Much has been written about joining industry associations, but Neal Hendy, president of Neal's Design-Build, says that the businesspeople you consult with don't have to be remodelers to make picking their brains worthwhile.

For nearly 20 years, Hendy has been part of a CEO roundtable group that meets for a half day every month. The companies represented are a broad range of Cincinnati-area businesses, from manufacturing to commercial design to service industries. Hendy compares it to non-compete peer groups, the extra benefit being that the companies share the same marketplace.

Hendy says he often finds the group a more accurate barometer than taking the pulse of other remodelers at association meetings or other industry events. “It gives me a rather broad view of where our community sales activity is heading,” he says, and that —combined with detailed knowledge of how the companies are organized and how they run — help him more accurately predict what he needs to do to have his company fare well in the coming months.

2.3 million
Number of homes for sale in the nation's biggest 100 markets that were listed online in May, compared to 1.3 million one year ago

Increase in 2005 in home builders building some “green” homes
McGraw-Hill Construction/National Association of Home Builders

Expected increase in “green” home builders in 2006
McGraw-Hill Construction/National Association of Home Builders

Homeowners who cited a “recommendation from someone they trust” as the main reason for selecting their contractor
Kimberly-Clark Professional

$88.4 billion
Estimated amount that sleep apnea costs the U.S. economy due to poor performance, accident claims, and health care costs
Center for Corrective Surgery