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What Kind of Business Are You In? (Is it Really Remodeling?)

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What Kind of Business Are You In? (Is it Really Remodeling?)

The answer to that question is not as obvious as you might think

By Brian Gottlieb January 25, 2023
brian gottlieb
Brian Gottlieb
This article first appeared in the January/February 2023 issue of Pro Remodeler.

What kind of business do you have? What do you do? You might answer, “We’re a remodeling company. We remodel homes.” My next question is, “What is your real business? And what does it need to become?” 

When I first started in the industry, if you asked me that question, I would have said, “We are a remodeling company.” If you’d asked me again seven years ago, I would have said, “We’re a sales and marketing company that happens to be in home improvement.”

But if you ask me today, I’d say, first and foremost, we’re a training organization. We’re in the business of training and developing people, talent, and capabilities throughout our company and whoever it touches. We teach the customer why they should do business with us. We teach our team how to grow inside an organization. We teach people how to learn a craft. We’re a training organization.


RELATED: Does Encouragement Really Matter?

The Right Mindset

So, let’s take that idea a step further. If we’re a training organization, what must we be excellent at doing? There are a lot of answers to that question, but a central one is hiring. A training organization hires people that want to be developed. If they’re already on your team and they’re not interested in development, they’re probably never going to make it.

There are a lot of ways to write a recruitment ad and conduct an interview, but here’s a simple thing I’ve used that’s been successful: If somebody’s coming in for a marketing or sales role, we’ll send them a two-sentence script before the interview and ask them to memorize it.  


If somebody’s coming in for a marketing or sales role, we’ll send them a two-sentence script before the interview and ask them to memorize it.  


Here’s the thing: I don’t even care if people flop it. But if they didn’t take three minutes to try to memorize this script, there is no way they’re going to learn the entire training model of our business. We simply won’t hire them. Probably a third of the people we interview don’t learn the two sentences.


A Change of Focus

Becoming a training organization comes with a lot of questions. What are we teaching? What is the cadence of our teaching? How do we know that what we taught them stuck? What do I, as a business owner, need to know? What do our managers need to keep learning?

That’s why having a learning mindset is one of the key behaviors of a great manager. They have to be constantly learning so that they can teach. These ideals change the dynamics of the business.

In some of these old-school companies, the salespeople don’t interact with each other because they’re concerned about sharing their secrets and they want all the leads for themselves. But in a training organization, everybody’s involved. It’s a collaborative group. The idea is that you want to help train and develop the person standing next to you so they can realize their full potential. That’s what a training organization does. 


RELATED: Investing In Your Team Creates a Quantifiable ROI

written by

Brian Gottlieb

Brian Gottlieb is the founder of Tundraland Home Improvements and current CEO of Renewal by Andersen of Greater Wisconsin. 

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