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2009 Micro Family Business Award

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Three years before we built the business we built a home together from scratch. And so we learned through that process that we needed to divide things and that Kris would sometimes talk to me as her husband, sometimes she would talk to me as her contractor. And we worked things out there that really helped us when we started working together as a business. One of the key things: talk. Get things out in the open. If there's a problem say something, whether it's employees, clients, whether Brian and I disagree with each other. You've got to communicate about it. We've been consistently going to conferences and seminars all across the country to learn more about our business and to network with other people who run businesses similar to ours to find out "how do you deal with this problem". When we finish a job we send out a report card, how did we do, how could we improve things. And we pay very close attention to what our clients tell us. We really want to know. One of our philosophies is we can't fix a problem if we don't know there is one. There's a lot of job satisfaction to go see the big smiles and "oh yeah can we get copies of the photos so we can send them to my mom in New York". And, you know, the job satisfaction is huge. People are usually really happy with us. Businesses, in general, are always encouraged that you need to grow. And so in the mid-90s we started growing. And at a point I got to realizing that I was working way too hard and not making anymore money, even though the business was growing. So we had to step back, reevaluate our business plan, shrink the company. And it's been one of the better decisions we've ever made because we're much more comfortable. It didn't effect our income to shrink the business, matter of fact it turned out to be more profitable in the long run. When we were outside the office we left the office behind. When we were at home we talked about personal stuff, fun stuff. We tried not to talk about business at home or on vacation. And sometimes it would be funny. We'd be on vacation and we'd see a showroom somewhere and we'd kind of look at each other and say "can we go into that showroom or is that too work related". We usually did. We usually did. We have annual meetings, just the two of us, we get away from, usually away from Corvallis completely and review the business plan. Where do we want to go? Where are we now? What do we need to tweak? What can be better? What do we need to change? But we- The business plan is a living document for us. We keep it alive and we keep reviewing it. Boy, it's helpful. Because now we're able to delegate some of the day-to-day running of the business to other people, it gives us more time to be part of the community. And giving back to the community is very important to us. Over the 10 years we have installed over 1400 safety grab bars in about 750 homes in Corvallis. And it's just been a wonderful program, a great partnership. And for people who can't afford it, there's absolutely no cost . Luckily those who can afford it make enough donations to pay for the program. We get some of the most wonderful letters of thanks from the recipients for what a difference we've made in their lives. There was a woman when I went out to photograph one of the installations for a brochure, and the woman who was living there her husband had had a stroke and the care center wouldn't let him come home until they had grab bars installed in the bathroom. So they were there installing the grab bars this woman stood there and wept. She said " now my husband can come home, thanks to you". It was a very moving moment. I mean, we really made a difference. And that- It was such an easy thing for us. It was such a huge thing for the recipients. That's been a great program.

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 48 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 49
Posted by: umarket on Feb 16, 2010

The Austin Family Business Program awards the Micro Family Business of the Year Award to Corvallis Custom Kitchens and Baths for 2009

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