This week, the experts at the D.C. chapter of the business mentoring nonprofit SCORE offer advice on how one renovation company can build on its success — Dan Beyers.
In 2008, when most people were getting out of the construction industry, Mina Fies decided to go all in. Frustrated by the countless stories of renovations gone wrong, she knew there had to be a better way. Mina and her husband, Mark, decided to create Synergy Design & Construction, a Reston company that’s committed to actually having homeowners enjoy the process of renovating their homes.
Over the past seven years, they’ve experienced consistent growth, created a steady stream of loyal and enthusiastic clients, and garnered local and national recognition. They are now in the process of documenting their system, called the Renovation Roadmap, which aims to empower homeowners in any area of the country to take control of their renovations and ensure they too can “renovate happy.”
Mina Fies, founder and CEO of Synergy:
“We try to be disciplined business owners, creating and following an annual budget. We sometimes struggle in deciding when to deviate from the budget, in hiring our next employee, or buying a piece of equipment (all with the goal of improving or growing our business), even though it’s not in the budget.
“Fortunately, we have a strong pipeline for 2015 and our yearly projections have already surpassed our expectations; however, our budget is based on historical data and a more conservative outlook.
When is it appropriate to set aside the budget and do what we think is best for our business and our clients? This question is particularly critical for us right now as we are facing the challenge of growing the business beyond our capacity to be hands-on every day.
Fred Glave, SCORE counselor, Washington D.C. chapter:
“How you approach this challenge of relinquishing some control, but maintaining oversight and direction, must be guided by all you have learned over the past five years. You should continue to pay particular attention to using a very conservative sales forecast, minimizing all expenses until you absolutely must buy that new piece of equipment or add another employee.
“Your most difficult, but most critical, decisions will likely involve selecting new employees, to take over part of what you do now. You will have to screen each candidate very thoroughly, have as many people as possible interview each candidate. Even include your current employees in the interview process, who, very likely, will be their peer if the candidate is hired. You will be surprised at how much insight and good judgment your current staff can bring in assisting you in this process. And never give in to the temptation to rush to hire someone simply because your need is so great. If your collective evaluation, insight and judgement counsels against the hire, then don’t do the hire. The right person for each of your positions is out there. You simply must be persistent and patient to find them.
All of this will ensure that you will continue to deliver the ultimate in client satisfaction: a customer who enjoys the process of renovating their home.
“Thanks for the reassurance and advice. It’s often challenging to balance a positive outlook and gut feeling with being objective and sticking with a numbers-based plan, especially for your own business. There’s never an ‘easy’ time to start a business, and that was certainly the case in 2008. The guidance we’ve received from you over the years has been invaluable and with your advice on how to approach the hiring of new personnel, we’ll continue to be on the right track.”
SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneur education. Looking for some advice on a new business, or need help fixing an existing one? The Greater Washington DC Chapter provides confidential counseling and mentoring from more than 50 executives across the region. Contact us at email@example.com or request a mentor at www.washingtondc.score.org.