The Nervous Prospect

Working with prospects for a new home or a renovation is very much a dance….one that can easily get off on the wrong foot.

In today’s connected world, prospects usually know more about you than you think they do, even before that first meeting.  They know if anyone has written a google complaint against you, they know what their friends say about you, and they “know” just enough to make them nervous in a process that is foreign and scary to them as buyers.

That’s a huge uphill campaign to gain the high ground.   And it can’t be won exclusively through social media.

Let me burst a bubble I see developing all around me.  Some builders think social media is the big answer to drawing in sales.  That is like throwing a fishing lure into the water, with no line attached and no rod and reel. just a shiny lure.   Imagine it floating past a school of fish, doing its job attracting the eye of the roving...

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When A Coach Really Scores

Its hard to know you are making progress, sometimes, even from the Coach’s perspective.   Team Coaching is one of our specialities, and for the past 6+ months the team in the photo has been working through a major business transition and shift.   Sometimes it feels like we’re not moving ahead, sometimes frankly it feels like we’re losing ground, but then comes a day like today.  As a coach, my buttons were popping all night as the entire homebuilding industry in Manitoba gathered in the prestigious MHBA Parade of Homes Gala celebration to celebrate a Big Win for Discovery Homes.  


The backstory is a business in transition, new owners, new staff, new vision.  In the midst of that mix, throw in a decision to build a brand new show home in 90 days and enter it against the best of the best in Manitoba’s builder community.  The odds were indeed stacked against us.


When our category came up, and I saw the...

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There are a couple of obvious differences that come to mind, but let's start with why one would even be asking the question.

To my thinking, if someone is asking or comparing these two business models, they are already thinking business.   Now it becomes a  question of risk/reward evaluation and comparison.

So let's start with Home Building;

As a business model, it is nice and clean.   We start with an actual set of plans and an actual property.  From there we can fill in a proper budget using actual quotes from suppliers and trades.   With a couple of hours of work e-mailing for quotes and filling in our budget template, we can “build” the entire home “on paper” with a high degree of accuracy and certainty.

Once we know our total cost, including financing and marketing cost, we can know with some level of certainty that we stand to make “X” dollars once it’s built and sold.

AND we can share...

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The Biggest Waste of a Builder's Time





The biggest waste of a Builders’ time isn’t golfing (although some Builders would disagree with me)

The biggest waste of a Builders’ time isn’t management meetings (although again some Builders I know would strongly disagree0

The biggest time wasters are the endless parade of Sales reps from every walk of life, every supplier, realtor, advertiser, and promoter of gadgets you can think of.

Just today I was dealing with setting up a scheduling system for a new set of projects, and staff came to me with the latest and greatest (and their favourite) online gadget, complete with tutorials and complexities galore.   Experience has shown me how wasteful these “shiny objects” can be when a simple, one-page production schedule works just fine.

It’s not like the industry should not evolve and become more digital, but in truth, there is way too much detail, way too many...

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I think there is a little bit of procrastinator in all of us.

I certainly qualify.

I read many guru’s books on self-development, and most strongly support having a personal coach.   One, in particular, inspired me to write down my goals and one of my stated goals was to hire a personal coach.   I even planned to spend $6,000.

And I did nothing to make that happen for a good four years.

And nothing changed except I got older and more bogged down.

But two years ago I “saw” a young man on a periscope broadcast, and he was so encouraging!   He was offering personal coaching, and I reached out to him.  It was the best decision of my life.

I still have my coaching notes in a big yellow binder, with my personal vision statement written out and signed.   I am so proud of the work I did on myself, with his help and guidance.   It changed how I viewed myself and life itself.

Personal coaching helped me identify blockages...

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This blog is a bit personal, but any Builder worth his or her salt has some stories to tell.   Some are funny, some are tragic.  All are real life to the Builder.

  1. OPTIMISM: Optimism is the Builder’s stock in trade, otherwise who would be doing what we do, take the risks we take, and work so hard for sometimes so little.   But Optimism has to be tempered with sober thinking and careful planning.  Running ahead too fast, expanding beyond controls in place, reacting too quickly to perceived threats AND opportunities.   All of these and more increase the Builder’s risk and can lead to burnout or worse.  So be optimistic, but be realistic at the same time.
  2. PESSIMISM; The opposite of Optimism is Pessimism.  But they are not really true opposites.  Builder optimism is the lifeblood of the business, the juice that gets everyone up and going every single day, rain or shine.   Pessimism is like a cancer, it eats...
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5 Challenges Manitoba Home Builders Face

Home building isn’t an easy business, and it's not getting any easier.

In Manitoba, we face unique challenges, and in this environment, we forge some of the best trades, suppliers, and builders on the planet.   They say “if you can make it in Winnipeg, you can make it anywhere!”   Nowhere is this truer than in the arena of construction and home building.

  1. The weather alone impacts our business more than we realize. From 30 degree C days (80+F) summers to minus 30 and minus 40 extremes in the winter months (minus 40C equals minus 40F if anyone cares).   At minus 40, in anyone’s world, that’s crazy cold.   But in Manitoba, that’s just winter.  So we build on through it all.   We know exactly the point where our compressor lines will freeze before our hands do.  We know exactly when to shut a job site down because the weather is now life-threatening.  (we are not wimps, it has to be...
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My First Build

They say everyone has to start somewhere.   Some of us had such humble beginnings we don’t like to think or talk about them, but it's important to know that anyone can do this.

I was raised on a farm, so simple construction projects were often the way of life for us.   I learned to mix concrete by hand, form foundations with boards and sweat and tears, and to work hard at an early age.

But the idea to build my first house began as an idealistic conversation between myself and a handful of university buddies.   Finally, two of us decided to take the plunge and design and build a house to be sold.  How naïve we were!

I remember drafting the plans myself, ( rather crudely by today’s standards), and applying for a mortgage at age twenty at the local bank.  It was a small town, things were done more casually back then, but in no time I was financed and on my way.

The build went fairly well for a while, we hired a contractor to...

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Doing it For The Little Guy

When I consider the landscape of builders and renovators that make up our marketplace, I am drawn more to the startups, the guys doing just a handful of projects every year.   Typically, these men and women are very much hands-on, usually trades based, doing an honest days work for an honest day’s pay.   This is my tribe.

It's not like I am not familiar with the mega-builder community.   I have a lifetime of experience at the boardroom tables of high volume builders and developers and intimate knowledge of their sophisticated systems of operation.

Although we typically build (ourselves) very high-end large homes, very big ticket contracts, my own personal comfort zone has always been the entry-level market, because those clients are usually grateful for what you can give them and just a simpler market to serve.

Likewise, when considering coaching builders and renovators, my comfort zone is the five-to-ten homes a year small contractor.  ...

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