What is Your Brand Personality? (with download)

Few Remodelers have made a conscious effort to identify and define their brand personality. But it’s a critical tool for guiding how your brand is portrayed in the marketplace. Your brand personality influences everything from your letterhead to who you hire.

If you’re not familiar with the term, brand personality is a set of human emotional characteristics that are connected to your company name. In other words, it’s the way your company expresses and represents itself.

Why does it matter?

At the most basic level, it guarantees consistency. Truth be told, keeping your brand’s personality on-message can be difficult. It’s not uncommon for employees or subcontractors (your company’s representatives) to drift away from the public image you want to portray. And doing so jeopardizes your brand’s credibility.

So clearly defining the personality of your brand helps keep all stakeholders on track.

The whole point here is to set expectations and give your customers an identity with which to interact. You want to turn your cold and impersonal company into something that the right people can relate to.

Queen Elizabeth

Who are the right people? Your ideal client.

For example, Red Bull uses personality traits such as macho, active, outgoing, and unpredictable to connect with their target audience.

Can you see Queen Elizabeth chugging down a can of Red Bull? Neither can I.

How to create your brand personality?

First off you need to understand that, more than likely, your brand personality already exists. So you don’t want to create one. You want to identify it, build on it and make it the standard by which all decisions are made. This will ensure your customers can clearly identify with your brand.

At the end of this post you’ll find a worksheet that can help you identify your brand personality.

Once you’ve identified it, you will want to make sure that it is relatable to your existing customer base. Answer questions like:

  • Who is my existing customer?
  • What does she relate to?
  • What are her traits?
  • How does she communicate with her friends? Family? Colleagues?
  • What type of humor does she like? Sarcastic and dark? Self-deprecating? Deadpan? Highbrow? Quirky?
  • What does she like to do for fun? Go hiking? Stay in and watch a movie?

Answering these type of questions will help you determine if your brand is “acting” the way it should to connect with your clientele.

Parting Thought

Im a Mac

As I said, the core purpose of your brand personality is for people to identify and connect with your brand. But in the end, people are far more likely to connect with other people.

So the strongest way to develop your brand personality is to give it a face; whether it’s you, another representative or even a fictional character.

Remember the “I’m a Mac” commercials? Apple didn’t dance around their goal here. They went ahead and literally showed you a “human PC” and a “Human Mac.” Then they let you decide with whom you relate.


Download the Worksheet

Members: download this worksheet from the RAU Library!

Get My Worksheet Now!

Change is Good. Why Are You Fighting It?

Running a business means dealing with change. To remain the best one can’t rest. The marketplace is full of companies ready to take yours down. Yes, they may be friendly competitors, but their success might come at the price of yours.

How to remain on top or get closer to the top? Embrace change.

Easily said. Hard to do.

Why?

In the remodeling business, many significant changes take some time to provide improved performance to a company. Consequently, there is no immediate gratification, making sticking with the change hard to do.

For instance, the company decides to sell at a higher gross profit percentage.

Let’s assume the following:

  • The company has a backlog of 4 months, which gave it the courage to increase its gross profit percentage.
  • The company is design build. The design phase takes two months for a typical project.
  • The permitting process in the communities where the company does business requires a one-month notification process to those who live within a 300-foot radius of a project.
  • The average length of a typical project is three months.

Add it up. Four months plus two months plus one month plus three months equals ten months before the company will complete its first project sold at the higher gross profit percentage.

A while ago I worked with a company that made extensive changes following my visit. It took nine months for them to realize fully the results of the changes they made.

Now they are producing projects with no slippage and at a higher GP% than they ever thought possible.

It takes courage, and it takes patience.

The alternative? A slow slide into oblivion.

Figure out the big “opportunities” your company has. Make a list. Pick the one that will provide the most benefit in the LONG RUN. Then implement it.

Get ready to be running a better company than you ever imagined. And be patient in the meantime.

4 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance

length 3:56 (not including bonus content)

This week’s episode of PowerTips TV is inspired by Roundtables member Herb Lagois of Lagois Design Build Renovate in Ottawa. Herb used the Ask Your Burning Question page to request that I give some work-life balance tips. I’m happy to oblige, Herb!

So, whether you are understaffed and have way too many hats to wear, or you simply love what you do so much that you can’t unplug, these four tips will help you bring a little more balance to your daily routine.

What about you?

What other things have you done to assure you’re putting a little more “life” into your life? Please share your tips in the comments below!

3 Simple Principles to Succeed in Everything you do

When I run a Remodelers Advantage Roundtables meeting or work with a remodeling company on-site one of the questions that I ask of all the attendees as part of ice-breaking efforts is:

“When did you get your first job?”

More often than not most of the people in the room started working in their mid to late teens. By “working” I mean doing anything (ideally legal!) for which monetary compensation was received. So, often baby-sitting or delivering newspapers will be mentioned.

What is interesting is that most of the jobs did not involve having to think much. Doing some simple task(s) over and over again, coupled with working for a boss, teaches a young person some valuable lessons.

On-Time

I worked a variety of jobs starting when I was 14. One of the most important requirements for most of these jobs was to show up on time. Pretty basic, right? You would think so.

However, as an employer, I was surprised by how many people had never learned it.

Remember, with pretty much anything, showing up (ideally on time) is required to be able to succeed at anything.

Listen

Many young people are at times a bit too full of themselves. Learning to talk at the appropriate time is a necessary skill in the world of working.

Perhaps even more important than not talking needlessly and/or endlessly is learning to listen.

Listening well is a skill one needs to work at. It does not come naturally to most of us, even those who don’t talk a lot.

A good listener is more concerned with understanding the person who is talking than with thinking of the response he/she is going to make. Being able to do that is a powerful skill to get as a young person.

Work Hard

Most of the employers I had, whether they were a business owner or a manager in a larger company, wanted employees who knew how to stay focused and work effectively. That is what I mean by “work hard.”

I mean doing this all day, every day you are at work.

As a young person with a million thoughts (and lots of hormones!), it can be VERY hard to simply work hard. Learning to be able to do so when you are young increases your ability to succeed at virtually anything else you try during your life.

I learned to do the task I was assigned as well as I possibly could while paying attention to what the other employees were doing. I wanted to learn how to do other things.

One day when I was working at my first job as a carpenter another employee did not come into work because he was sick. Some pre-hung doors needed to be installed. I had never done that task, but I had seen it done a number of times, usually while I was sweeping or stacking materials.

My employer asked if I would attempt to install one of the pre-hung doors. I did a half-way decent job, given the extent of the training that I had received (next to none). My employer inspected the work. He let me know what I did right and what could be done better.

And the rest is history!

All the above are simple principles that seem obvious. The sooner you learn them, the more likely you are to succeed at most of what you do in life.

Give a young person a chance. You could become a difference-maker in their lives.

 New Roundtables Groups are forming now! Submit a no obligation inquiry to see if it’s right for you!

Do You Have the One Trait that all Successful Remodelers Share?

There are two types of remodelers in the world: those that are wildly successful and those that are . . . not so much.

Well, over the years I’ve come to realize that there is one trait that the “not so much” group of remodelers are lacking.

The good news is it’s not genetic. It can be learned!

In this weeks episode of PowerTips TV I’ll share what trait you may be missing and how to aquire it. Plus, I’ve got a special offer to help you get over the hump.

So…

  • If you’re not as successful as you want to be;
  • if you want to thrive and not just survive;
  • if you’re ready to get rid of the head trash;

then this week’s episode is for you!

Enjoy!


Yes! I want Victoria to nag me every single day!

Okay, you heard her. Many remodelers would do what they needed to succeed, if only they had someone to hold them accountable. So, by filling out the form below you are signing up for 14 straight days of nagging emails from the one and only Victoria Downing! (No weekends off here, this is an intervention!)

BUT, think twice before submitting the form. She WILL demand that you report back to her every day. Are you ready to start working ON your business.

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8 Tips to Running a PRODUCTIVE Meeting

Parking lots, traffic lights, scribes and soapboxes. Do you know what these four things have in common? If you didn’t say “meetings” then this is a must-see episode of PowerTips TV!

Whether you have two employees or 200, meetings are a must-do component to operating a successful remodeling company. But it takes more than just gathering everyone in a room to run a productive meeting.

Learn 8 keys to running a meeting that actually gets things done!

How about you?

I want to hear about your meetings! What works? What doesn’t work? What things do you do that I haven’t mentioned? I look forward to reading your comments below!


Two bonus takeaways from this week’s episode


1. A must read book

Here’s the book Victoria Recommends. It’s a fast read and full of great information:

Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable…About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business


2. Free Download: Weekly Meeting Agenda

Victoria wanted you to have a sample agenda to help you run more efficient and productive meetings. Whether you use it as-is or put your own special twist to the agenda, we hope this template helps!

Free Agenda Download





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Consistency Pays Off!

I’ve written a lot about discipline over the years — the discipline to do the things you know you need to do in order to build a strong, profitable remodeling business. I believe this strength of mind is one of the most important attributes that remodeling company owners can bring to the table.  Not only does this self-control contribute to the success of the company — it can also affect the mindset of the company’s employees.

For example, remodeling company owners must have the discipline:

  • to treat company meetings with the high priority they deserve, being prepared, and arriving on time.
  • to conduct performance evaluations for each employee.
  • to learn to understand the financials of the company and to review them each month.
  • to complete all sales tasks if he/she is a salesperson for the company. This means not handing off projects before the information is complete.

This is just the start of the list, but you get my drift.


Today, I want to specifically talk about discipline within the areas of sales and lead generation.

Along with one other, I am responsible for the company’s sales and yet, I’ve recently realized that I’ve not been completing the tasks that I know are important if I want to get the best results possible. After hearing about the need for consistency from a few sales experts, I’ve totally bought into the philosophy.

Previously, I’d put the pedal to the metal with sales activities sporadically, whenever I noticed the need. Now, I understand that a steady plan that is worked week in and week out will produce much more predictable–and better–results.

Here are the steps to take to prepare yourself for your new routine!

  1. Determine what activities drive sales — networking events, blog posts, speaking engagements, involvement in discussion groups, cold calling prospects, asking for referrals, sending newsletters, etc.
  2. Set monthly goals for each type of activity. For example, I may set a goal of 20 cold calls to prospective clients each month. Or a goal of 5 speaking engagements–translating to 6 per year.
  3. Break the monthly goals into weekly goals.
  4. Meet or beat these goals each and every week!

By completing these goals each and every month, my pipeline will fill with a consistent flow of prospective business.  If you know your closing ratio, you can begin to predict the sales that will be yours. This allows you to turn up the goals if the activities are not producing enough leads.

It’s my responsibility to deliver a certain level of sales to the company. With this plan and my new-found discipline, I’m well on my way to a great year.

My recommendation for you: Create your activity list and goals today. Then, share them with others so that they can help you stay on track. The longer you have the self-control to meet your goals, the better results you will see.


If you’re ready to ramp up your sales results, Remodelers Advantage can help. Join our experts as they share techniques for focusing on top prospects, eliminating wasted time, setting expectations with clients and more — all in the convenience of your own office! Sign up today for one of the Strategic Action Groups that are coming up soon:  Getting Rid of the Tire Kickers and Getting the Work You Want with Paul Winans or Becoming a Great Salesperson with Craig Deimler.

Or call us at 301-490-5620 x106 for details. And best of all, like all Remodelers Advantage programs, these are 100% satisfaction guaranteed! And remember, members receive a special discount on all programs!

Reduce Stress and Prepare for Tomorrow

One of our most popular business coaches is Paul Winans.  Many of you know Paul from his days as President of NARI or from his many blog posts and articles in the industry press.  Today, many of our members call on Paul to share practical steps they can take to improve their company performance.

Many times, these steps include a thoughtful assessment of your business situation and tactics to reduce stress and help understanding that it won’t always be like this.  If you’re feeling burnt out and overwhelmed, listen to Paul as he shares what he learned from being a remodeling company owner just like you.


Tomorrow Will Come

In my work as a consultant to remodelers I am hearing from clients about the challenges they are facing. A downturn looks different in each person’s world. A signed job (or two or three) is canceled. Permitting obstacles delay or prevent a project from starting. Pricing pressures tempt or force the reduction or absence of profit, as work is needed simply to cover overhead. And so on.

It is worth noting that there are remodelers who have work and are doing more than well. Why? To some extent the answer to this question is the same for both situations, both good and not so good. For most remodeling companies, getting the job or not makes a huge difference. If your company does twenty jobs a year and you don’t get 5 in a row that can be devastating. On the other hand, if your company gets an unusually large job the business can be carried for several months until more sales occur. In doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference, one way or the other.

So what can you do?

Consider all possibilities

In general, people tend to get wrapped up in the way things are. The thing is that is just the starting point. Take some time for yourself to reflect on what you would do if…. Many of us never think about such things. We just work a little harder and a little longer thinking it might make the difference.

In the meantime we are miserable, finding very little satisfaction with anything.

Break the patterns and do something different. A client loves to fish but had a hard time finding the time to do so, particularly with the down market he is in. He realized he could take a great client fishing, building the relationship that will translate into more business and referrals, while doing what he loves. What is the equivalent for you?

Live in the present being pulled forward by the future

It is very hard to get up every day and go to work when yesterday was not as successful as you wanted it to be. More of the same old, same old, with likely the same results being realized.

That mindset can cripple your business. You set the tone for your entire company. If you are in sales it is imperative to be focused in a positive way on your future, not being anchored by a yesterday you wished you never experienced. How can you do that without being a wishful thinker?

A client was experiencing real hurdles with his team. They just were not performing the way he thought they could. At the same time, he was not clear about his own goals, the life he wanted for he and his family.

Sales were down. This was before the downturn. Getting people to commit was impossible.  He started getting clear about the life he wanted. He began by doing some simple exercises that got out of his head thoughts that were in there but to which he was not paying much attention. The resulting clarity changed his expectations of his people so that all in the company feel more successful. Clients are signing contracts and the company has work, even when many other companies don’t.

I am not saying it is magic and it works in all cases. I do think that being clear about the point makes you more effective in all areas of your life, not just in business.

For many of us our work is how we define ourselves. After all, we spend most of our working life at work.

Running a small business is very hard, even in the best of times. It does not take much to make it close to impossible to succeed.

I remember in the early 90’s living through a set of circumstances that felt like a perfect storm. Dealing with several difficult remodeling clients, the prospect of no upcoming work in the foreseeable future, and new challenges coming every day: when was it going to end? I was doing everything I could think of and nothing seemed to be working.

I found that stepping away, in even little ways, made a big difference. Carving out some time for me to stop being a remodeler and be a person made me able to be more effective doing what the business needed me to do. For me it was taking walks, reading, spending time with my wife and children, and taking inexpensive short vacations.

You are not your business. Things will get better. What do you want your tomorrow to be? Craft a vision that will pull you forward. And start living it today.


Thanks, Paul!

If you’re looking for an experienced business coach to help you improve the performance of your remodeling business, contact Remodelers Advantage Inc. today.  Our team of coaches are ready to dive in and share the best practices that they have seen work over and over again. Why struggle alone when you can have a business coach to help you become more profitable and productive. To get started, call us at 301-490-5620 x106.

Author Bo Burlingham Says, We Can All Have “The Knack”

Bo Burlingham, author of Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, and our keynote presenter at the Summit, is the perfect fit for our audience of motivated business owners. For years, he’s been working with small business owners of all kinds to help them become successful. Recently, he teamed up with another Inc. columnist, Norm Brodsky, wrote a great book called Street Smarts: How Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up.

Here’s a quote from Bo’s newest book. . .

“Indeed, I believe it’s such mental habits (habits that he describes in his book) that allow people to become successful entrepreneurs. I believe most people can develop the habits of mind I’m talking about and use them to acquire the wherewithal to live whatever kind of life they want. Not that every person will be successful to the same degree or in the same way. In business, as elsewhere, some individuals have God-given gifts that allow them to play the game better than others. We can’t all be Tiger Woods, or Picasso, or Shakespeare, but anybody can learn how to play golf, or paint, or write a sonnet, and we can all learn how to be financially self-sufficient as well.”

I totally agree with this concept and see over and over that it’s the business owners that look outside themselves to continually learn and create smart habits that are the people who flourish. We can all be there and the message at the Summit is how to do it!

Book Review: The Knack How Street Smart Entreprenuers Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up

This book is written by two of my favorites from Inc. magazine, Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham, who totally understand the challenges faced by owners of small business.  As we see regularly with our consulting clients, people building a business look for a silver bullet, a step-by-step formula or set of rules to help them grow profitably and successfully. Unfortunately for all of us, that doesn’t exist! Instead, you have to grow a certain mindset that will help you handle the ups and downs of business. Brodsky and Burlingham call it the Knack.

This is a must read for all of us as it uncovers the major challenges, forces us to look at our most critical business information, and tells us how to build a business that fits us. One of the pieces of advice they give is to follow the numbers. Boy, they took the words right out of my mouth! We all agree that this regular review and understanding of our numbers is the best way to spot problems before they become life-threatening.  Some of our clients and members ask why we spend so much time on the numbers and this is exactly the reason. We want you to understand where your company is heading in enough time to take action to change if necessary.

If you aren’t following your numbers the way you should, let us know. We can help.

We are delighted to welcome Bo Burlingham to our 2010 Business Summit as our Keynote Speaker.  You’re invited too! Learn more about the Summit here.