David Sharpe

Mike Crossman of New Brunswick, Ohio, started his company, New View Construction, just six years ago. But in that time, he has jumped into education in a big way — both for himself and for his team. “My philosophy is to tap into as many resources as I can to find the effective processes and systems being used by others so we don’t have to create them ourselves,” Crossman says. These resources include both personal contact with other successful remodelers and, when he attends educational seminars, tracking down the presenter afterward to discuss the presentation.

Such impromptu conversations have led to long-term relationships with experienced remodeling company owners from around the country. “I have one or two folks with whom I regularly have lunch,” Crossman says. “While they are not formal mentors, they are definitely helping me focus on the most important ways I can improve my company.” Discussions on growth, diversification, hiring, marketing, and sales are primary topics.

Valuable Nuggets

Trade shows are another important resource. “I’ve gone to the Remodeling Show for the last three years,” Crossman says. “And the changes I’ve made to my company because of the nuggets I’ve picked up [there] have been profound.”

After the 2010 Remodeling Show, Crossman implemented a business dashboard. “I attended a seminar on this tool, and we implemented it right away,” he says. “It’s a one-page report that gives me a snapshot of where the business stands at the moment. It has been an invaluable management tool.”

Team Knowledge

Because that trade show experience had such an impact, Crossman brought a key employee with him to this year’s show. “To make the most of the investment, John [John Truelsch, construction coordinator] and I worked together to choose the seminar lineup for both of us,” Crossman says. “In some cases, John attended seminars that I’d seen in previous years.

This helps us speak the same language and also helps him understand why I had been enthusiastic about certain new ideas for the business. Doubling up on what we can learn made the additional investment nominal.”

Education is a primary concern for new hires at New View Construction, too. Crossman’s new marketing coordinator had a jointly developed education plan in place after just two weeks on the job. “We all believe that education is the path to doing our jobs better,” Crossman says. “And that translates into a better company all around.”

—Victoria Downing is president of Remodelers Advantage — helping hundreds of remodelers across North America build strong, profitable businesses. 301.490.5620. remodelersadvantage.com.