Reading is Fundamental to a Remodeler’s Incentive and Charity Programs

Experts say three of the keys to team building are offering education opportunities, having an incentive program, and involving employees in giving back to the community. There are many ways to do any of these, but a remodeling company in Bonita Springs, FL, has developed a great way to bundle them all together.

One of the greatest things about our Roundtables members is their willingness to share innovative ideas about running a better business with their peer groups. Progressive Design Build’s Mike Spreckelmeier recently let us in on what his company’s doing to boost their team’s knowledge and tying it into a benefit for them and for the larger community.

Book Smart

Anyone who borrows, reads, and then writes a report about a book from Progressive’s company library is eligible for a cash reward of $100. Mike says it will give everyone a common vocabulary related to the book and the company. It also offers a concrete reward for doing so.

That’s pretty cool. But this is where it ties into the greater good. Progressive is collecting unwrapped toys at a company gathering in November, to be donated to the local Toys for Tots chapter.

Anyone who collects the $100 dollar reward for reading is also eligible to donate back 25 percent of the winnings toward a toy for the drive. So a team member can end up with $75, a toy for the drive, all while learning.

It’s a win-win-win, and just one of the ways Progressive Design Build gives back to its community.

What’s Your Big (or Small) Idea?

If you’ve found innovative ways to build a more cohesive team, have an unusual incentive program, or if there’s anything else about your business you’d like to share, let us know. You can drop an email to, or let us know below in the comments. We’d love to hear from you and shine the spotlight on your ideas!

The REAL Reason You Need Goals (and how to make them)

A friend of mine started a handyman business many years ago. The only goal he had when he first “opened his doors” was to make enough money to live on for the following month. He didn’t write it down either—he just kind of knew it was a goal.

Fortunately, I helped him get out of that mindset five short months later. We did some meaningful business planning that helped him forge strong short-term and long-term goals and projections.

Now I’m sure you’ve heard all the benefits before; goals keep you on track, they help with decision-making, they improve communication, they give clarity, etc., etc.

And, of course, that’s all true.

But do you know the biggest reason this goal-setting exercise helped Marc? It gave him control. And isn’t that the fundamental reason people start their own business? To control their future?

Running a business without goals is like shooting a rifle in the fog. You know there’s a target out there somewhere –but you certainly don’t know where – nor do you know if you hit it.

Successful business people don’t operate like that and neither should you.

How to set goals

There are various processes and techniques for determining your business goals. We here at Remodelers Advantage recommend our Roundtables™ members to use the SMART criteria, attributed to Peter Drucker’s management by objectives concept.

SMART is a mnemonic acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic and Time-bound. So all of your goals should successfully meet these criteria:

  • Specific: what exactly do you want to have happen?
  • Measurable: what will success look like? How will you measure it?
  • Assignable: who will be assigned the responsibility and be held accountable?
  • Realistic: this is not the place for pie in the sky goals. Save that for your long term strategic planning sessions. (See BHAG).
  • Timely: set deadlines. Goals should never be open-ended. You must set an end date.

Some companies will replace criteria, such as Attainable instead of Assignable. However, we’ve found that this variation is the most effective way to determine goals that will drive your company forward.

*Sidenote: In actuality we ask Roundtables™ members to use SMARTeR Criteria. The last R is for Resources: What resources will you need to achieve this goal?

What about you?

Do you set goals? What criteria do you use to establish the goals that need to be set?Please share in the comments below!

Continually Learning to Improve Your Business

Recently, I met over 70 savvy renovation company owners and staff who attended the first RenoSummit held in Vancouver and Calgary. I was joined by Robert Koci, associate publisher of Canadian Contractor magazine, Paul Winans as we led a series of sessions focused on critical areas of business management including creating a plan for profit, improving sales processes and results, hard hitting lead generation tactics and more. An array of door prizes and a networking reception rounded out the day.

As is often the case at such conferences, the level of business know-how ranged from those just entering the business to those who have been successfully running a renovation business for many years. However, everyone there was eager to talk business, to spend time sharpening their business saw as they prepared for another year. Each of these renovation company owners and key staff members invested their time and money to improving their business processes.

What business improvement actions are on your calendar? Here are a few ideas to get you moving in the right direction.

1. Read a great business book. Most of the highly successful remodelers I’ve met are avid readers, completing a dozen or more business books each year. What was the last business book you’ve read. I find that each time I dive into another book, I get excited about the possibilities and eager to use the new information I’ve learned to improve the business.

Here are a few suggestions (most are golden oldies that still deliver a punch!)

    1. Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard
    2. The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack
    3. Good to Great by Jim Collins
    4. The Remodelers Guide to Making and Managing Money by Linda Case

2. Sign up for a webinar or teleseminar. Every topic you could hope to learn is available via the web. Below are a couple of resources I use to keep up on marketing developments.

    1. Marketing Experiments
    2. Marketing Profs

3. Attend a seminar or workshop

    1. Keep your eyes open for workshops or seminars happening in your area that focus on a skill that needs improving. Some suggestions:
      i.   Dale Carnegie’s Leadership Training for Managers. Could be great for your staff too!
      ii.  Sandler Sales Training. This franchise organization offers regular seminars in most major cities.

4. Visit a company that you think does a fantastic job. Look around and think about companies in your market that really do a great job. Not other remodeling companies but those in totally different industries. Perhaps it’s a deli, like Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Or a furniture store like one I heard about in Boston. Or a auto service company. I truly believe that we can learn so much from other kinds of businesses.

A key to continuing success is continuing education. I hope that some of these ideas will help you improve your business skills and help you have a fantastic future.