NARI NewsWatch
Mar. 19, 2014

10 ways to maximize your home office for productivity
U.S. Small Business Administration
If you run one of the 14+ million home-based small businesses in the U.S., congratulations. You’ve got lower overhead, a shorter commute and the opportunity to be more productive than your office-based competitors. Still, working from home isn’t all eating peanut butter out of the jar and wearing your fuzzy slippers. There are plenty of pitfalls that can distract you from getting your work done. Here we look at 10 ways to ensure you’re set up for success in your home office. More

Involving landscape architects early creates seamless transition from inside to out
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
When a homeowner updates their home, there’s often an element of exterior renovation that goes along with it, whether it’s from a change in footprint or simply having machinery on-site. Involving a landscape architect early in the process ensures that the renovation project on the inside has created an inviting façade outside as well. Here’s how a landscape architect and remodeler can work together successfully.

A well thought-out design and installation enhances the connection between a newly remodeled three-season porch and the landscape. Outdoor spaces flow artfully from the enclosed porch to grilling and entertaining areas. Formecology, LLC took advantage of the lot sloping towards the house to create tranquil views of native stones and plants while capturing and diverting stormwater in an Asian-inspired cobblestone swale.

Hurry, last chance to sign up for March 25 UDCP prep course
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
NARI’s Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP) prep class kicks off March 25. This 4-week course will provide you with the tools to sell and conduct remodeling projects that are based on Universal Design principles. These types of projects are attractive not only to those who wish to age-in-place but also families with special needs and families that are forward thinking. You will learn the seven principles of Universal Design, how to interview clients with an understanding and consideration of their special needs, and finally the how-to of building these projects. Download the registration for the class here. For some perspective on Universal Design from other NARI UDCP’s, read “Universal Design experts break down results from consumer poll.” This is your last chance to sign up if you’re hoping to take the UDCP exam May 9, or 10. More

Last call for NARI Spring Business Meeting
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
NARI will be holding its Spring Business Meeting next week, March 26-29, at the New Orleans Marriott. Education topics include: “How to not get sued in 2014,” “How’s Houzz for you?” “Employee development: Building your company from the inside,” “Regulations impacting remodeling” and more. In addition, you’ll have a chance to network with remodelers from across the country, to learn about how to solve some of your most pressing problems. Find out more and register on NARI’s website.More

NYC/LI NARI tackles Affordable Care Act
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
Join NYC/LI on Thursday, March 20, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and learn about the Affordable Care Act and what all business owners need to know. The cost to attend is $55 for pre-registered members and $65 for all non-members and walk-ins. Find out more and register on the chapter’s website.More

Learn about health care law with NARI of Minnesota
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
NARI of Minnesota’s March meeting will take place Friday, March 21, from 7:30 a.m. to noon, and the topic will be “Navigating Healthcare.” The goal of this seminar is to help you navigate the changing world of health care. If you are a business owner or an employee, there will be information that will help you to stay on top of changing laws and guidelines. This seminar will help your company to keep up with the many changes happening in 2014 and beyond! The cost to attend this half-day seminar is $25 for members and $45 for non-members. Find out more and register on the chapter website.More

GuildQuality to present at Kansas City NARI meeting
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
Is customer service/surveys bringing you more business? That’s the question that will be discussed at Kansas City NARI’s pre-lunch seminar on Thursday, March 20, from 10 to 11 a.m. Then, join the chapter at its lunch meeting from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., where GuildQuality will present “The Marketing Heroes of Your Business: Empowering Clients to Share.” Tips will be shared on identifying your raving fans and leveraging your relationship with them to promote the quality of your business to prospective clients. The cost to attend is $23 with advance registration and $30 for unreserved walk-ins. Find out more and register by calling (913) 362-8833 or via e-mail at

A dozen deductions for your small business
FOX Business
Small-business tax rule No. 1: don't mess with the IRS. But that doesn't mean you should cheat yourself. Take every legal deduction you can. Here are a dozen that even savvy small-business owners and entrepreneurs sometimes forget.More

Mindfulness in managing risk
By Dr. David Hillson
Mindfulness has its roots in Eastern religion. It is also used therapeutically to treat a variety of psychological conditions, as well as in coaching to encourage excellence in healthy people. Used properly, mindfulness can also make our risk management more effective. Being mindful means bringing your complete attention to your current experience on a moment-to-moment basis, being aware of everything in your surroundings, acknowledging what is there and accepting it as valid. So how can this help us to manage risk better? More

How Obamacare impacts small business transactions
The Huffington Post
The factors a small business has to consider with respect to the Affordable Care Act can change quite dramatically if its workforce grows beyond 50 full-time employees. This can occur over time as a result of the natural growth of the business but can also happen rapidly and unexpectedly as a result of a business transaction. In this article are three tips that any small business owner considering a business transaction should keep in mind to ensure that there are no unexpected Obamacare surprises as a result of the transaction. More

Small businesses should learn balance sheet basics
Business in Savannah
No accounting term generates more fear and confusion for business owners than the words “balance sheet.” Most owners review their profit-and-loss statement regularly but only give their balance sheet a cursory and often confused look if they look at it at all. More

Advice for successfully getting a small business loan
Even during challenging times, a small business with a sound strategy can obtain a loan. If you’re looking to start or expand your business, in this article are strategies that may help you acquire the financing you need.More

In marketing, embracing a world where data rules
Fortune via CNN Money
Big data this, big data that. The popular Silicon Valley buzzword has become so ubiquitous — the term was even added to the Oxford English Dictionary last year — that it seems to mean everything and nothing at the same time. The benefits of big data are still nebulous for some, but the marketing industry faces a slightly clearer proposition. For marketers, harnessing complex data sets about a target audience could produce more effective campaigns and measurable competitive advantage. More

5 simple ways to outsell your competition
By Marc Wayshak
Your competition is out there right now selling to your prospects and customers. That's the bad news. The good news? They are all doing the same few things to try to win prospects' business. Just saying that you're different doesn't make you so. It's time to start actually behaving differently from your competition. By following these five simple steps, you can completely outsell your competitionMore

4 big misconceptions about content marketing
Some companies are open to the idea of content marketing but still take the wrong approach, or maintain the wrong mindset, when it comes to this promotional technique. The benefits of increased audience engagement, decreased ad spends and better brand recognition all make content marketing an obvious choice when it comes to allocating a company’s marketing dollars. More

The top trends and challenges of content marketing
Business 2 Community
Slowly but surely, the need to justify the value of content marketing is beginning to fade; for many marketing strategies, content is becoming pretty standard. With that said, however, we are far from being content pros. It’s one thing to do content, but are you doing it right? According to a recent infographic based on data collected by Eloqua, LookBook HQ and Oracle, the current state of content marketing is one of extreme confusion.More

How to drive sales from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
Small Business Trends
Social media may have been thought of as a fad even up to 2-3 years ago, but it is apparent now that networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can be major sales drivers for small businesses. By targeting your messaging to your specific niche or local area, social media can be a great way to reach your market in a new way. Helping capture more exposure goes beyond local listings and your website, and social media is worth the effort of maintenance and, in some cases, even paid campaigns. More

4 proven tricks to get Facebook likes on your business posts
By Emma Fitzpatrick
Getting likes on your business's Facebook posts may seem like throwing spaghetti against the wall. You know some sticks and performs really well, while others just flop. As far as the why, it's a mystery. Thanks to a recent study, part of the mystery has been cracked. Trust us, using these scientifically supported tips and tricks will help you get more bang for the same amount of time spent. Learn the top four data-proven tricks to help your posts on your business's Facebook page get more likes, comments and impressions below.More

US homebuilder confidence edges higher in March
The Associated Press via Daily Reporter
U.S. homebuilders’ confidence in the housing market edged higher this month, reflecting improved demand for new homes as the traditional spring home-selling season ramps up. But the outlook for sales of single-family homes over the next six months dimmed slightly as builders continue to grapple with a shortage of skilled workers, ready-to-build land and rising building materials costs.More

US housing starts fall, but permits rebound
U.S. housing starts fell for a third straight month in February, but a rebound in building permits offered some hope for the housing market as it struggles to emerge from a soft patch. The Commerce Department said recently that groundbreaking slipped 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 907,000 units. That followed January's revised 11.2 percent decline and suggested underlying weakness in housing activity apart from the drag of cold weather.More

Big rebound in home equity
The Seattle Times
The economy may be growing at a frustratingly slow pace, but one piece of it is booming: American homeowners’ equity holdings — the market value of their houses minus their mortgage debts — soared by nearly $2.1 trillion last year to $10 trillion. Big numbers, you say, and hard to grasp. But look at it this way: thanks to rising prices and equity levels, about 4 million owners around the country last year were able to climb out of the financial tar pit of the housing bust — negative equity. More

Residential construction builds firmer financial foundation
Weather may have kept home builders and remodelers off the job site recently, but data from Sageworks, a financial information company, show that privately held residential construction companies at least entered the year with stronger financial fundamentals than in recent years. Private residential construction companies, on average, had healthy liquidity ratios in 2013, and they were in a better position to service their existing debt, according to Sageworks’ preliminary analysis of financial statements for the 12 months ended January. Sales growth, too, remained healthy in that period.More

Divergence of construction spending and employment could point to 'fundamental change' in the industry
Equipment World
Recently, the folks at Business Insider put together a nicely done and comprehensive article discussing how the skilled labor shortage is affecting the construction industry and the impact it's having on home building. There wasn't much new news to be found for those who follow these stories on a regular basis. Many of the experienced and skilled workers left construction in the wake of the recession for more stable work and the lack of available tradesmen is translating into home building delays and an inability to meet demand. More

Business technology: 'Change is the new norm'
The Times-Tribune
Twenty years ago, fax machines were regarded as valuable, technologically progressive office machines. Today, telefacsimiles often are relegated to the margins of offices - if they are used at all. They generally are regarded as quaint, outmoded devices from the pre-Internet age. "The modern era pace of technological change is daunting," said John Regula, vice president and chief information officer at Allied Services. "Change is the new norm."More

3 big picture ideas for introducing new customer experience technology
Business 2 Community
Technological change is complex in any organization. Hundreds of questions, maybe thousands, need to be asked and answered before introducing a new customer experience technology. At the strategic level, however, there are three questions that should form the basis of your initial decision matrix when considering a new customer experience technology. More

7 often-overlooked tech resources for entrepreneurs
FOX Business
Are you always looking for the latest, greatest business tech tools? Check out these seven great "hidden gem" resources that can help you run your business better. While these websites, apps and software programs aren't all new to the marketplace, they may be new to you.More

Microsoft Office 365 Personal: More affordable for small businesses
Business News Daily
A new, individualized subscription to Microsoft Office 365 could be a boon to small business owners. Recently, Microsoft announced the debut of Office 365 Personal, a more affordable way for individual users to access the cloud productivity suite. Subscribers can install and use Microsoft Office 365 on one desktop computer and one tablet for $70 per year, or $7 per month. More