Mike Austin

When Jim Kabel made the shift from the corporate world to owning his own remodeling company, Case Handyman & Remodeling, in San Jose, Calif., he brought with him a slew of ideas for best practices. One of the most important of these is the need for a business plan. “With no plan, any path will get you to some undefined destination,” says Kabel, who took refinement of his company’s business plan one step further after seeing a template for a one-page business plan during a CEO peer review meeting.

Goals, Both Long- and Short-Term

The single-page plan is easy to take in all at once and clearly defines the company’s goals for the year. Yet it can also serve to guide the team over a longer period of time. The plan is divided into five parts: vision, mission, objectives, strategies, and plans. Of these, the vision and mission sections are long-term proposals — about three years — that Kabel evaluates, with employee input, each year. The other sections face scrutiny at quarterly team meetings for reinforcement or change. “I keep these [plans] for several years back and measure against them,” Kabel says.

Kabel has postponed or altered goals based on the changing external environment and on employee discussion. “The important thing is you can’t leave the plan stagnant,” he points out.

Nail Down Specifics

Each section is further divided into specific goals. For example, the company’s vision is to “build a $4 million growing, healthy business by 2013 that is the preferred full-service remodeler in our target ... neighborhoods” as demonstrated by these four tangible examples: delighted clients, recognition by our peers, creation of opportunities for our employees, and profitable and healthy financials. One sentence on how to achieve each of these follows.

The “mission” section lists the company’s purpose, the “Why do we exist and what are we here to do” of the company, Kabel says, and the “strategies” and “plans” sections help to flesh out the information in the “objectives” section. In fact, the “plans” section drills down to first-quarter milestones by weeks with due dates and completion dates.

On the back of the page are team values focusing on communication between employees and between clients and employees. Kabel also has other pieces, about marketing, for example, that support the one-page business plan. Each time a new staff member is hired, Kabel spends a good portion of their orientation going over the business plan.

The remodeler says that having a clear business plan helps boost employee buy-in to his company since personal development plans are discussed throughout the year to help staff reach individual goals as well as business goals. The written plan helps to hold employees accountable.

Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.