Do you remember public swimming pools crowded in the summer heat, when gaggles of little kids climbed up the ladder and ran to the diving board for another attempt at a back flip? And every lifeguard roared through the megaphone “NO RUNNING ALLOWED!”

A typical remodeler these days might feel like the one of those kids, running fast yet failing the dive, and ultimately landing in pain. In your case, this shows up as falling profits, unhappy customers, missed schedules, and employee turnover. Just as dangerous, there’s owner burnout! These are all strong signals that something isn’t working—and often it’s not just one thing, but many.

So, how do you make hay while the sun shines? How do you take advantage of the tremendous surge in remodeling activity over the past two years, as well as the continued growth forecast for 2016? It’s essential that you double down now to FOCUS on the following five strategies for success:

  1. A reasonable budget for 2016
  2. Increased customer satisfaction
  3. Strong production practices
  4. A well-defined target market and sufficient spending to reach it
  5. A healthy and motivated strong leader in the driver’s seat!

You can FOCUS on these five strategies for success in 2016 only if there’s NO RUNNING ALLOWED: not from you as owner, nor from your production people, nor the people in the office, nor the clients. You, as owner, must set the example to prioritize all work done in a given period and then lead/teach and mentor all other employees to do the same, being sure to maintain customer satisfaction and quality control.
Remodeling has compiled excellent columns and feature articles on each of these five strategies, and more, over the years. I’ve dug through the archives to find the best ones relating to each of these five strategies. There are definitely more available in the magazine’s archives; just use the search function.

There’s no difference between building a reasonable budget for 2016 and building one for 2008; read two pertinent columns here. on budgeting for profit and on preparing an operating budget.

Increasing customer satisfaction is the key to increased profits: the first Benchmark column I wrote for Remodeling 15 years ago builds an index to relate the two to create an indicator of business health

Strong production practices take years to build and develop: here are some great ideas to get you started: First, how to create a standard operating procedure manual and how to measure the result of your efforts by predicting the loss or gain by each employee.

A well-defined target market is essential in focusing your efforts: this recent feature article nails the most important points: Making the most of your marketing strategy; and in this older column from 2007, when demand also exceeded supply, how much to spend on marketing .

You must be strong and healthy--both mentally and physically--to lead the company through the current chaos: here’s an excellent column on honing your leadership skills and an equally stellar column by industry guru Linda Case on buoyant leadership.

It might surprise you that more construction companies fail during upturns than during downturns. Don’t be one of them. Slow down, prioritize and focus on those priorities as you make hay while the sun shines. Just remember: NO RUNNING ALLOWED.