NARI business resolutions

NARI business resolutions

For the bulk of the remodeling community, they will be glad to close the books on 2012 and look ahead to happy-new-year copygrowing business in 2013. As the world continues to spin, NARI members pause to evaluate what’s happened over the past year and plan their New Year’s resolutions for future business success.

Rhonda Burgin, vice president of Burgin Construction Inc., Santa Ana, Calif.

We had a really busy year, which was nice, but it wasn’t as productive as we would have liked.

Though we took on a lot of work, in hindsight, we took on that work, thinking it was smart to catch jobs while we could because projects were few and far between. The reality was, the jobs kept coming and then staff became overloaded, leading to projects being slightly mismanaged. We were working too many hours, and things weren’t done as well as they can be.

Instead of hiring more employees, we are taking a different approach and cutting back on jobs in 2013. This will mean taking a lot of time to qualify leads and to be more aware of red flags in new customers.

Fewer jobs will also give us time to strengthen the company’s processes and management of projects. We can also evaluate what’s working and revamp our marketing and outreach strategy.

For example, social media has been a core element of our marketing efforts, and I’m finally beginning to see how powerful it can be. Before, we would maybe receive one lead every few months through our social media channels, and now, things have taken off.  Last week we received three leads from Houzz, and I’m trying to think about what I can do to increase this.

We are used to creating business resolutions and sticking with them. Last year, we decided to go paperless, and we did and we love it.

David Roberts, CR, UDCP, President of Roberts Construction Group, Inc., Evanston, Ill.

Coming off a 30-year anniversary celebration in October, we have a lot to be grateful for when it comes to my business and the future.

We just wrapped up our annual strategic planning meeting last week, allowing me to refine our business resolutions from input from my employees. I have found open discussions with, and active input from, everyone is the best way to plan for the future. With everyone’s involvement in the process, it’s more likely that they will put the plan into action.

This year’s plan focuses on improving internal and external communication. We are always looking for better ways of communicating with each other and with clients in a clear, concise way. So, we have assembled a small team of employees to research cloud-based project management software for the company that will hopefully address the communication challenges.

This effort also spills into another area of improvement—the company’s operations. We are going to evaluate and sharpen our operations manuals to bring them up to date with how we function.

Each department is responsible for updating the operation manuals and once that happens, we will review them as a group to allow all departments to discuss those changes. I have found this process reinforces roles and responsibilities.

This is especially important with a heavy work load on the horizon. With multiple projects already in the pipeline, we decided to hire another dedicated designer to the team.

Our final initiative is to concentrate on sustainability and universal design as new growth areas. These are two areas that I feel will become more essential in reaching more clients and our marketing strategy will focus on educating prospects about these trends through cataloguing projects and photos on our Website.

Eric Thorson, Thorson Restoration & Construction LLC, Bridgewater, Mass.

Looking back over the last four years, I can’t complain. “We have stayed pretty constant— although job size may be a little smaller, our volume hasn’t decreased.”

With the winter months are approaching, and a significant backlog of work in tow, I have a chance to step back and gear up the behind-the-scenes infrastructure at the company before spring.

One of the projects I’m going to tackle is the company’s technology hardware and server. We had old PCs and iPads that weren’t synching, and we needed to have complete remote access from the jobsite.

This was also important because we now have a part-time estimator working from home who needs access to the company server. This new position helps me keep up with sales by presenting bids to new clients in a timely, professional fashion.

In the past, a steady workflow has come from a group of four architecture firms who often hire or refer us as the general contractor on their projects. In our area, it’s more common for a homeowner to call an architect first when they decide to remodel.

Because of this trend, I decided not to move the business into the design/build business model, which would have created unwanted competition with the architects. As a result we will continue to address the contracting needs on projects and cultivate relationships with architects for the larger jobs that they tend to bring.

An area of growth for next year will be the light commercial remodeling arena. We recently posted our first commercial project photos on the Website and Facebook pages to let people know that we take these projects. We realized a lot of past clients have business locations as well and never knew or considered us for work on their offices.

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