that so many of our R/A Roundtables Members have built their remodeling businesses on… Whether it’s a family or a group of professionals coming together to form a business, each has its own story along the way.

In episode 13 we take a closer look at a scenario where one partner wants to buy another out and take sole ownership of the business. Victoria and Mark welcome Rick Goldstein of Mosaic Design + Build to the podcast and discuss the process that Rick went through recently to buy his partner out of their firm in Atlanta, GA.

Rick has been the Co-Owner, and now sole owner, of Mosaic for more than 12 years and has been an avid member of the Remodelers Advantage family for many years. Rick and his partner made the decision to move toward a buy-out years ago and Victoria and Mark discuss and ask about the challenges they ran into and lessons-learned along the way.

Victoria, Mark and Rick talk more about:

  • Developing a shareholders agreement – covering ownership transitions, scenarios, exit strategies, etc.
  • Obstacles to overcome (timing, emotional steps, valuation, etc.)
  • Bringing in consultants such as a business valuation firm to get an agreed-upon base line
  • Factors that are calculated in the valuation process
  • How roles and responsibilities play-in to the buy-out process
  • Getting accountants and attorneys involved to hammer out how to physically make the transition
  • Communicating to the company’s leadership and team regarding the process
  • Top three pieces of advice for any owner looking to make this transition

Whether you are considering this move for your remodeling business or not, Rick’s story is fascinating and definitely worth a listen!

Are you a PowerTips Unscripted “Super Fan” yet?

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.