Do you want to have just a GOOD business?
Or do you want to have a GREAT business?
That is a question many contractors ask themselves at some point or another.
I was intrigued by this concept, so I asked Katie Kath (@jkdesignbuild) how she did it.
In this episode, she shared her stories, including the ups and downs, of how they redefined their brand, and focused on becoming the “great” company that they now are.
Dig in, and learn exactly what it takes to go from good to great in this episode…
“Katie has an entrepreneur’s heart, and has been involved in business for much of her life. She and Jessie (her husband), are partners in their business. Together, they do boutique residential remodeling, custom cabinetry from their own shop. Occasionally, they accept custom-home projects. Their talents lie in the art of smart design, unique material selections, and collaboration to the end.”
They are located in Minneapolis, MN.
Katie owned her own restaurant for 8 years but had to let it go and sell it. When asked how to prepare a business to be able to sell it, she said, “Have a 5 year plan, and surround yourself with people who can replace you.”
One of the biggest challenges they’ve faced so far is transitioning from doing only client work to working with an investment property.
Some of her best moments were staging the house and doing the “after” photography work. To be able to take the shots, then compare the “before and after” photos, is not only rewarding, but also fulfilling for her.
We hear many stories about spouses working together but ended badly. Not Katie and Jesse. She proudly shares that collaborating, making decisions and trading ideas with her husband is amazing. Both of them are aware of their roles in the business and often ask each other, “What’s your lane?”
If one of them is slowly moving out of their lane without realizing it, the other person simply points it out and says, “I think you’re starting to get in my lane.”
This is how they help each other and make the business thrive! It’s called… open communication and honesty. It has greatly helped them stay true to what they do best.
How did they take their business from good to great?
By focusing on their brand. They asked themselves questions like:
- “What does design mean to us?”
- “Who are our ideal clients?”
- “What are our goals?”
- “How do we reach our target market?”
It was through this process that they decided they wanted to be a “boutique” firm. They both agreed on what their marketing message is, and came up with a clear business plan.
Branding is extremely important to Katie.
She said more than once that she wants to have an online brand that clients can fall back on. Meaning, if someone is doing their research, she wants to have multiple places online that people can interact with her brand. This will help solidify who they are, and what they stand for.
Katie mentioned the importance of working with a professional photographer and including the cost of it in the budget with each project. She understands that branding is important and using a professional photographer in every project is worth the investment. True, smartphones are used these days for photography because they include a high mega pixel camera; however, they do not capture the “project” the same way a skilled photographer is able to do.
Her blog mainly features the projects they are working on and she publishes a new one every 3-4 weeks. Once published, she promotes each blog heavily on social media and through paid promotions. She stresses that having a blog is vital to build the brand for clients to fall back on. Aside from that, it helps their brand reach to a new and wider audience.
Katie’s go-to social media stream is Instagram and she makes sure to post daily. She recommends using high quality images along with 20-30 relevant hashtags for each post.
She also utilizes Pinterest on a regular basis. She recommends using a text overlay on the images she publishes on there. She uses the tailwinds app for Pinterest scheduling.
Her Favorite Software:
Her Favorite Apps:
Her Favorite Book:
Her Local Home Builders Association
If she was to start over scratch, here’s what she would do differently.
Spend more time focusing on:
- “Who is our ideal client?” And
- “How can we align our brand with that market?”
Parting words of wisdom.
“Have fun. Set boundaries. And love what you do.”
Follow along at:
Jkath_designbuild Facebook Account
Jkath Youtube YouTube Account