Take Control

There’s no better time to take control than the moment you realize you’re not in control. That moment of clarity hit every one of us at some point in the past year or two; you can’t control the economy.

You can, however, control your business. And have you ever had more down time, frankly, to focus on running your business? Turn your down time into productive time. How? Take a look at these three examples of housing industry professionals using creativity to take control of their futures.

A colleague of mine in the Chicago area shared the story of his remodeler friend Jeff Burch who needed to rustle up some business. Both Paul (my colleague) and Jeff are fathers of boys in the same Adventure Guides group at the YMCA. Remembering the annual balsa wood derby coming up, my colleague hatched a clever plan. He suggested Jeff invite all the dads to his shop where he could teach them how to use tools to help their sons build their balsa wood cars. Jeff followed through, resulting in several solid leads and even some business.

Another example is builder Mike McDonald who completed his own home last year near San Francisco. The house ended up being very green, very striking and very party-friendly. Proud of his home, he wanted to share the lessons he learned during design and construction with the local industry, while showing it off at the same time. So he prepared his wife and kids for his plan to entertain and educate the local community for the next year. In the past 10 months, he hosted numerous parties for more than 3,000 architects, builders, remodelers, reporters, bloggers, magazine editors and others in the community. He tells me the next 10 years of work for his construction firm will come from connections made at those parties. How’s that for taking control of one’s future?

On the other side of the country in New Jersey, RD&B columnist and custom builder Jay Grant realized he had no control over the economy that was creating financial complications at his design/build firm. So, he did what many of you have done recently; he cut staff. Using some creative problem solving, he imagined a different business model and figured out a way to retain a talented staff member while cutting costs; he now pays his project manager on a performance basis. Jay kept his company’s team together, a trusted colleague employed, and many client relationships intact while relieving himself of a payroll burden at the same time. He took control and made the best of a bad situation. Learn exactly how he did this on page 6 of this issue.

Be inspired by the creativity behind these successes. Use this down time to think of new ways to take control and reinvent your own business.

Have you enjoyed similar success at your firm? Do you know colleagues who have taken control of their futures? Share your story with RD&B readers by sending them via e-mail to rob.heselbarth@cygnusb2b.com.

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