Building Better

Delighting customers drives the new home design process.

By Heather McCune, Editor in Chief | August 31, 2004


Heather McCune, Editor in Chief


Delighting customers drives the new home design process. Builders and architects huddle over site plans, lot configurations and floorplans. They discuss and debate room counts, placement, features, options and finishes. Construction and trade partners pore over blueprints, fixated on opportunities to engineer a plan to deliver a home that is better built.

In these efforts, home building and magazine publishing have much in common. With this September issue, we introduce our own new plan - a design created to delight our readers. Getting to this point began in the same place plans for a new product start - with our customers - in this case, you.

Dozens of readers participated in focus groups. You told us what you liked, what you loved, what you could live without and what you never wanted to see again. More important, you told us what information you need most in running your business and what we could do to deliver it in a more useful format. Hundreds more readers shared their thoughts in surveys throughout the redesign process. Your input helped shape this final design.

Our thanks to every participant for helping bring this new design to fruition. We could not have done it without your help.

In this first issue you'll encounter much that is new - the most obvious being a graphics facelift. To drill down a bit further to the magazine's framework:

  • Plans & Projects: Our team of talented senior editors - Bill Lurz, Bob Sperber and Meghan Stromberg - work as your eyes and ears throughout the country. They tour new home communities, seeking the best innovations in housing design and development and share the story with you: the opportunities, obstacles and outcomes of these leading-edge projects and their builders.


  • Business of Building: Every article in Professional Builder delivers on our goal to help our readers build profit, not just houses. In this section, we provide staff-written features and analysis from the best in industry - financial guru Chuck Shinn from the Lee Evans Group, customer satisfaction pro Paul Cardis of NRS Corp., human resources expert Bob Piper from The Talon Group and management guru Scott Sedam of TrueNorth Development. Their assignment: to teach, inspire and, yes, challenge you to better your business, your processes and your bottom line.

    Adding to this section this month is architect Cheryl O'Brien with an article on Designing the Under-2,500-Square-Foot Home. In this multi-piece report, O'Brien teaches the design fundamentals to make smaller homes live large.


  • Special Report: In every issue we do the hard story. This month, Bill Lurz confronts the topic few builders want to face, but nearly all fall victim to - employee theft. In bringing you this multi-page analysis, Bill interviewed dozens of builders and spent numerous hours researching. He ultimately crafted an article that not only details an industry epidemic but also offers concrete ways builders can protect their businesses from this insidious threat.


  • Product Report: Innovations in building products fuel excitement for both builders and new home buyers. In this section, contributing editor Cheryl Cullen goes beyond the specs to deliver the information to make you an expert on the industry's best new products. In this month's installment, learn the bathroom faucet features that matter most to your buyers.


  • News2Use: The name says it all. This multi-page section organized by building business discipline - build, design, manage, sell and land - delivers quick ideas with the goal of immediate implementation. Ideas included here help you differentiate your new homes from your competitors, deliver sales messages that motivate buyers, manage for emerging markets, develop lots and land, build better houses the first time and, in doing so, build a bigger bottom line.


While the packaging reflects the vitality of the new home construction business, the content of this issue - and every one before and to come - delivers the same standard of business-building information you've come to expect. It is why the word "professional" is dominant in our new logo.

Our focus isn't so much on constant improvement as it is, to quote Seth Godin's book Prize Inside, "constant meaning." Your business requires constant improvement just to keep pace with customer expectations, and so does ours. We go one step beyond to help you do the same.

Heather McCune


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