Discover your free Construction Marketing Ideas Email Newsletter

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Twenty years of success -- and just discovering marketing

Amsted Design/Build founder and president Steve Barkhouse outside his Stittsville, Ontario, office. The stones recognize employees for five years of service -- at the company's annual breakfast before our interview, several received the recognition.

Yesterday, I met with Amsted Design/Build president Steve Barkhouse as we prepared a 20-year anniversary feature about his renovation business for the GOHBA Impact!, the newsletter of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders' Association. Amsted's business longevity closely matches mine and, as we parted company, Barkhouse observed how few businesses reach the 20-year milestone, let alone as successful as his enterprise.

Notably, Amsted to a large extent followed the conventional pattern of successful renovators and contractors. By doing great work, consistently and effectively, repeat and referral clients provide the basis for success and growth. In fact, Barkhouse said only recently has he started marketing.

(I'm not sure if this is entirely accurately, if you define marketing more broadly than conventional advertising. For example, he served as president of the GOHBA about a decade ago; and connected/worked within the community -- all valid marketing activities.)

Barkhouse offered an important explanation of why marketing has become more important to him recently. With 50 plus employees, without marketing to induce new client interest, he would have one other choice in a downturn in the market -- to lay off employees. Sure, he would do this if absolutely necessary, but he says he has built a competent team of qualified people -- and the company's scale of operation with design build, and in-house trades, would not nearly be as effective if it needed to shrink. So marketing allows him to manage the work flow -- and prepare for growth when conditions improve.

Of course, Amsted observes the core techniques of successful businesses including vision and mission statements and core values, which are discussed with employees at monthly meetings (meeting frequency increases if the business is working through a potential crisis):

Vision Statement
We will be the most sought after company in it's industry. To be highly respected for integrity, excellence and success. To provide a work environment that is enjoyable and achieves a balance between work and personal time.
Mission Statement
In order to realize our Vision, our Mission must be to exceed the expectations of our customers, whom we define as clients, partners and fellow employees. We will accomplish this by committing to our shared values and by achieving the highest level of customer satisfaction. In this way we will ensure that our profit, quality and growth goals are met.
Core Values

INTEGRITY -- Integrity is our trademark. We adhere to moral and ethical principles through soundness of moral character and honesty.

EXCELLENCE -- Excellence is the key to our continued success. We continuously strive for excellence in all we do.

TEAMWORK - Teamwork is our strength. Our chosen team works cooperatively, achieving common goals.

RESPECT -- Respect is the basis of all our relationships. We recognize and value both women and men around the world in all their diversity, whether inside or outside the group.

TRUST -- Trust is the foundation of our team. We build relationships and create a climate of trust among us all.

LOYALTY -- Loyalty is our commitment to the future. Loyalty is rewarded and highly regarded.

FULFILLMENT -- Fulfillment is our obligation. We continuously strive to exceed expectations and fulfill dreams.

PROUD -- being proud is our reward. We set high standards for ourselves every day, both as individuals and in our teams, so that we can give our best maximize our performance.

EMPATHY -- Empathy provides our peace of mind. We know the importance of experiencing the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another in order to succeed.

PROGRESS -- Progress is our movement toward a higher stage. We know how to look ahead, anticipate and educate, in order to develop new solutions that drive progress.

No comments: