Basement finishing, like sunrooms, was big business before the housing market crashed, taking with it the financing that most homeowners used to pay for such projects. Rather than watch their single-product business evaporate, Home Smart owners Mark Kenyon and Geoff Bates— once design/build competitors — developed a long-term plan that they “follow to the T,” Bates says.

• They diversified into windows, insulation, radiant barrier, and walk-in tubs, with walk-in tubs now making up 50% of company sales.

• The business is run by the numbers, which are reviewed daily and shared with staff biweekly. Bates says he knows what he needs per product, per month, and how many leads, appointments, demos, and sales, to hit that target. “I use it as a guide, rather than a result. It lets everybody know where we’re going.”

• Great partnerships — with employees, subs, vendors, and attorneys — are key, as is constant communication with each of them.

• Bimonthly meetings with managers generate pages of notes. Each note is followed up on.

• In a radically different market, the ability to grow hinges on a willingness to be flexible and change.