I need to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Following your advice to revamp our remodeling business has been nothing short of life changing.
It is hard to believe that not even three months ago, my husband's business was on the brink of disaster (notice how I referred to it as "my husband's business"; only now has it become something I feel proud to call "our business"). The business had lost money for two years in a row as our family struggled to survive on my teacher's salary. We had mounted a depressing debt, both under the business name and personally. We had taken our lines of credit and home equity loan nearly as far as they could go just to make our modest payroll. Something had to give! As a last ditch effort, we decided to enlist in your program for contractors.
The first thing you gave Dave was some 911/emergency advice. The first thing you gave me was hope. When we finished our first phone call with you, I hung up the phone and told Dave, "You and I are going to do exactly what this man tells us to do. Exactly. . . no cheating, no half way attempts." We were on board. Our first two weeks were all about the reading and educating ourselves. While Dave had his nose in "Profitable Sales, A Contractor's Guide", I plugged through "Markup and Profit" (doing all the exercises as required). We were such novices. I went from not even knowing what markup was, to being able to calculate ours and adjust it with changing overhead. Dave was busy reinventing himself as a salesman.
Now, let me tell you how things have progressed. Dave has read one or two books a week on topics ranging from sales to effectiveness in his business. He had a cd player installed in his truck and is currently listening to his second series of leadership cds. One of his recent remodeling projects is slated to appear as the cover story of our city's Home Design Magazine. He has established several alliances with upscale tile and cabinet distributors that have led to leads in the market he desired. He has landed several very high end remodeling jobs, the type he always wanted to go after but never knew how to clinch. The phone is indeed ringing.
Now that money is coming into the personal account on a regular basis, and with the help of both your advice and the book by Dave Ramsey that you sent, "Financial Peace", I have accomplished the following things for our family:
We have not charged anything since the day we first spoke. This is the first time we can say we have gone more than a month without using charge cards in many, many years. We are building an emergency fund by putting aside 10 percent of all income. It is so much fun to see that money grow!
- No bill collectors have called our house in two months.
- Last month was the first time in ages that I paid all the household bills with no late fees.
We have started a "Wall of Debt Fame" where we hang a neon Post-it of every paid off debt and the date it is paid. There are currently five Post-its hanging. I then remove that company's file from the active filing cabinet and put it in attic storage. That, sir, is a good feeling.
I surely feel that the day we placed that first call was the first day of our new future together, both as business owners and in our marriage. To those who are where we were, I would have some advice of my own.
- Doing what Michael advises is hard. You must be willing to put in the hours, educate yourselves, and overcome your fears about sales. You must listen, and stop making excuses. It is also the most exciting thing we have ever done.
- Being poor and not being able to pay your bills is hard. It is not exciting, it makes you feel sick.
Choose your hard.
Dave and I will be meeting you at some time over the next few years, I feel certain. At that time, I plan to give you and your wife (yes, I know she is the one who keeps you straight) both great big hugs."
"My husband and I had taken your seminar over 2 years ago and have found the information gained from it to be invaluable. When I realized we needed specific help for this upcoming project, I was thrilled to find you were available for consultation. The research you have done on our behalf and the two sessions we have had so far have already allowed us to present ourselves in a very professional light to our new clients.
I like your forthright attitude and problem solving mind-set and after our initial conversation, I felt such relief that my husband and I had you as a resource.
Thank you for all your help and support."
"Initially it was fear that kept us from calling for help, fear of the unknown. But, now we can say, it was the best call of our life! The investment is so small in comparison to the knowledge and peace of mind we have gained. The empowerment of taking control of our situation and facing the fact we needed to look at a new way of doing things is absolutely immeasurable.
When Michael says he can turn your business around in 4-6 weeks, it is absolutely true! As long as you are willing to follow what he says and offers, you will not fail. We have been coaching with Michael for 8-weeks and within 4-weeks our cash flow was turned around. That peace of mind is priceless!
There is absolutely nothing wrong in asking for help. In fact, it is the best thing you can do for yourself and your business. If you want to continually grow you must be willing to seek out the help that you need.
Calling Michael was one of the very best decisions we ever made in our life and to say thank you, seems so small for all that he has done for us.
Thank You, Michael!!"
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
"Michael is an advocate of the successful remodeler. His coaching maintains balance between personal and business goals. A weekly phone call keeps me moving towards commitments I have made. I have seen business increase over 50% since starting with Michael."
"My wife and I own and operate a small General Contracting/Custom Homebuilding business in British Columbia. We build app. 10 homes per year, after a recent rapid growth phase. The business grew faster than we did, and it began to run us. Decreased productivity and profitability, and a creeping debt load, were all making this whole deal less and less enjoyable, if not quite stressful.
Then we heard about your CPR coaching program. After our initial 10 minute conversation, I was cautiously optimistic, and decided to enroll as a coaching client. We reluctantly started to implement your suggestions, starting with your 'Red' paper on how to handle debt re-payment. We used your suggestions on bill collection, markup, and salesmanship. Your approach is quite a departure from my 'old' way of thinking, and initially I thought - ' I can't say this to people!'.
But, as you said, 'successful people do the things they don't want to do-and they do them first'.
We began to get positive results immediately; from customers, suppliers, lenders. Our company has already begun to turn around, become more productive, profitable, and started to lessen the debt load.
However, the biggest thing, is how we feel. Since we began our coaching sessions, we are in control, and are very excited about the direction our company, and our lives are going.
We are under no illusions about how much work this requires, how long it will take, or how much perseverance it requires. But your methods and suggestions have been exceptionally helpful, and we are grateful to have found your help at this juncture.
We wholeheartedly recommend your services to any other contractors and construction companies, and we look forward to continuing as coaching clients. This is the best investment we have made in our company, and it has already paid back many times the cost."
British Columbia, Canada
"It was not easy for me to pickup the 300 lb. telephone to call Michael the first time. I was scared to say the least.
I am so glad I found both the courage and humility to do it. His is a calm and sensible voice that has helped guide me through a house cleaning and foundation building that have put me on more solid ground. We initially spoke once a week and now on an "as needed" basis. He is my coach for life.
My business is on a clear path whose possibilities for success are the things that scare me now. I am all ready well on my way to meeting my goals for gross sales, projects built and revenues collected for the year ahead. I know where I am headed and I know how to get there. It looks like I will more than double, practically triple, what I did the year before. I can live with that, so can my wife."
San Pedro, California
I thought I would take a little time out of my busy schedule to interrupt yours with an update. . . .
The best news.......we went from a $200,000.00 + loss in 2002 to being $4,000.00 in the red to date, but, by year end we should be in the black again, and, we have over $2 mill. in contracts going into 2004. We have been blessed!
I just wanted to take some time to thank you for your part in the turning around of our business. It seemed at times like it was taking longer than some of your clients but we deal in high end homes not quick turn around remodel jobs. Even though our turn around time was longer than you might have thought; it was quicker than I expected. It took us years to get into the mess we were in and a short time to dig out.
Keep up the good work, you truly have a calling that is needed in today's construction field. If you ever need a referral please feel free to use me as one.
Thanks again, Happy Thanksgiving!"
"I just want to thank you for your time with me in Buffalo. When I attended your seminar I was so pumped up, and when I found out you offered in-house consulting I was even more thrilled, until you gave me the price for three days. I'll be honest, I thought you were smelling too much carpenters glue. There was no way I could pay for consulting, let alone pay attention. I was losing money every day. After fighting with myself for two weeks and trying to do it my way I finally decided to bring you in.
After having you in my office with my General Manager for one day, I realized that I got my money back for the seminar and the three days it cost to have you here.
What I really like about your style of teaching is that you are not just another generic motivator. You took the time to understand my business. Most importantly, you didn't just focus on my negatives. You also saw my positives and realized what I was about and worked with that.
Well Michael, I am writing this letter to let you know that I listened to what you taught me. Some of the things that I will keep with me are as follows:
1. It's okay to make a profit.
2. I am not going to compromise on the quality of my work, therefore, I am not going to compromise on my price.
3. To believe in myself again. When you're losing money you feel that the decisions you make are not right and you start to second guess yourself. Thanks for the confidence.
Best of all you said, "After hitting yourself in the head with a hose for awhile you think it's supposed to feel that way all the time." I realize that if I am willing to stop and look at myself from a different view, it is amazing what I can learn.
Michael, thank you, for going the extra mile you went to help me regain my company, start making a profit and most of all for helping me to make the right decisions for my family's future."
Buffalo, New York
"My experience with Michael and Devon Stone and their company, Construction Programs and Results, has been very positive. I have had very little formal education on how to manage a business but found myself doing so on a daily basis. I attended a seminar led by Michael at a NOMMA conference and was shown how to use some basic financial information to make sure our company stayed profitable - then business management was all I could think about. We partnered up with Michael as our coach and began going over our financial information. After a few phone calls we felt that we were on the right path but he was able to suggest areas that we should watch closely.
Just as important was the suggestion to pay certain key personnel by commission. It took some time for us to grasp the possibilities but Michael's life experiences made him well situated to explain how beneficial a commission arrangement can be for both a company and a quality employee.
His straightforward yet light-hearted approach fit our own sentiments perfectly. We could joke but then get right back to the heart of the matter - how to make a profit. We were also able to broaden our discussion and bounce all types of business ideas off of Michael where once again his own experiences gave us another point of view to consider.
Overall my experiences with CPR, Michael and Devon have been beneficial and rewarding. I continue to stay in touch with them when I'd like to hear their point of view on a new situation that inevitably arises. I'm always happy to see their newsletter which always reinforces the core teachings of Coach Stone. I would recommend a call to CPR for anyone struggling to enjoy their business. It can only help turn a business around."
St. Louis, Missouri