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Making a first impression with words
By Molly Hamilton
How do you interact with your customers, prospects and partners? Chances are, you are sending emails and letters, or posting to a blog or website. Perhaps you maintain a LinkedIn profile or corporate Facebook page. Each one of these platforms provides a way to interact with your professional network, so it's critical that your materials are both well written and effective. Such correspondence is often the first — and perhaps only — impression you will make with prospective clients. To ensure they reflect well on you and your business, the following tips provide an important checklist before hitting "send" or pressing "publish."
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NARI NEWS


Buy a company to transition into remodeling business owner
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
In January, we looked at how to successfully sell your remodeling business. But what if you’re on the other side, looking to become a business owner without having to start from scratch? Glenn Zagon was an architect who has successfully transitioned into business owner by purchasing an already-established business in the Western suburbs of Chicago. Here’s how.
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The power of partnerships
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
Supplier partners succeed when your company succeeds, so often they can offer your company more support than a showroom to bring your clients. In this particular partnership, an air-conditioning manufacturer offered T.F. O’Brien and Company access to a marketing company to help it create a holistic approach to its advertising efforts—and also co-op advertising dollars to spend.
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NARI welcomes new national members
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
GuildQuality Inc.: Find Great Contractors to help you build, remodel, improve, or maintain your home.

U.S. LBM Holdings LLC: U.S. LBM currently consists of more than 50 locations in eight states, with more than 2,000 associates servicing the professional building market. Our primary focus is on customers that require specialized services, such as custom homebuilders and professional remodelers as well as multifamily and commercial contractors.

U.S. LBM is one of the fastest growing companies in our industry and is recognized as the 13th largest lumber and building materials distributor in the U.S. The U.S. LBM model is to serve as a platform for further investments and acquisitions in the pro dealer market — preferably in partnership with current ownership/management. U.S. LBM encourages those individual businesses to operate as autonomous local divisions while enjoying the capital and other resources of a much larger national organization.

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NARI EDUCATION UPDATE


Visit NARI's knowledge community
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
Have you visited NARI’s Knowledge Community lately? View more than 60+ webinars on topics ranging from best business practices, human resources issues, sales and marketing tips and more. Webinars can be viewed to earn NARI CEUs. In addition, NARI’s short podcasts cover everything from what to do with leads from a home show to how to create a useful client e-newsletter. These 15-minute radio programs are worth 1 CEU for listening to five podcasts. And there are also podcasts you can use to educate your potential clients, on how to prepare for a remodeling and about why there are days that no work is being done on their remodeling project.
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CHAPTER NEWS


NARI Tampa Bay area
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
What better way to socialize with other remodeling professionals—go bowling with NARI Tampa Bay Area, on Sat., March 15 at Liberty Lanes. Twenty dollars gets you three hours of bowling, shoe rental and two drink tickets. For more information and to get your tickets, visit the chapter’s website.
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NARI San Diego
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
NARI San Diego will host its first Lunch & Learn Thursday, Feb. 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. For $10, you’ll receive lunch as answers to the insurance questions you haven’t thought to ask yet. Find out more and register on the chapter’s website.
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SMALL BUSINESS UPDATE


Make your customers fall in love with your small business
Delaware Online
Getting and keeping customers is like any relationship. It takes courtship, commitment and ongoing communication to keep the spark alive. And just like any relationship, your relationship with your customers has stages.
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What it takes to be the boss
By Michael J. Berens
Who wouldn't want to be the boss? You get to call the shots and tell everyone what to do. You get a nice office, an even nicer paycheck and all those perks. What's not to like? It turns out, though, not as many employees as you might think aspire to being the boss. Fewer than 1 in 4, according to a Pew Research Center report. That figure is all the more surprising since bosses express higher levels of job satisfaction than do workers, are as likely to maintain work/life balance and are more satisfied with their home life as well. Are bosses just lucky, or is there something different that sets them apart from their co-workers?
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Small business, joining a parade of outsourcing
The New York Times
Going abroad for cheap labor isn’t just for big businesses anymore. Thanks to the rise of online job marketplaces, small businesses are increasingly using foreign contract workers to lower their costs. It’s a trend that has the potential to redistribute global wealth, say a group of researchers in a recent working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
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Minimizing risk when starting a small business
USA Today
The best business is a business that does not require a huge amount of risk. While some risk is a part of the game, a big part, great entrepreneurs take smart, calculated risks if and when possible. However, keeping risk at bay — financially, emotionally, reputation-wise, etc.— is a smart move for the new small business. In this article are some different decisions you need to make when analyzing the options.
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SALES AND MARKETING INTEL


Marketing strategies you may not be thinking about, but should be
Chief Marketer
Predicting marketing trends for the coming year is a favorite sport for futurists and there is no shortage of predictions of what marketers can expect this year — some on the mark, some not so much. Here’s one set of trends worth taking a look at from integrated marketing agency, Upshot, which just released its fifth annual trends report spotlighting technological, demographic and cultural shifts combined with opportunities for marketers within each trend.
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The 16 best lines in marketing
By Jeffrey Dobkin
As a marketer, your toughest job is getting the attention of your audience. It's difficult to stand out in a crowd, yet sometimes all it takes is a good line to garner a little notice. Like old friends, these 16 best lines in direct marketing are great to have at the ready. For starters, "gift certificate enclosed" is my favorite envelope teaser copy line for getting any direct mail package opened. Here's why.
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BY THE NUMBERS


Construction job numbers hit high point
Business First
A peek at the first full month of jobs data for 2014 revealed some counter-intuitive data for the construction industry. Despite record-cold temperatures, ice storms and snow, the construction industry continues to add jobs. According to a news release from the Associated General Contractors of America, the construction industry added 48,000 in January. Total construction employment was more than 5.9 million workers, which the highest total in four and-a-half years.
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Baby boomers are remodeling today with tomorrow in mind
Star Tribune
Most older homeowners nationwide prefer to age in place, according to a 2011 survey by AARP. But many of today’s homes, even so-called “senior apartments,” weren’t designed and built to accommodate wheelchairs, walkers and physical limitations, according to Alissa Boroff, director of Access Solutions, Minneapolis, and a certified aging-in-place consultant. That’s why some homeowners are taking matters into their own hands and transforming their houses now, so they can live comfortably in them later.
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Exterior projects rated most valuable home improvements
San Jose Mercury News
Realtors continue to rate exterior projects among the most valuable home improvement projects. According to the 2014 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, homeowners can recoup more than 78 percent of costs upon resale for such exterior projects as an entry door, siding and window replacements. "A home's curb appeal is always critical since it's the first impression for potential buyers. That's why exterior replacement projects offer the greatest bang for the buck," says National Association of Realtors president Steve Brown.
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By 2020, construction expected to be major job creator
Brainerd Dispatch
While the Minnesota construction sector has come on strong in the past year — gaining 6,500 jobs and expanding at a far faster pace than any industrial sector in the state — it still has roughly 30,000 fewer jobs than it did during the house-building boom back in the mid-2000s. That’s about to change. New data from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development indicate the Minnesota construction industry will generate 34,400 new jobs by the end of the decade — an employment growth rate of nearly 40 percent.
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Remodeling beginning to take off again
Green Valley News
Thinking about remodeling? If so, you’re not alone. Recent U.S. Census Bureau figures say that homeowners spent $130 billion on remodeling last year. That’s up 3.1 percent from 2012 and is the largest amount of home remodeling spending since 2007.
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Taking the pain out of kitchen remodeling
Chicago Tribune
Most people love their remodeled kitchens, but it's a safe bet they don't harbor many warm and fuzzy thoughts about what they had to go through to get it. Homeowners are almost guaranteed to express what Brenda Bryan calls "pain points" about kitchen planning, picking out the myriad products that went into the renovated room and dealing with the cast of seemingly thousands who helped make it happen.
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TECHNOLOGY NEWS


No business without new tech, say young entrepreneurs
The Guardian
As technology continues to progress at speed, we automatically seize each new development to discover how it can further improve and ease our lives. This is particularly true when it comes to young entrepreneurs. Figures show that 9 percent of small businesses are run by under-35s. These young business owners have been among the first to challenge the status quo and make the most of new technology.
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NARI NewsWatch
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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