Marketing

Ep.80: Bridging the Skills Gap from an Economist’s Perspective with Mischa Fisher

An aging skilled workforce is retiring, and there’s a shortage of younger people taking their place. It’s a hot topic among remodeling companies, who are still searching for the right answers to solving their labor shortage.

In  this episode, Mischa Fisher, Victoria, and Mark discuss what you can do to bridge the skills gap, and how to change deep-seated perceptions around joining the home-services industry. 

Mischa Fisher is the chief economist at ANGI Homeservices, representing the HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List brands. Prior to this role, Mischa was chief economist for Illinois, where he served as the economic policy advisor to the governor; he is also a former legislative director for the United States Congress in Washington, DC, and is currently an instructor in applied quantitative analysis at Northwestern University. 

Mischa says the labor shortage starts with s a simple fact of demographics, where an aging workforce is getting ready to retire, and the Millennials and younger Generation Z aren’t in the pipeline to replace them. Compounding that, there’s already a shortage of skilled labor. An internal HomeAdvisor poll showed 65 percent of their members could not fill a position, says Mischa, and it’s getting worse. Mischa shares his insights into what’s causing the labor shortage, and how we can all go about fixing it, plus bonus advice from his dad, including:

  • Why talking about it is a great start
  • Raising awareness inside and outside the industry
  • Best practices to fill your open positions
  • How to appeal to Millennials and Gen Z with a rewarding workplace
  • The importance of building a real team
  • Recognizing generational differences and how to work with them
  • How to create a clear pathway to learning
  • Recruiting older, experienced people
  • Using the student loan crisis to your advantage in recruiting
  • Appealing to the entrepreneurial spirit
  • Working with industry, government, and educational leaders
  • Educating parents about the advantages of learning a skilled trade
  • And more …


Mischa says you can find more resources to help at the Home Advisor Pro Center. Keep an eye out for a new research portal that will be live in a couple of months at www.homeadvisor.research.

Ep.79: Helping Veterans Remodel with SAH Grants with Jay Latona

Caring for our veterans should be a national priority when they come back home. The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) program offers grants to service members and veterans who have certain severe service-connected disabilities. The grants assist with building, remodeling, or purchasing an adapted home, but the program needs remodelers and builders to make it work.

Most people in the remodeling industry don’t know these grant programs and projects exist. 

In this episode, Jay Latona tells Victoria and Mark about this incredible program, and how it can enable remodelers and builders to provide a great service to our nation’s veterans, while also making a profit.

Jay is the chief, specially adapted housing at the Veterans Benefits Administration, and has worked as a remodeler and builder. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Jay will be at the Remodelers Summit 2019 in Orlando, Sept. 24-25, to talk more about the program. 

The SAH program began in 1948 as part of the G.I. Bill of Rights. It provides funding to veterans to enter a contractual relationship with builders or remodelers to make homes more accessible to assist with independent living. The SAH program is funding more than 2,000 projects a year with more than $100 million paid out. Jay talks about how the program works, how you can get involved, and what it can do for your business, including:

  • What you need to do to register
  • Help with marketing it
  • The separate compliance inspections and who does them
  • How funds are dispersed
  • Connecting with veterans
  • Opportunities for new remodelers
  • The minimum adaptations you need to do
  • Other grant opportunities veterans can get
  • And more …

Jay says the registration process is simple, and can be life-changing for veterans. To get more information, and to download the handbook he mentions, go to: https://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/adaptedhousing.asp. And if you want more assistance, send an email to sahinfo.vbaco@va.gov.

Jay Will be a Guest Presenter at Summit… Don’t Miss it!

Jay Latona will be joining us at Summit and will give a brief presentation on how his organization is supporting veterans. If you haven’t registered for Summit, there’s still plenty of time to register and arrange your travel for the biggest and best Summit we’ve ever had!
Click Here for More information >>

Ep.72: [Unscripted Back-Up] Building a Successful, Profitable Remodeling Company with Brandon Bailey

It’s time for another Unscripted Back-Up. It’s a chance to revisit some of our best and most informative episodes. They’re jam-packed with information you can use — so if you missed it the first time around, here’s your chance to catch up.

Growing your remodeling company is filled with pitfalls and challenges that can prevent you from getting to the next level successfully. So many of our Roundtables members say it takes hard work, yes, but also a concentrated focus and a willingness to look for help from outside your organization when you need it.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark talk to Brandon Bailey, who’s a textbook example of a successful remodeler who made the right moves after deciding to significantly grow his business. 

Brandon is an owner of Bailey Remodeling & Construction, a design build company in Louisville, KY. After starting his business in 2005, Brandon was where many of our members were when they were starting out — producing good, reputable work but spinning their wheels with long hours, no systems in place, and no predictable revenue model. Sound familiar?

In 2009, Brandon and his business partner, Jon Steimel, set out to significantly change and grow their business. They’ve done a fantastic job, their awards include being named the 2017 Remodeler of the Year by the Building Industry Association in Louisville.They won two project awards from BIA in 2019. They are now have 10 team members and are looking for more.

Brandon talks about how the company has managed its growth, things to look out for, and what it has meant for the business and his life, including:

  • The specific challenges when growing
  • Finding outside resources to help his business
  • What it was like working with a business coach and peer group
  • Which KPIs to keep an eye on
  • Growing his team beyond the two partners
  • Building a sales system
  • Establishing a consistent and predictable revenue model
  • Increasing net profit
  • What his business and day-to-day life is like now
  • And more …

Brandon’s story will sound familiar to so many remodelers, and the steps he has taken to build a more successful, profitable remodeling company can be guide your own journey.

Join Remodeling’s Top One Percent

Brandon is a fantastic example of a business owner who took advantage of the Power of Roundtables. Our program is a world-class peer advisory service that brings together smart, motivated remodeling professionals, just like you, to help one another grow.

Want to learn how you can participate in this experienced braintrust? Learn More Here >>

Ep.71: Strategy Isn’t Enough with Brian Gottlieb

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. We’re excited that Brian will also be a speaker at the Remodelers Summit in Orlando this September.

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
  • Why Brian doesn’t have drawers in his office
  • Examples of the wrong strategies
  • Knowing how to add value for you customers
  • Why you shouldn’t hire people like you
  • Finding the root causes of your weaknesses
  • Why throwing dollars at a problem doesn’t work
  • The differences between vision and a road map
  • Why firing someone should never be a surprise
  • And more …

Including how Brian sees his role in his organization, what he does, and what it means to the culture of his organization.

See Brian Speak at the Annual Remodeler’s Summit

We’re thrilled that Brian will be joining us for two sessions at the 2019 Remodeler’s Summit, Sept. 24-25, in Orlando:

To learn more the Summit event and our line-up of other great speakers, go to Remodelerssummit.com!

2019 Remodelers Summit

Ep.65: How to Turn Your Travel into an Epic Marketing Opportunity

There’s an overlooked opportunity for you to shine in your marketing. For some of you, this opportunity only comes once a year. For others (like many of our Roundtables members) it comes nine or 10 times a year. Regardless of how often the opportunity presents itself, odds are you’re squandering it.

It’s your “out of office” email message.

In this episode, Mark’s flying solo. Victoria’s taking a well-earned vacation and it prompted him to think about this often under-used touchpoint with clients, trade partners, and prospects.

Take some time to make your message memorable in your rush to get out the door. Be human. Be creative. Be thorough so that if it’s a time-critical email, the person who contacted you has a means of getting through to someone else. Think of all the boring and canned out-of-office messages you accumulate in your in-box — and don’t do that. Mark’s tips for an awesome outgoing message include:

  • How to write a great subject line
  • Why you should pad your return date
  • Setting up a custom email for urgent matters
  • Giving a gift in the reply
  • And more …

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to make a connection — a human one — while you’re kicking back and out of the daily grind.

Ep.63: How To Fire Up Your Referral Engine with Tanya Bamford

Research proves referred clients cost less to acquire, are easier to close, and are more valuable to your business over time.

So why don’t more companies ask for them?

In this episode, Tanya Bamford joins Victoria and Mark to share ways to help you fire up your referral engine, and get more business without spinning your wheels. And it’s backed by hard, verifiable research.

Tanya Bamford is the managing director of R/A Marketing, a sister company to Remodelers Advantage. Prior to joining R/A Marketing, Tanya owned an award-winning marketing firm serving small and mid-size businesses. A sought-after speaker, Tanya has presented more than 20 seminars on marketing-related topics ranging from strategic planning to social-media marketing.

You can’t take referrals for granted — you have to maintain regular communication with your past clients. You can take charge of it by nurturing your relationship with your clients over time. Tanya says you have to remind them, and give them the tools to spur those referrals, including:

  • The power of endorsements from clients on others
  • Starting with delivering a great customer experience
  • Identifying who your promoters are
  • Tracking you promotor segment
  • How and where to ask for referrals
  • Plotting out your communications strategy
  • Why direct mail lives
  • The channels that work
  • Why awards should be announced
  • Enabling your team to help you get those referrals
  • Why referral rewards programs may not really work for remodelers
  • And so much more …

To take a deeper dive into referral marketing, here are two resources Tanya referenced:

Ep.60: How to Manage Your Online Reputation Using Google Reviews with Russell Fuller

Your reputation is your most valuable business asset — but don’t think for a minute that doing high-quality work and providing top-notch service is enough to make and keep it spotless. The Internet has made it all too easy for people to publicly tarnish your good name — quickly.

Take the initiative, and manage your reputation proactively. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark talk online reviews with Russell Fuller. Russell concentrates on the power of Google reviews, discusses how to get great ones, and what it all means to his business.

Russell owns Fuller Living Construction in Seattle, WA. He’s passionate about small business and marketing. Fuller Living Construction is Google’s highest-rated construction company in Seattle.

Russell starts laying the foundation for reviews during the Sales process, sends a mid-project survey to head off problems that may have cropped up, and systematically follows up after the job is finished to get consistent five-star Google reviews. He explains how he settled on Google, what it means to his business, and how he does it, including:

  • Getting your message out
  • How Yelp chooses to show reviews
  • Strategies to make it automatic and easy for clients to leave reviews
  • How to handle bad reviews online
  • The ripple effect of good and bad reviews
  • The power of a good lawyer
  • Speaking honestly with clients — and listening
  • Following up with past clients
  • Being specific in your review requests
  • The “review insurance account”
  • Soliciting reviews from Trade Partners and team members
  • Where reviews are going next
  • And more …

Building and managing your online reputation is more important than ever. Planting the seeds early for great reviews and making the most of them will lay the foundation for a successful business for years to come.

Ep.57: How to Capture Cost-Effective, Exclusive Leads by Blogging with Mike Foti

We’re big believers in the power of blogging to generate interest and business. Today we’re talking to someone in the trenches who’s also a believer, because it’s helped him in growing his business, gaining credibility, elevating customer loyalty, and  — most importantly — generating cost-effective, exclusive leads.

In this episode, Mike Foti discusses his business case for blogging with Victoria and Mark, and tells you how you can do the same.

Mike is president of Innovate Building Solutions of Cleveland, OH, a regional remodeling and nationwide wholesaler of grout-free shower and tub wall panels, wet room systems and glass floors, and also of Innovate Home Org, a designer and installer of custom home organization systems. In the eight years he’s been blogging on his News from the Block blog, it’s grown to 85,000 visitors per month and 19,000 email subscribers — and he has two other blogs. Mike is a self-described DMG (Digital Marketing Geek) and loves learning how to increase traffic and leads without forking over big bucks to “Mr. Google.” He’s also a crazy one-hour-a-day runner – even after suffering two heart attacks over the last two years. Finally, Mike is a reinvigorated Cleveland Browns fan and says (just like Baker Mayfield) he’s feeling a little dangerous today.

Mike started blogging after a digital marketing consultant told him how it would help his business, and he admits his first attempts weren’t so good. Mike shares his five reasons to blog, tips for finding the time to do it, and the benefits, including:

  • Avoiding pay-per-click costs
  • Why he doesn’t do Facebook ads
  • Becoming known as an expert and building a following
  • Why it works for project-based businesses
  • The importance of being consistent
  • Attracting tire-kickers and turning them into leads
  • The power of information, influence, and education
  • If you can’t write, finding someone who can
  • Giving yourself permission to not be very good at first
  • How to generate ideas — taking questions from your sales calls and answering them
  • Why the weirdest jobs make the best stories
  • Writing awesome headlines
  • Sharing who you are for a personal connection
  • How to entertain while educating
  • And more …

Including Mike and Mark talking the Odell Beckham trade, while Victoria stares at the ceiling. Also, for all those wondering, capers are flower buds that are pickled in brine. It’s a wide-ranging and high-energy conversation that will convince you to start blogging if you’re not doing it already — or make you better at it if you are.

Ep.55: Why and How to Start Your Own Podcast

In an extremely meta podcast today, we talk about podcasting — and the top reasons you should start your own. We were prompted by an email from a Roundtables member asking why and how to do it.

Podcasting is growing by leaps and bounds — 51% of the population has listened to a podcast. Of those listening, 45% are likely to have an income of $250,000 or more — the kind of affluent demographic you want.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark kick around the reasons you should start your own podcast, with some tips on how to get started.

First thing, don’t get swayed by the idea that a podcast is too global to target your own local area. You don’t even have to cover remodeling in your podcast, as long as it’s sponsored by your company. Other things to consider include:

  • Making the time commitment
  • Being consistent
  • Deciding on a format
  • Writing a script
  • Equipment, set-up, and the costs
  • Content creation and what to cover
  • How to target the right market for you
  • The value of an internal podcast for your employees
  • The launch and initial push
  • How prepare your guests and make them comfortable
  • And much more …

Including Mark springing the lightning round on Victoria (completely ignoring what he just said about preparing guests, but whatever). If you start a podcast, or are already doing one, let us know in the comments below!

Ep.50: LIVE from the Extreme Business Makeover in Baltimore

For our 50th episode, we gathered a panel of industry experts and took questions from the audience at the Extreme Business Makeover in Baltimore at the the end of January 2019. 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 direct the lively discussions with our panel. We were joined by:

We talk 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, you need to listen to this episode.

 

MASTER NAVIGATION
MASTER NAVIGATION