|By Bruce Isaacson President, Homestore.com, Inc. Home Services
Today, busy professionals need instant information and complete connectivity to their peers and suppliers, wherever they are.
Fortunately, NAHB, NARI and my company, Homestore.com, offer effective Internet solutions for this critical need. Both trade associations have an online presence through their own Web sites. And, not coincidentally, those Web sites are easily accessible through Homestore.com, which is the largest real estate and home services-related network of Web sites on the Internet.
Let’s illustrate the benefits of using technology to enhance your business. You can improve your networking capabilities, your advertising and marketing opportunities, and your relationships with suppliers. All of these can help you grow your business.
Say you’re a contractor. You need to bid a job that requires specialized labor. How do you find the right subcontractor? You can call your associates or your competitors. Or you can check Homestore.com for people who perform the particular skill you need. In relatively no time at all, you can contact those subcontractors directly to discuss your job and get prices for your bid.
You can also use the Internet to advertise and market your own business and skills. You can use your Web site as an Internet business card that tells people exactly what you do and what special skills you possess. Furthermore, by having your Web site listed on various search engines, your business will be accessible to anyone looking for a remodeler. And, if you list your Web site on the Home Services tab of a very popular web site such as Homestore.com, your business will automatically be listed for potential customers seeking your particular skills in your local vicinity.
Finally, you can place links on your own Web site to favorite suppliers with whom you do business. This can have surprisingly good results for you in terms of increased work and industry goodwill. By linking to reputable suppliers, your customers can rely on you for giving them, rather than withholding, good information. They can "shop" on their own and become educated about the products they want for future use in their homes.
Will they go to the suppliers and try to circumvent you? Possibly, but unlikely. Customers don’t have the longstanding business relationships that you do with the suppliers, and not too many people want to be responsible for installing their own ovens, kitchen cabinets and wood floors.
In terms of goodwill, your suppliers probably will be grateful for the additional exposure you give to their businesses and they may, in turn, return the favor to you through reciprocal referrals.
Your affiliation with NAHB, NAHB Remodelors Council or NARI puts you in a good light professionally, and I encourage you to join today if you haven’t already. Make the most of the services they offer and the strategic alliances they have formed, such as the one with Homestore.com. Collectively, we can help you prepare for the future by taking advantage of technology that’s available today. Make sure you have your own Web site so your peers can find you. And, if you don’t already have one, Homestore.com offers services to help you get set up and make sure you’re properly linked to your industry. Together, NAHB, NARI and Homestore.com can increase your ability to work on projects for which you are skilled and in which you are interested.