In an effort to shift from survival mode to the new normal in their Cincinnati market, the three brothers who run second-generation family business Neal’s Design Remodel attended a leadership course held by a national consulting company with Ohio headquarters.

The course helped to define the company’s 10-year goals, and the trio then spent two days at a strategic planning meeting with their company’s management team figuring out how to implement those goals — which include 15% annual growth — in the company’s daily operations.

As part of their course homework, the owners were required to define and review the profitability of different business segments:

2012 revenue: $3.6 million

2018 revenue goal: $8.5 million:
  • kitchen and bath: $3 million
  • addition/whole house: $3 million
  • lower level: $1.5 million
  • outdoor living: $500,000
  • small projects: $500,000

“We never thought about segmentation before this round of strategic planning,” says company vice president Alan Hendy. “We looked at pricing for different segments and the communication needed on these projects. It got us focused on how to measure, price, and produce the work and whether it should be part of our growth strategy.”

Plan Follow-Up

Though their company already had many of the reports it needed, Hendy says it lacked the controls to measure how it was doing. The strategic plan is divided into action worksheets. Staff work on goals in groups, and the management team regularly meets to check progress, also meeting quarterly with a facilitator from the consulting firm.

Hendy says he appreciates having this guidance and a chance to work on the company’s long-range vision because, “in this business, it’s easy to get stuck in the weeds and just work on the jobs we have to sell [rather than] working on the company itself.”

Neal’s Design Remodel’s previous strategy session — held seven years ago — didn’t include revenue goals. Its focus was on the need to build a showroom to better serve design/build clients. And it didn’t involve the same “vision and mission” that came from this new strategic plan, Hendy says.

Growth Driven

Ways in which Neal’s Design Remodel plans to meet its goals:

• Market to architects to increase the additions/whole-house segment of the business.

• Target aging-in-place projects for the baby boomer population. Alan Hendy says helping clients plan for the future will also drive repeat business.

• Develop pricing models for the different project segments.

• Switch to a lead carpenter system. Previously, project managers would oversee two-man teams and coordinate the trade contractors. The new system should help the production team produce more jobs efficiently and allow the salesperson to turn over the project to production and return to selling.

• Use Hubspot software to manage leads and the customer database and communication.

• Update employee job descriptions.


—Nina Patel is a senior editor at REMODELING. Find her on Twitter at @SilverNina or @RemodelingMag.