John Habermeier (right) and Steve Taylor had a vision six years ago and changed their company's image, focus, and name.

Now they specialize in basement refinishing, and their forward thinking encompasses employee education, and systems and procedures that will help pave the way to becoming franchisors. “Change happens by the influence of deliberate, proactive leadership,” says Habermeier, an eighth-generation carpenter who learned about running a business as well as building during a formal indentureship and apprenticeship.

By developing a business plan before moving forward and preparing for worst-case scenarios, Habermeier and Taylor have been able to quickly achieve high revenue. Meticulous planning based on tracking, measuring, and managing helps them sustain and grow that revenue.

Habermeier also has developed an in-house education system he calls “Synergy University” and he mentors many small local remodelers. “The industry has given me so much, I want to share it with others,” he says.

- Stacey Freed