This ren­o­va­tor looks to build on its suc­cess

The Washington Post Sunday - - TAKING STOCK - Look­ing for ad­vice? Con­tact us at cap­biznews@wash­post.com or re­quest a men­tor at www.wash­ing­tondc.score.org.

This week, the ex­perts at the D.C. chap­ter of the busi­ness men­tor­ing non­profit SCORE of­fer ad­vice on how one ren­o­va­tion com­pany can build on its suc­cess

— Dan Bey­ers

The en­tre­pre­neur: In 2008, when most peo­ple were get­ting out of the con­struc­tion in­dus­try, Mina Fies de­cided to go all in. Frus­trated by the count­less sto­ries of ren­o­va­tions gone wrong, she knew there had to be a bet­ter way. She and her hus­band, Mark, de­cided to cre­ate Syn­ergy De­sign & Con­struc­tion, a Re­ston, Va., com­pany that’s com­mit­ted to ac­tu­ally hav­ing home­own­ers en­joy the process of ren­o­vat­ing their homes.

Over the past seven years, they’ve ex­pe­ri­enced con­sis­tent growth, cre­ated a steady stream of loyal and en­thu­si­as­tic clients, and gar­nered lo­cal and na­tional recog­ni­tion. They are in the process of doc­u­ment­ing their sys­tem, called the Ren­o­va­tion Roadmap, which aims to em­power home­own­ers across thec oun­try to take con­trol of their ren­o­va­tions and en­sure that they, too, can “ren­o­vate happy.”

The chal­lenge, Mina Fies, Syn­ergy founder and CEO: “We try to be dis­ci­plined busi­ness own­ers, cre­at­ing and fol­low­ing an an­nual bud­get. We some­times strug­gle in de­cid­ing when to de­vi­ate from the bud­get, in hir­ing our next em­ployee, or buy­ing a piece of equip­ment (all with the goal of im­prov­ing or grow­ing our busi­ness), even though it’s not in the bud­get.

“For­tu­nately, we have a strong pipeline for 2015, and our yearly pro­jec­tions have al­ready sur­passed our ex­pec­ta­tions; how­ever, our bud­get is based on his­tor­i­cal data and a more con­ser­va­tive out­look.

“When is it ap­pro­pri­ate to set aside the bud­get and do what we think is best for our busi­ness and our clients?”

The ad­vice, Fred Glave, SCORE coun­selor, D.C. chap­ter:

“How you ap­proach this chal­lenge of re­lin­quish­ing some con­trol, but main­tain­ing over­sight and di­rec­tion, must be guided by all you have learned over the past five years. You should con­tinue to pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to us­ing a con­ser­va­tive sales forecast, min­i­miz­ing all ex­penses un­til you ab­so­lutely must buy that new piece of equip­ment or add another em­ployee.

“Your most dif­fi­cult, but most crit­i­cal, de­ci­sions will likely in­volve se­lect­ing new em­ploy­ees, to take over part of what you do now. Youwill have to screen each can­di­date thor­oughly, have as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble in­ter­view each can­di­date. Even in­clude your cur­rent em­ploy­ees in the in­ter­view process, who, very likely, will be their peer if the can­di­date is hired. And never give in to the temp­ta­tion to rush to hire some­one sim­ply be­cause your need is so great. If your col­lec­tive eval­u­a­tion, in­sight and judg­ment coun­sels against the hire, don’t do it. The right per­son for each of your po­si­tions is out there. You must be per­sis­tent and pa­tient to find them.

“All of this will en­sure that you will con­tinue to de­liver the ul­ti­mate in client sat­is­fac­tion: a cus­tomer who en­joys the process of ren­o­vat­ing their home.”

The re­ac­tion, Fies: “Thanks for the re­as­sur­ance and ad­vice. It’s of­ten chal­leng­ing to bal­ance a pos­i­tive out­look and gut feel­ing with be­ing ob­jec­tive and stick­ing witha num­bers-based plan, es­pe­cially for your own busi­ness. With your ad­vice on how to ap­proach the hir­ing of new per­son­nel, we’ll con­tinue to be on the right track.”

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