Are you resistant to change? Do you believe that because something has always worked for you, it’s “obviously” the best way to do it? Have you ever said, “we’ve always done it this way,” as an argument against change?
If so, then you are playing a dangerous game of chicken with your company, because these six words will eventually be the downfall of your business.
In this week’s episode, Victoria and Mark discuss the dangers hidden behind this seemingly innocent string of words, and they share proven methods to not only overcome your fear of change, but also to ensure you’re making the right decisions for change.
Because change for changes sake is just as dangerous as not changing at all.
Are you able to drive change in your business? Are you “stuck” & unsure about what step to take next?
Editor’s note: We’re all working from our homes, away from the friendly confines of the office and its podcasting studio. So we dug into the virtual vault to bring you this episode. We’re in an uncertain time for many remodelers, so here’s some advice that will help you weather any business climate.
One of our core principles is that remodeling companies should make a good net profit, after paying the owners an above-average salary. When the economy’s booming, you can get away with a lot and still hit those goals, sometimes by accident. But the goal is to get those healthy net profits consistently, year after year, even in a downturn.
In this episode, Mike Medford Sr. talks to Victoria and Mark about how to do just that. Before seeing the metrics of the Top Ten Roundtables members a few years ago, Mike says his financials were always in flux. But then he took those figures and made them hard targets.
Mike Medford Sr. has been a home remodeling contractor for over 40 years. In 2007, he partnered with his son, Mike Jr. to form what is now Medford Design Build, with offices in Colleyville and Arlington, TX. Mike Sr. is the president of Medford Design Build.
Mike challenged himself and his team to hit the new fixed targets. He refined their processes and challenged his team to hit those targets. By the next quarterly meeting, the company’s profits were rising. He talks about how he and his team made it happen, including:
Creating a profit-centric culture
How net profits will help you beat the labor shortage
Focusing your staff on gross profit
The importance of open books to the process
Setting up a bonus structure
Building time in to plan
Mike also talks about getting back to the art of contracting and how important that is to your margins.
Time to Give Back…
After more than 30 years of working with some of the finest Remodelers and Renovators in the business, we are facing new challenges in our industry. We want to give back to an industry that has supported us through good times and bad, and so we’ve created Build Aid, a free event to help support our members, associates, and friends in the remodeling community.
Join us on April 1-2 as we explore various ways your business can navigate these tough times, and position yourselves as a leader when the world begins to recover and re-build. Click Here to Learn More & Register >>
Being able to adapt and lead through a crisis — personal or business — is a critical skill for any business owner.
After their best year ever in 2018, Jef and Monica Forward were gearing up for an even stronger 2019. Everything was on course until two key players were diagnosed with cancer. One of them was Monica, who was the company’s only estimator at the time. The other was their lead designer.
One year later, everyone is alive, and despite all the difficulties, they also hit all of their business goals.
In this episode, Jef and Monica talk about the challenges with Victoria and Mark, and share insights into how they kept it all going.
Jef and Monica are business partners at Forward Design Build Remodel in Ann Arbor MI. Jef has participated in every level at Remodelers Advantage Roundtables and is a member of our MentorFor group. Over the last four years, Jef has focused on improving his coaching and leadership skills, resulting in improved client satisfaction, planned healthy growth and a positive team culture. Jef was recently a semi-finalist for the Fred Case Entrepreneur Award, and for the Remodelers Advantage Impact Award. Jef credits all of this success to his collaboration with Monica, their team, and Roundtables.
The team culture at their company was a key component of the company coming together and adapting to the emotional and business changes, Monica and Jef say. When her diagnosis came, they were about to implement The Great Game of Business, which empowers every employee to act like an owner and share in the profits. But then everything changed. Jef and Monica talk about how they got through the year, including:
Being prepared for the unexpected
Developing a strategy to get through
How to deal with work absences
The importance of cross-training
Figuring out who takes over the extra work
Tapping into the strength of your team
Being open about your tough times
Leading through vulnerability
Maintaining a positive attitude
Handling the emotional components
And more …
The company continues to perform at peak levels due to the strength of the company culture, and their proven processes and systems.
Cool Gear, Great Cause
If you’re looking for cool gear and apparel to show your Roundtables pride that also supports a great cause, check out our Shop. All of the proceeds go to our partner, The American Cancer Society. It’s a win-win!
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
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.
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
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 ourMasterclass 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
All remodelers have a sales department. All remodelers have a production department. But few officially recognize a human resources department.
Alex Raisanan used her experience to build an HR department for TraVek, a remodeling company in Scottsdale, AZ. Through skill and creativity, the department was able to build its team by 123 percent in a tough labor market.
In this episode, Alex shares how she did it with Victoria and Mark, and tells you how an HR department of one can help you grow your team with intention and create a culture worth talking about.
Alex is the human resource director at TraVek. Her dedication to high standards was ingrained at an early age by her luxury resort experience in the HR department of the Four Seasons Scottsdale, and led her to corporate recruiting at one of the largest national companies in the construction sector, and then finally to TraVek.
She learned how to build a culture at the Four Seasons and found her passion for helping people find jobs to support themselves and their families. Alex has officially been at TraVek since February 2017, but had been doing work behind the scenes previously. Alex helped develop some policies and procedures, and an employee handbook. When she began full-time, she dove into recruiting in a tough labor market. She shares her strategies for finding the right people for the right roles, and growing your business, including:
How to network and build relationships
Starting conversations with people who have the skills you need
How she attracts top talent
Taking the long view of recruiting
Using LinkedIn and social media to grow your staff
Why to recruit when you’re not necessarily hiring
What to do when you find a superstar, but no formal job opening
Establishing a templated on-boarding process
The interview process
Involving your team to evaluate a good fit
The questions to ask to determine a cultural fit
And more …
Proactively recruiting can help you increase the chances that the top talent will be interested and available when you do have an opening.
In a low-unemployment economy, recruiting and retaining the best talent is a continuous effort. You need a powerful competitive advantage — one that’s nearly impossible for anyone else to copy.
It’s your company culture.
In this episode, Steve Anderson tells Victoria and Mark why that is, and how you can develop a successful culture — or turn around a faltering one.
Steve’s an author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He’s worked with tens of thousands of professionals to grow and expand their businesses. Steve has spoken at our Remodeler’s Summit and worked with our Roundtables members in the past.
Your company culture is a combination of priorities and processes, and how your team acts on them, that results in how people feel about your company, inside and out. It can happen by default or by definition, but almost all successful cultures happen by design. He tells you how to look at your culture critically, and the steps to take to improve it, including:
Building on natural laws
Defining your priorities
Designing your culture intentionally
The law of emotion
What the 10 Commandments can teach you about changing your culture
It’s easy to be successful in a great economy. You can get away with a lot of bad habits, lack of systems, and high overhead when jobs are large and margins high. But when the economy contracts, job sizes shrink, and margins erode, those bad habits can have a huge affect on the health of your company.
Focusing on the right things when times are good are key to recession-proofing your business.
In this episode, Dave Edwards talks to Victoria and Mark about the lessons he learned and the changes he made to create a healthy company following the last recession, and how that positions it to survive and even thrive in the next downturn.
Dave is the founder and president of Earth Bound Homes, a home-building and remodeling company in San Jose, CA. Before he joined Remodelers Advantage Roundtables in 2014, Dave spent 12 years learning all the different ways to not build and run a profitable construction company.
His path to recession-proofing his company came after watching other remodelers and builders go out of business in the last recession. After his company almost went bankrupt in 2011, he joined Roundtables and also went to counseling. He talks about his path to success in business and in his personal life, and how he has built a company that can withstand an economic downturn, including:
Focusing on others’ happiness as the key to achievement
His metrics for success — it’s not all about money
Recognizing when someone else has better ideas, and running with them
The Stop/Start meeting to improve the company
How to bill like a lawyer
Making project management a source of income
Working with a tight subcontractor market who need extra management
Helping architects get their project packages together
Identifying bad habits and how to fix them
How unbilled labor can cut into your profits
Why he cut his field staff to boost his revenue
Getting the best people and keeping them happy
The power of diversity in company culture
And more …
Dave says the three big ways to ensuring your company’s survival are figuring out how to live on your salary as a business owner, banking your cash to be able to pay and retain your team during a downturn, and reducing your mark up to still be profitable.
Victoria and Mark are just back from their own peer group meeting, and were inspired by what they learned. In particular, they were excited by something they heard from another member, Wayne Rivers.
Wayne has a video blog, and we’re picking up one of his episodes about leadership. He says leaders tolerate bad behaviors in their organizations too often, and it can cost you money and time. The culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate. You may hear some things that hit home for you in his talk.
Wayne is the co-founder and president of The Family Business InstituteInc. He has authored four books on the subject of business families, the latest of which is Our Family Business Crisis and How It Make Us Stronger. Wayne has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, BusinessWeek: WEEKEND, and on the Retirement Living Network.
Wayne gives examples of toxic employee behavior in his talk today, and tells you how you can curb them, including:
The reasons you keep bad employees
Why you need to have performance reviews
The definition of stewardship
Why you need to have a recruiting system
Developing your spine
The benefits of outside support for leaders
The improve or remove system
And more …
You, as a leader, have to find the bad behaviors you’re tolerating, and figure out what to do about them to keep your company healthy. For more of Wayne’s videos, go the The Family Business Institute’s YouTube channel.
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: