Staying “lean and mean” has kept Chris Weir's company steady during the soft economic period in his northwest Detroit market. Working mostly with a dedicated group of trade partners, Weir has been able to keep his company's margins up and grow in net profit.

Weir got into construction during high school when he worked with his father. Then he studied construction management at Michigan State, followed by a five-year stint working for a large builder.

The education paid off. Weir has focused his strategies on defining a preferred client and project type, scripting his sales procedures, embracing technology, and building relationships during the design process as well as with community leaders and through volunteer opportunities. “It's all grass-roots marketing,” he says. Much of Weir's initiative has led to a network of clients and referrals who live year-round on a local lake.