Questions 3 and 4: What do you wish you had done more of — or more quickly? How will you do more of this in 2009?

Tim Burch,Burch Builders Group

  • In order to stay in front of our past clients, we offer a free house-cleaning every four months for our past clients. We invite them to all our business socials. We send them monthly newsletters. When their friends ask them about a remodeler, we want them to recommend us.
  • Our past clients are our best marketing source. We always appreciated them, but I think we only did a fair job of tapping into them for future business. We are now in constant contact with our past clients.

Craig Durosko,Sun Design Remodeling Specialists

  • (Wish I had) replaced myself in the day-to-day roles and be more present for building staff and listening to clients.
  • (Will) Create a strategy to replace myself in my day-to-day roles

Peter Feinmann,Feinmann Inc.

  • Wish I had laid off people earlier in 2007 instead of late 2007. We have been able to sustain our present size since we contracted in 2007.
  • (Will) focus on our design and construction work and continue to look at development of housing as a supplementary business. There are some decent opportunities with the price of housing.
Dennis D. Gehman, Gehman Custom Remodeling

Dennis D. Gehman, Gehman Custom Remodeling

  • (Wish I had) focused on the gross profit that we need to maintain; become a lead generating machine; worked to have everyone in the company understand that leads followed by profitable sales are our lifeblood, each person must become proactive in creating leads; instituted a pay-for-performance plan based on gross profit; worked to build alliances with trade contractors, vendors, manufacturers and non-competing businesses in our market area that can be beneficial to all of us.
  • (Will) focus on the numbers with weekly reports posted for everyone. Constantly ask staff what they're doing to create new leads for us. Monitor our budget and tweak quickly to maintain the core of our company.

Alex Iosa, Iosa Construction Corp.

  • We wish that we had implemented a lot of our marketing strategies a lot sooner. We are still quite busy, but we would have loved to have made the contacts that we are currently making several years ago. We wish we would have had a lot of our marketing literature created several years ago.
  • Alex Iosa, Iosa Construction
  • We will continue to work on our branding and look at every individual as a potential client, no matter how small the job is. We are now taking on small projects that we used to turn down, with the mentality that this new client will have the opportunity to experience our business culture and philosophy, and hopefully will refer us to a friend or business associate.

Paul Irwin, Pattern Builders

  • My business is still very heavily referral-based. I do very little marketing at the moment (another mistake). I wish I had been able to more clearly delineate the type of projects I'm looking for — the types that I'm best at — and make that information explicitly clear on our web site to best focus our effort and growth.
  • I'm taking a long-term project and investing a lot of energy in it because I know it's a great project with a great client. This will help push me in a direction that I want to go, and one that I sense is the right direction for me. We're going to fully use this project as the marketing opportunity that it really is to find other similar projects that also play toward our strengths.

Chris Landis, Landis Construction

  • (Wish I had) put my 401(k) in all treasuries, IOUs from Uncle Sam, bonds, etc.
John Murphy, Murphy Bros. Designers & Remodelers

John Murphy, Murphy Bros. Designers & Remodelers

  • (Wish I had) reduced staff sooner. (I probably will always be able to say this.) And, I wish I had networked in more groups.
  • I am involved in several different networking events, some of whose stated goals are for increased commerce and some that are more altruistic in pursuing causes that I care about.

Jane Regan, HB Building and Design

  • I wish I had been able to follow up on more leads more quickly. I feel we have lost some business because we had too much clerical work that could only be handled by ‘me' because it was all in my head.
  • We are automating a lead-generating system of our own that will draw potential clients to our web site and help them choose what they want, and also help us filter high-end and low-end clients. We will have a way to serve the low-end community that we did not in the past, through a repeatable set of offerings, while maintaining a high-end design service and construction company for large jobs.

Alex Shekhtman, Elite Remodeling

  • When business slowed down in 2007, my main mistake was not letting people go in a timely manner, and accumulating additional debt because of it.
  • I don't think I will do more of it. I've learned my lesson.