Building A Strong Foundation

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The business of remodeling is full of storms. Where do you turn to relieve the stress that builds up from running your business?

July 01, 2008

Larry Murr
Advisory Board Columnist

I have a quote pinned on the wall next to my desk that I refer to frequently to keep myself grounded. It is from John Ortberg, senior pastor of the Menlo Presbyterian Church, who says: "It is in the storm that the soundness of the house is revealed. A foundation is not a glamorous thing. No one visits a house and says, 'What a great foundation you have here.' No one even knows — until the storm."

The business of remodeling is full of storms: not enough work, too much work, too many employees, not enough employees, tight cash flow, hard to please clients, etc. As Roseanne Roseannadanna's grandmother said: "It's always something." What foundation have you built to keep you steady during these stormy times? Where do you turn to relieve the stress that builds up from running your business? How do you get recharged?

Recently I asked this same question to a group of remodelers that I have the highest respect for both from a personal level as well as a business one. There were a lot of interesting responses, but most of them could be summarized into three separate categories: God, family and physical activity. I wasn't sure where to put "singing in the shower."

As I see it, there are four areas in our life that we must constantly balance that are essential to personal growth: spiritual, emotional, mental and physical. When we allow one of these to become our main focus, the other areas suffer and we begin to wobble. It is much like the business diagram of a remodeling firm, showing a three-legged stool (administration, production, sales); when one area overpowers the other, your business suffers.

A strong faith can provide you with much comfort and insight, as well as keep you focused on what is really important in this life. But all of your beliefs serve no good if you are unable to put them into practice. Being emotionally strong can be an outgrowth of your faith, as a strong belief in a higher power takes out of play those issues over which you have no control. You learn to focus on the things you can control, knowing that the rest will fall into place.

Knowledge is a powerful tool. Keeping up with the latest best practices for your business and developing a business plan that outlines where you are, where you are going and how you are going to get there will help you keep this third area of your life in balance. "Mentally strong, physically fit" — the Boy Scouts have been teaching that for years. It goes without saying that these latter two go hand in hand: keeping physically fit helps us to avoid those moments of self pity, and feeling better can only help us make better decisions.

If you haven't done it lately, I would urge you to take some time to reflect on what is really important to you and what makes up the foundation upon which your business is built. You can count on the storms coming. But by building a great foundation in your personal life, you can count on weathering those storms and becoming stronger and better for the experience. And that will surely show in your professional life.


Author Information
Larry Murr is the owner of Jacksonville, Fla.-based Lawrence Murr Remodeling, a full-service design/build contracting firm specializing in residential remodeling. Larry can be reached at Larry@lawrencemurrinc.com.

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