Decades ago, I interviewed William Weaver, one of the foremost English translators of Italian prose. Native Italians told me Weaver’s version of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose read better than the original. But while Rose earned him a big paycheck, Weaver said he worked harder translating Invisible Cities, a lesser-known novel by Italo Calvino. In that one, he said, every sentence was as fragile as glass, shattering whenever he used the wrong word.

Weaver’s challenge came to mind as the Remodeling team put together the report on this year’s Remodeling Design Awards. The abundance of glass in the winning projects was one reason. But a bigger reason lay in the concept and execution. In home after home, designs seek to do a lot with a little. Mouldings are nonexistent and stairs lack risers. Clearly, minimalism is in vogue, and that spells potential trouble for you. The less there is in a room, the more glaring fit and finish issues become.

Numerous surveys suggest that younger generations increasingly prefer modern styles, so expect this design trend to grow. But even if your clients’ tastes tend more to the 19th century than the 21st, you’re likely to find that perfecting simplicity will become one of your biggest challenges. The busier you get, the more complicated your life becomes. Mistakes creep in, while established processes get overlooked. This is the moment for you to simplify your work life:

  • Employ technology to gather information. Abby Binder of Abby Windows has potential customers fill out forms on her website, which help enable Binder to close a sale in less than 30 minutes.
  • Create a list of things you need to learn when you meet prospects. At KraftMaster Renovations, Bob Gockeler­—winner of this year’s Fred Case Award for Entrepreneurship in Remodeling—uses the same process consistently, so that he gets what he needs quickly and wins sales.
  • Examine how your office tracks prospects. Can you cut steps while improving accuracy?
  • What does your company do best? Strive to dominate that market niche. Specialists command higher prices.
  • Review job roles: Are your lead carpenters also the people who go to the store when something’s missing?
  • Examine where and how you’ve lost money on past projects. What can you do to avoid future leakage?
  • Whether it’s on the jobsite or in the office, mastering the seemingly simple tasks will put you closer to your goal of sustained success.