4 Reasons Why Owners Should Fire Up Their Resumes

How long has it been since you’ve updated your resume? As the owner of a remodeling business, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s been many years (if ever). But you need to update it today.

Don’t worry. It’s not because I’m privy to an impending doom that is going to close down your company.

But I think you’ll find this exercise to be both practical and enlightening.

Here are four reasons to put together your resume today.

1. Identify your role

The last resume I wrote I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, how did I do all of this?”

When you put together your resume, you will go through an exhaustive exploration of what it is you actually do day in and day out. It will amaze you; I guarantee it.

As you assemble your duties into a cohesive resume-style document, patterns will begin to emerge. For example, you may start to see tasks that your office manager should be doing, or perhaps a list of grunt-work that you could pay a minimum wage helper to perform.

In the PowerTips TV episode, Are you wearing too many hats? Victoria talks about the importance of reducing your workload. Writing your resume will help you see what you are working on and help you determine if it’s something that should be on someone else’s resume, and not yours!

2. Get your personal brand in shape

You have a LinkedIn profile, right? Does your website have a Meet the Team page with your bio on it? And don’t forget about Twitter and Facebook.

Many business owners have incomplete and inconsistent online biographies. Primarily because they are thrown together on a whim at the time of creating an account.

An updated resume serves as a solid go-to document whenever you need to compose a bio, and more importantly, it helps keep your story consistent.

3. Get that spark back

As the owner of a remodeling company, you praise your employees for a job well done, but who praises you?

Running a business is difficult. It can be flat out overwhelming at times. It’s common for feelings of anxiousness, self-doubt and even panic to set in.

You get so caught up in the day-to-day (or even the moment-to-moment) chaos that you fail to see all that you have accomplished; which is precisely why you need to write your resume.

It is, by definition, a list of your accomplishments.

And I promise you; if you take this seriously and put together a resume as if you were looking for a new job, you will be astonished to see all that you have achieved.

You will be reinvigorated.

4. Be thankful

Do you remember the stress of job hunting? The anxiety inherent in sending out dozens of resumes and watching the minutes tick away while you wait to hear back?

It is a humbling experience to say the least.

Well, writing your resume could cause those feelings to bubble back up to the surface. And that’s is a good thing!

Embrace that feeling. Be thankful that you aren’t out there anymore and remember why you started this company to begin with. You’ve got a great thing with limitless potential!

I want to hear from you!

What do you think about this exercise? Are you willing to try it? Are there any benefits I may have missed? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image courtesy of phasinphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stop Wasting Time on Bad Leads (but be nice!)

A couple of weeks ago, at the Master Your Remodeling Business Workshop, one of the attendees asked me how he could politely turn away unqualified leads via email. Apparently, he’s been getting many emails from people that either aren’t in his service area, want a service he doesn’t provide, or don’t have a realistic budget.

Whatever the case, my first piece of advice was for him to reevaluate his website and his overall marketing messages. If he’s regularly attracting the wrong prospect, then he has a fundamental issue with his brand image.

That being said, there is no way to avoid all possibility of getting the wrong type of lead inquiry. So having a polite way to turn away the misinformed prospect is a good idea.

Now, I don’t have this exact problem myself, (and we were standing around at the networking dinner), so I didn’t rattle off an eloquent email right then and there; however, I can relate to this problem.

I have a number of redundant emails that hit my inbox to which I need to respond, so having templates available saves me a lot of time.

Here’s a sample of the requests I get every month:

  • Someone wanting to submit a blog post to PowerTips (unsolicited)
  • Someone wanting to submit a blog post to PowerTips (from a friend)
  • Someone that wants me to write a blog post for them
  • Someone that wants to sell me marketing software (unsolicited)
  • SEO company that wants to sell me their services (unsolicited)
  • And so on…

Obviously, there are times where the email is just straight up spam, in which case I’ll add the sender to my blacklist and delete the email without a reply.

But there are also plenty of instances where I will want to be professional and extend the courtesy of a response, even if it is to say simply “no.”

So I created templated responses for these common inbox requests, and I entered them as an email signature in my Outlook Email:

Email Signatures

THAT’S RIGHT! There’s no law that says that the signature box must only contain a signature! 

Here’s an example of the template I send to unsolicited guest blog submissions:

Hi [Name],

Thank you for your interest in contributing to PowerTips! It’s an honor that you would want to be associated with our humble publication.

Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll be able to use your submission. We receive dozens of requests every month, and I simply can’t accommodate them all. When I am able to use a guest submission, I offer it to our community members first.

Thank you again for your interest. I wish you all the best in your blogging endeavors!

Warm regards,

I get many of these requests every month. Having this template is a huge time-saver.

As you can see, this method works great for politely replying to all of your redundant emails; be them unqualified leads, requests for employment or any number of other time-wasters that are hitting your inbox.

4 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance

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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!

Are you wearing too many hats?

Are you wearing too many hats? Are you working 70 or 80 hours a week? Guess what: that’s not good!

In this week’s episode of PTTV [04:45] I’ll give you tips for reducing your workload and making sure that what you are working on makes the biggest impact on growing your business. And I even give you a great tool to download at the end of the episode!

How about you?

As always I love to hear from you. Please share your challenges or success stories in the comments below!

wearing too many hats

My Work Diary

This free workbook does all the calculations for you and includes an easy-to-see chart of your activities! Learning where you’re wasting time is big step towards Earning More and Working Less! Enjoy!

Download My Work Diary

Your Role as Company Leader

Your Role as a leaderOne of a remodeling company’s most precious resources is its owner. Your company’s success or failure rests on how well you balance and juggle all of the hats that you are supposed to wear. In any one day, you may act as a leader, manager, investor, and worker; however, you are also a human being who needs a personal life.Continue reading

Define Your Company’s Niche and Stand Out From the Rest

Watching a recent ad by Porsche, I couldn’t help but think that the car company that once carried the cache of exclusivity is in danger of losing its way, speeding off into the pedestrian.

The ad’s tagline, “Engineered for Magic. Everyday” portrays Porsche as a snowmobile with a mother and her toddler driving in the snow; a pickup truck that can stow bags of soil; a getaway car for an executive after work; and even a yellow school bus driven by a mother picking up her son at school.

Too many people try to be everything to everybody, and it just doesn’t work. We recommend that you identify areas of specialization—niches—to work in. Working in a niche offers plenty of advantages:

Limit Your Work

By limiting your work to one niche, you’ll discover that you have less direct competition than you would if you tried to do it all. Just look in the Yellow Pages and count all of the generalists you could be competing against. However, if you specialize in historic homes, you’d find there are dramatically fewer companies sharing your specialty. You may come into contact with new and inexperienced contractors on one or two jobs within your niche, but they frequently limp away whimpering because they don’t have the knowledge or skills to do the job right.

Specified Remodeling

Since you’ll be concentrating your generalized skills on a specific area of remodeling, you’ll quickly become a technique and product knowledge expert in your field. People will pay more for that expertise.


Your crews will learn the best ways to handle the details of one kind of work, making them faster and more efficient. This means you can do the work more quickly and earn more profits on each job. Once you’ve begun to be known in your niche, you’ll gain referrals from within that specialized community.

A niche serves a confined market so it’s not necessary—or desirable—to market to a broad audience. This means you’re able to spend your resources more effectively by targeting just those people who need the services you offer. A company niche can be defined by:

Type of service you offer.

For example, this might be design/build or insurance restoration.

Type of property you like to work on.

Do you enjoy historic renovation or prefer retrofitting retail space?

Type of work that your company does.

Some remodeling companies specialize in creating additions on two-story colonial buildings while others only handle interior work, such as kitchens and baths.

Geographic area.

Some remodelers have customers all over a metropolitan area; some only accept work in specific districts.


You could specialize in one type of window or siding, or perhaps join a franchise that represents one type of product.

Size of your jobs.

Do you like to do small jobs that can be completed in a week or less, or would you rather do larger, more complex projects?

Clientele you prefer to work for.

Do you like to do work for wealthy clients? It’s not for everyone. Some remodelers prefer working for middle-class, senior, or disabled people.

Locating your business in a rural, less densely populated area may force you to stay more generalized because the market can’t support a specialist.  However, urban areas usually provide enough prospects to successfully support a specialized niche.

Many successful remodelers are characterized by the fact that they have positioned their companies to serve a specialized niche. All of their marketing—image, public relations, advertising, and networking—is targeted to serve that niche. The way you position your company is crucial and far from arbitrary. There are thousands of different platforms your business can stand on for increased value. When you find a niche, stop and think about how to go after more of that specific work. Who buys that work and how can you reach them? Are there publications or conferences that serve this specific market?

Targeting a well-defined niche means you can compete on the basis of value, not price.  To make the most of your potential, you must have a clear idea of what your company’s niche is and then market that specialty. What’s your company’s niche?

Reducing Your Need to Hire by Increasing Efficiency!

Business owners might sometimes feel they need to hire more workers to meet the steady flow of work that is coming in and because they do not want to lose projects, they look to take on more employees. However, you can meet the demands by following some simple guidelines about how to increase efficiency and meet your goals.

Here are nine practical ideas that will allow you to streamline the work done by your employees, thereby letting each employee leverage more volume. The net effect is a more efficient operation with less need for new employees.

  • At least yearly, hold brainstorming sessions with your staff to review all procedures. Focus on streamline. What work, forms, overlapping procedures can be eliminated from the company?
  • Outsource more both to freelancers for office work or subcontractors for production work. One remodeler even outsourced project design to a designer in Canada!
  • Are there labor saving tools, equipment, technology, communications that would free up time for yourself, your office, or field staff? Save an hour here and an hour there and soon you won’t have to hire another person.
  • Check with your suppliers for products they will install (i.e. windows, fireplace units, siding) or products that can save you in-house time (pre-primed moldings).. Use their labor instead of yours and benefit from the expertise they have in doing one task really well.
  • Check with subs to see if there are additional functions they can take over.
  • Have your own carpenters? Keep them but consider subbing large jobs such as decks, siding, insulation, drywall and roofing which can be economical to outsource.
  • Are your field personnel equipped with state-of-the-art labor-saving tools and equipment? If you have 10 field employees and can save 20 minutes a day for each, that’s 1000 minutes a week or 867 hours a year. That’s 867 hours you don’t need or 867 hours you can sell profitably to another client. One remodeler keeps a stocked trailer on every job site. It’s good looking and well signed but it also saves time and running for materials.
  • Increased training for your field personnel will save time in installations. Check with your in-house expertise, manufacturers, subs and suppliers for help in developing short training sessions.
  • Develop a cross-department team to research ways to reduce in-house work.

Internships Ease Office Workload

If you need some extra help in your office but don’t have the budget—or enough work—to hire an employee, consider bringing in a part-time unpaid intern from a local college or high school.

Len McAdams, founder and president of McAdams Builders in Kirkland, Wash., posted an ad for non-salaried internship on craigslist (www. craigslist.com) and received many responses from interested students. “We continued to receive applications 2 weeks after the ad ran, says the remodeler.

McAdams selected Dan, a student in his senior year at a local college. At McAdams Builders, Dan’s duties include keeping the company’s image current on various social media Web sites and scanning old files for permanent storage.

The arrangement is a symbiotic one. Dan is gaining experience in a business environment to enhance his resume. In return, “We have a high-energy person doing things we would otherwise not have time to do,” says McAdams. The company also benefits from Dan’s young insights and perspective—“which are, unfortunately, lacking in our aging staff,” says the remodeler.

McAdams points out that he is carefully following legal advice to make sure that Dan does not become an employee by accident. “A maximum of 12 weeks and 20 hours per week (Dan works far less) are a few of the criteria,” says the remodeler.

Before you bring in an intern, sit down with your staff and identify tasks you’d like the intern to do. Perhaps he or she could draft customer satisfaction surveys, help organize a home tour, put client files in order, send out invoices, or possibly shadow some of your production personnel to help them with miscellaneous administrative tasks.

You may want to contact a nearby college or high school and talk to a guidance counselor or department head to see what kind of tasks would benefit and interest students seeking internships.

As McAdams did, be sure to consult your lawyer about work hour limits and other federal and legal stipulations for unpaid internships.