Leadership

EP.91: [Unscripted Back-up] Expert Panel at Extreme Business Makeover Shares Insight

As we wrap up 2019, we’re looking back at some of our more popular episodes and this one was a huge hit.

For our 50th episode in January, we gathered a panel of industry experts and took questions from the audience at the Extreme Business Makeover event. 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 directed the lively discussions with our panel. Panelists included:

  • Michael Sauri of TriVistaUSA Design + Build and the 2018 winner of the Fred Case Remodeling Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
  • Doug Howard, RA’s CFO and Director of Consulting Services, a.k.a. “The Fixer”
  • Judith Miller, Financial and QuickBooks “Guru”
  • Tim Faller, RA’s Senior Consultant and “Master of Production”

We covered 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 back in January, you need to listen to this episode.

And Don’t Miss THIS Year’s Extreme Business Makeover Event;
New Content, Fresh Ideas

On January 28-29, 2020 we will gather once again at the BWI Westin and present 2 days of interactive presentations, breakouts and expert panels (like the one featured in today’s podcast). We have Super Early Bird pricing in place until 12/15/19 so Click here for more information and Register Today!

Ep.89: Focusing on Clarity in Communication with Jeremy Steinruck

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
  • Facing fears
  • 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.

Ep.88: All Help Is the Same, Isn’t it? with Allison Iantosca

As a seasoned business professional, you’ve probably been on both sides of the equation when it comes to giving and getting help. Get advice, give consultation. Gain a mentor, bestow some wisdom. While in these essential moments, we want to help and be helped, that doesn’t always happen. 

It helps to know there are differences in the types of support we can give and get — and what they are. 

In this episode, Allison Iantosca will discuss those distinctions with Victoria and Mark, and how stopping and thinking about how you ask for or give help will make the results more useful and valuable.

Allison is the president and owner of F.H. Perry Builder, a Boston-area custom remodeling firm focused on building homes and relationships of lasting value.

Though there are nuanced distinctions, coaching, consulting, and mentoring are not the same thing, says Allison. Knowing the differences will make the help given or gotten more relevant and valuable. Figuring it out includes knowing what you want to offer or receive in that moment, including:

  • Who needs what, and when
  • Concentrating on process in coaching
  • Consulting and advising on outcomes
  • Using experience in mentoring for a shared outcome
  • Coaching your staff
  • How to know what help to ask for
  • The time periods needed for each
  • Asking the right questions to spur the right answers
  • And more …

One of the best ways to differentiate between the three main types of help you can give or get is to determine the goal, and what choices need to be made to get there.

And Speaking of Consulting & Coaching …

As we head into 2020, there is no better time than RIGHT NOW to be planning for how your company will hit the profit goals that you have committed to… What? You have no Goals? No Plan? Well, we will help you with that too!

Join us on Tuesday, November 19th as our CFO & Director of Consulting, Doug Howard, hosts a FREE Webinar and walks you through the key steps to Creating Your Wining Strategy for 2020.

Click Here for More Information and to grab your spot.

Ep.87: Partnership — Creating a Unified Vision for your Company’s Future with Matt Carlson

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
  • Resolving conflicts
  • 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 our Masterclass 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

Ep.82: What Can Be Learned from Success with Wayne Rivers

We’re just back from the 2019 Remodelers Excellence Week, Remodelers Summit, and Roundtables meetings, and our opening video was about thinking like a child, and allowing yourself to fail so that you can learn from what went wrong. It’s all a part of evolving as a business, as a person, and the art of growth.

Then we came across the latest video blog from our friend Wayne Rivers.

It dovetailed nicely with our main takeaways, while also turning the concept of learning from failure on its head. It’s devoted to learning from your successes, and then building on them.

So in this episode, we’re picking up the audio of his blog. If you’d like to watch the video, you can find it here.

Wayne is the co-founder and president of The Family Business Institute Inc. He has authored four books on the subject of family businesses, and is part of the peer group Victoria and Mark attend. Wayne has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, BusinessWeek: WEEKEND, and on the Retirement Living Network.

Wayne talks about how overlooked, yet powerful, success can be as a teaching tool. Instead of always concentrating on what didn’t go right, he tells you how to learn from the good, including:

  • What you can learn from the Blue Angels
  • Why to focus on the process more than the outcome
  • Conducting a post-mortem on every project, good and bad
  • Analyze for successes and failures
  • Realizing that success is almost always a team effort
  • Why to benchmark in every department and process
  • Getting an outside perspective and objective opinion
  • And more …

There are opportunities for learning and improving everywhere — you have to look for them and then build on them.

Click here to take a look at our Summit kick-off video.

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.78: The Most Powerful Competitive Advantage with Steve Anderson

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
  • Defining your culture in a written document
  • Setting expectations
  • Reinforcing acceptable behavior
  • Why the customer shouldn’t come first
  • Using your culture in recruiting and hiring
  • The culture mistakes you may be making
  • And more …

There’s a copy of Steve’s first written culture guide in his book, The Culture of Success: 10 Natural Laws for Creating a Place Where Everyone Wants to Work. He invites everyone to use that culture guide to create your own — just click the link and make your purchase.

Ep.77: Recession-Proofing Your Company with Dave Edwards

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.

Ep.73: A Leader’s Inactions Are Just as Important as Actions with Wayne Rivers

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 Institute Inc. 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.

Ep.68: Managing Your Sales while Wearing Many Hats with Chip Doyle

Most remodelers wear many hats, and sales management is only one of them. So you have to handle sales functions on a part-time basis. As you grow and add salespeople, overseeing that department becomes yet another job duty.

In this episode, Chip Doyle discusses how to successfully manage the sales department on a part-time basis with Victoria and Mark.

Chip wrote the book Selling to Homeowners — The Sandler Way. He trains many R/A members, including owners, salespeople, designers and project managers how to sell — without sounding like salespeople.

Being a good sales manager takes a different skill set than being a salesperson does. You need to be patient, predictable in your coaching, and temper your expectations for their own lead generation. Chip says he’s seeing a higher success rate with developing salespeople from within remodeling companies, rather than hiring from outside — people who are good at selling are already busy and making great money. But wherever your find your new sales staff, Chip talks about ways to set them — and your company — up for success, including:

  • When to hire a new salesperson
  • Performing a sales assessment
  • What they should sell first
  • Why prospecting is crucial
  • Why they should under-qualify leads
  • How many meetings to have and when
  • The questions to ask your sales staff
  • How to help your salespeople
  • Why truthfulness is mandatory
  • How much time to spend on sales management
  • And more …

Including why just selling the next step — not the whole project at once — is the key to good sales.

Get The Edge You Need

If you’d like to help brushing up your — or your staff’s — sales techniques, Chip runs a weekly training session called Sales Edge. It brings together a group of non-competing R/A members to sharpen their approach to this vitally important business function. Find out more today.

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