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Going from Good to Great

Going from Good to Great

It’s not quite Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and there probably won’t be a dramatic “move-that-truck reveal” moment like on that ABC reality show, but the first Resi Business Makeover already has the makings of a hit series. The contest, launched at the end of 2011, seems to have struck a chord with Residential Systems readers, rookies, and veterans alike. The response to the call for entries was off the charts, resulting in an impressive collection of applicants. Then, following rigorous one-on-one with the best of the best, our consultants narrowed the list down to these final five worthy candidates:


• The Big Picture Home Technologies, Grand Rapids, MI
• ForresterTech LLC, Springfield, MO
• Open Air Media, Farmers Branch, TX
• These Guys, Middletown, CT
• Tucker & Tucker Associates, Scarborough, ME

Next, contest organizers Residential Systems, Media Environment Design, and The Shiner Group are faced with the difficult task of narrowing down these candidates to one winner that will participate in a full overhaul of his company’s business processes for improved efficiency, profitability, and greater success in today’s market. This program combines the expertise of several industry consultants adept at helping businesses improve their processes and succeed in the areas of sales and marketing, design and engineering, operations and finance.

Tucker & Tucker is a 22-year-old custom AV company with what principal Stephen Tucker said are great product lines and a solid reputation with clients. Yet, Tucker still feels like he could take his company from “good to great,” with the right advice and guidance.

Every aspect of the winning company will be scrutinized, and the consultants will help create a detailed plan of action, and a roadmap to achieve greater success. The business will be trained and coached along the way by the consultants to ensure new processes are understood and correctly implemented.

In their search for a compelling story, the Resi Business Makeover team certainly found them. For instance, Tucker & Tucker is a 22-year-old custom AV company with what principal Stephen Tucker said are great product lines and a solid reputation with clients. Yet, Tucker still feels like he could take his company from “good to great,” with the right advice and guidance.

“We have grown the company as we could afford it, and other than accounts payable and the balance owed on one of our three trucks, we have no debt,” Tucker said. “However, I still feel like I am running the business by the seat of my pants (a good business plan might help) and reacting, rather than planning our future. With seven employees, I also feel that we need to grow our sales by about 50 percent in order to be truly efficient and profitable.

“I feel that we should be chosen because even though we have the reputation, products, and talent to be a really good company, we have not been able to become a truly great company. With a little help, expertise and guidance, I feel that we really could be.”

Then there’s These Guys, co-owned by Kevin Kampen and Jim Schmaltz, who have been working on the evolution of their Middletown, CT, firm for 15 years, proudly overcoming early hurdles and surviving the current economy.

“This was accomplished by dedication and sacrifice to a business we love,” Kampen said in his contest submission. “After all these years I still stop and think to myself, ‘Can you believe you get paid to do this?’”

ForesterTech, co-owned by brothers (l-r) Ben and Thad Forester, may already have the components of a good company, but believes it needs someone to help put the pieces together to help the company perform to its fullest potential.

It’s this devotion and unwillingness to compromise quality for a quick buck that has kept the doors open, Kampen said. But while he believes that These Guys is a great company, it still needs help. “We reinvent the wheel, monthly,” he said. “It makes me sick to think how many sales we have lost, because our customer doesn’t know who we are or how to find us. Unfortunately, many times the advice I get is from my peers who are making the same mistakes. These Guys would embrace the roadmap that your consultants create, my partner and I will do whatever it takes to make this company successful.” ForesterTech, co-owned by brothers Ben and Thad Forester, may already have the components of a good company, but believes it needs someone to help put the pieces together to help the company perform to its fullest potential.

“We are at a point in our company that we recognize dramatic measures must take place for us to continue to stay in business,” Thad Forester said in his company’s contest application. “2012 is a pivotal year for our company and we are committed to making the company a success.”

Forester pointed out that there is nothing he finds more frustrating than people who go to the right advisors for help, get the right recommendations, and then continue to do exactly what they’ve always done.

Open Air Media owner Buddy Hughes said in his application that his mid-sized AV integration firm in Farmers Branch, TX, has literally doubled every year in the past four years, but is looking to become more efficient in its day-to-day routine.

“We realize we don’t have the answers, and are looking to your team for those answers,” he stated. “Commitment requires hard work and motivation. We love what we do, we want to continue to be able to do what we love, but we need the business end to work.”

Open Air Media owner Buddy Hughes said in his application that his mid-sized AV integration firm in Farmers Branch, TX, has literally doubled every year in the past four years, but is looking to become more efficient in its day-to-day routine as well as looking at investments to bring its business to the next level.

As owner of Grand Rapids, MI-based The Big Picture Home Technologies, Ronald Nol would like to move from being “in business” to “building a business.”

“We have four, 15-year veterans on our staff that are fully committed to our growth and will change anything to better our business in any way possible,” Hughes noted. “We receive between 15-20 leads a week and have outgrown our offices several times with this amount of business coming. We are hoping to gain knowledge from industry professionals on how to utilize their structure to take our business to the next level of not only sales, but professionalism and maximizing repeat business.”

Ronald Nol stated that as owner of Grand Rapids, MI-based The Big Picture Home Technologies, he’d like to move from being “in business” to “building a business.”

“I would like to get a solid structure on a unified platform, get quotes out within 24 hours of meeting with the customers, and bills within 24 hours of completing the job,” Nol said in his Resi Business Makeover contest entry. “I would like to have detailed diagrams and documentation to hand my client [in a] proposal and my installer(s) at the install. Then take all this to aggressively pursue the builder market and past clients. I’ve always wanted to do [this], but never have as I know I have to have a solid infrastructure in place to make it properly happen.”

Now, the hardest part of the Business Makeover contest begins as the judges select one winning company out of these five worthy finalists.