Many remodelers choose their technology solutions from the “bottom up,” looking first at particular products or features and then thinking about how those features might be able to help them.

A more effective approach is what I call “top-down,” which requires that you first establish what exactly you want to accomplish and why before moving on to figuring out how to achieve it. Until you've fully thought through a step at the top, you can't move down to the next one.

Mission statement/rationale. A clearly defined mission statement should be the litmus test for everything you do. The rationale for any decision (including purchasing technology) should be fully supported by your mission statement.

Objectives/goals. It's not enough to say you need an estimating system. Do you need to produce sales quotes with no costs showing for a client, or are you looking for a detailed bill-of-materials or cut-list for your shop? The more clearly and precisely you can state the real objectives for your technology, the greater your chances of getting what you need.

Product-selection strategies. Once you've established your objectives, it's time to look at specific products or combinations of products that will satisfy them. If you've done the first parts correctly, this should be easy.

Implementation strategies. Selecting the technology is only part of the project. The next step is effectively implementing the systems in your business. Treat this like any other project schedule: Set aside adequate resources and establish a realistic timeline. And don't forget to budget for training for yourself and your staff.

—Joe Stoddard is an industry consultant and the director of builder operations for Dynami Solutions. Reach him online at