McCadden: Making the Future Happen for Your Remodeling Business

by Kyle Clapham

Remodelers often enter a chaotic rush before the end of the year, working to finish projects so clients can have their homes back for the holidays. During this rush, all hands are typically on deck. This rush can cause other areas in the business to suffer from lack of attention.

Then, after the start of the year, things quickly slow down. This can be good. It gives the business and staff time to breathe again, regroup and put focus back on the day-to-day activities and requirements neglected during the year-end push.

This is the time of the year remodelers have some time to breathe and start working on improving their business. I see this firsthand because this is the time of year when traffic and downloads of assorted documents, templates and worksheets that I offer on my website dramatically increase. I think it’s great that remodelers start the year this way.

I would, however, like to point out that this is still a reactive way to solve problems in their businesses. This happens because most remodelers think only about the year ahead. But by thinking only about the immediate future, they will likely be in the same position again next year. They are, in many ways, limiting the future potential of their businesses.

I found the following quote in an article I recently read. The author said he couldn’t attribute the quote to any one person—that many thought leaders have used it over the years. The quote read:

“People tend to overestimate what can be done in one year and to underestimate what can be done in five or 10 years”. I spent a lot of time thinking through what that means to a remodeling business owner. Here are some of my thoughts and suggestions as you enter 2023 and beyond.

The Road to Nowhere

By only thinking one year out, you’re leaving a lot to chance. For example, by limiting your thinking, you will be another year behind getting yourself and your business ready for retirement. When would you like to retire? If you plan for it, it’s more likely to happen when you want it to happen.

Too many remodelers never plan for retirement and, therefore, never can retire, at least not on purpose. If you don’t plan for how you can sell your business, it’s likely you’ll just sell the trucks and ladders and shut your business down.

By planning for the sale of your business, the proceeds could help you retire, maybe even retire while you are still young and healthy enough to do all the things you couldn’t or didn’t do while you were busy running your business.

I was motivated to do this for myself, and for my family, after observing a local donut shop work every day well into his 70s, only to then find out he had cancer and was given less than a year to live. He was crying telling me about how he regretted his chosen path and would die before he and his wife could enjoy retirement together.

He shared he was more upset about not spending time with his wife than he was about actually dying. Remember the old saying: If you don’t know where you are going, any path will take you there.

There Will Always Be Forks in the Road

As a business owner, you’ll always be busy working at and building your business. Additionally, as you do business you will come to important junctures where you must choose one direction or another. By having a long-term plan for where you want to end up, making those fork-in-the-road decisions become easier and more likely to support your long-term plan.

Just like heading to a destination in your truck, if you take the wrong fork along the way, you may need to turn around and return all the way back to the fork again to get back on the right path. This will cost you both time and money, time and money taken away from growing your business and taken away from your retirement.

Unfortunately, it was too late for that donut maker. He ran out of time to back up to his fork in the road. I wasn’t going to let that happen to me.

Overheard at the Bus Stop

I encourage you to go back and check out my August 2021 article where I wrote about the bus-stop-question marketing strategy. In that article I ask you to imagine yourself three to five years from now at a local bus shelter along the main street in your town waiting for the bus to come.

In the bus shelter with you are two different past clients who aren’t aware of your presence. They are talking about your business and their experiences working with it.

What would you want to hear them say? Your answer will show you a vision of a delighted past customer. That vision should be your long-term objective. You should guide your marketing plan today to make it happen. Use the same strategy whether it applies to marketing, retirement or even someday selling your business.

Imagine what you want to happen. Make a long-term plan to get there. Work your plan one year at a time and reassess your progress toward the end goal. The best part? You won’t fall into the trap of waiting for each new year to make a 12-month plan.

By having a long-term vision and plan, you can check in on the success of your plan many times during the year to make sure you’re on the right path. You’ll also be much better prepared when you encounter those important forks in the road. QR

Shawn McCadden is a speaker, business trainer, columnist and award-winning remodeler with more than 35 years of experience. He can be reached at

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