Matt Hullander, president and owner of Hullco Exteriors, believes that “attitude is everything in a down economy.” After purchasing the business from his father, who founded it more than 30 years ago, Hullander changed accountants, hired a sales manager and a production manager, and “worked on [the company’s] systems.” That emphasis on systems focused on lead intake and the passing of jobs from sales to production.

The company that had formerly relied on referrals and word of mouth for two-thirds of its business and had never spent more than 1% of revenue on marketing created an advertising plan for 2008 with a brand-building concentration on radio and local television to boost leads.

Instead of cutting back on marketing, Hullander ¬— together with sales and marketing manager Brian Brock — set out to build the image of Hullco Exteriors as a high-quality home improvement contractor with no sales pressure. They also set out to reach a younger and more affluent demographic.

Hullander says that a slow housing market makes people want to invest in improvements, and tough times are an opportunity for companies to grow share of market, if they have the right attitude.

- Jim Cory