10 Ways to Modernize Your Home

Why is it such a big deal to be “modern”? What value do modern kitchen cabinets or other contemporary updates add to your home, especially when you’ve always enjoyed traditional décor? Two words: resale value!

You may like a traditional look, and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as “traditional” doesn’t translate to your potential buyers as “outdated”. Here are 10 ways to ensure it doesn’t, by modernizing your home for a better resale value:

1. Improve Exteriors – Curb appeal is important. Keep it clutter-free and avoid overgrown shrubbery or plain rows of evergreen bushes. Mix it up with rich foliage in attractive groups of threes and fives, rather than the more traditional pairings. Add perennial flowers for color and mulch to give everything a finished look. (Black mulch is a more modern touch than traditional brown shades.)

2. Paint – The traditional pre-sale procedure is to blast everything in neutrals so a buyer will not be turned off by your personal taste and will feel the freedom to put his or her own personality into the home. Neutral paints are still popular, but there’s something to be said for showing potential buyers the home’s potential with a little pop – try an accent wall in high traffic areas like the living room, dining room or kitchen in a bold, eye-catching color. With improvements in today’s paints, covering a dark red or blue wall is much easier to do than it used to be if they want to change it!

3. Update the kitchen – It’s one of the first rooms potential buyers look at. Concentrate on the flooring, countertops, sink, lighting and cabinetry. Kitchens should have a clean feel, so replace any flooring that is buckling or cracking. Granite and marble countertops are a modern touch and will make any cook feel like a professional. Replace the sink if it’s a shallow, single basin. Two basin, stainless steel sinks will immediately improve kitchen value. Remember to enhance the lighting scheme with contemporary fixtures and high wattage bulbs – even at night, the kitchen should have a light, airy feel.

Finally, the number one way to improve the look of your kitchen is with modern kitchen cabinets. Potential buyers can go any way they want with styling and accessories, but the cabinets themselves are the framework for the space and should look contemporary, timeless and durable.

Keep in mind, kitchens are gathering places. Custom cabinets, fresh paint and new, energy-efficient appliances are obvious places to start and the first thing potential buyers will notice, but they will find your kitchen more inviting if there is an island, breakfast bar and cozy stools for the busy modern family to enjoy a quick meal together. If you have a small, uninviting kitchen, consider opening or enlarging this space before making expansive additions to the house elsewhere.

4. Frame it – Put up wood trim and cornicing for an upgraded, contemporary look. Accentuate newly painted walls with ceiling trim and armchair railing. Replace old light switches and outlets, as updating to more modern switches, plates and fixtures implies that the home has newer electrical wiring.

5. Dress up the floors – Hardwood flooring is always fashionable and can be updated to a contemporary look with throw rugs. Woods floors are more versatile than carpet. If you have covered hardwood floors, check their condition by pulling up a small piece of your existing carpet in a discrete location, like the corner of a closet. Refinishing floors is an inexpensive update, especially if you do it yourself. If you don’t have hardwoods under your carpet, at a minimum have them cleaned, and ideally look into inexpensive laminate wood floors. (Laminate floors also give kitchens a more modern look than vinyl tile or ceramic squares.)

6. Update the bathroom – Next to the kitchen, it’s the most common place potential buyers look for improvements. You can still keep a traditional look (read claw tubs and pedestal sinks) with modern convenience. Consider timer fans, heated floors and updated lighting. Like new light switches and outlets will give the impression of updated wiring, so too will updated bathroom fixtures give the impression of newer plumbing. Replace or paint outdated cabinets for a clean, fresh feel and don’t forget to update their hardware. Sometimes it’s the little things that impact buyers the most.

7. Make room for media – A den used to be an optional room, but today’s families desire space for computers and game consoles. Even if you do your computer work from a laptop in your bedroom and don’t own an X-box, create a space where a potential buyer can picture an office or media room. Make sure the space isn’t in a secluded area of the home. Modern parents want to keep the family computer in a visible place.

8. Improve storage – Modern home owners have more need for storage than ever. Counter space and table tops are needed for TV remotes, cell phones and charging stations for the many electronic gadgets. This means the traditional items you’d expect to keep out in the open need to be tucked away. Look at ways to improve closets and cabinets with organizers or permanent shelving to maximize empty space.

9. Improve energy efficiency – If your home is in a hot, humid climate, install ceiling fans, especially in second floor bedrooms. This is an inexpensive investment that will increase the home’s energy efficiency and improve its perceived value. In addition, add insulation, make sure you have fresh caulk to seal leaks, and upgrade to energy-efficient windows, doors, and skylights. If you invest in these changes, make sure to highlight them to buyers. Efforts to improve energy efficiency are not easily perceived during a walk-through.

10. Stage It – Lastly, when you’ve made all your updates, throw on the finishing touches with modern accessories that will brighten up your home. Candles (unscented for the kitchen), mirrors, rugs, and throw pillows are easy ways to renew the energy of a room. Highlight your beautiful custom cabinets in the kitchen with bowls of fresh fruit and shiny appliances, even if you don’t use them on a daily basis (like a new blender or bread maker). Finally, don’t forget to show off all your changes with bright light bulbs.

Mobile Home Accessories Help You Enjoy Your Investment

One of the reasons why people love mobile homes is they require less maintenance and repair. If you are one of these people, it means that you are content with living in a small space with few or no shared walls. However, a limited space is no reason why you cannot make your living environment comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. There lots of mobile home accessories that will make remodeling a fun and exciting task.

How to Improve the Livability of Your Mobile Home:

With a little budget, the best parts and supplies for renovations and a little creativity, you can make your mobile home a haven for you and your family. A new color would make a big difference to the interior or even look of your home. Give it more meaning and make it livelier by repainting your mobile home.

Add some hardware or accessories that would upgrade or complement your existing home décor. New curtains or shutters would make a good replacement to your old and plain window treatments. There are plenty of mobile home accessories to choose from that would go well with your modern or contemporary mobile home. If you go online, you will find numerous retailers that offer wholesale or discount prices to many home accessories. Try and check out some of them.

Horizontal Aluminum Window Awnings for Windows up to 36″ Tall awnings are designed for single hung, stationary and double hung windows. They protect windows and furnishings from the elements, maintenance free, less repair water repellent, rust-proof aluminum, heavy extruded mill finish framework with reinforced center mullions on all sizes and horizontal design that blends with any home exterior. It also features air-vented side wing panels for added coverage and stability and to reduce summer cooling costs of up to 20 percent. They are available in solid colors or optional horizontal stripes. Prices vary by options at mobilehomeadvantage.com.

If you are looking for a carport that can offer you both protection and sturdiness, then consider Versatube-CM324200100(Blue)-10’Hx24’W Carport with 3 Trusses. It features a heavy gauge galvanized steel tubing, added support of three trusses to allow it to withstand toughest winters, painted steel roofing, vinyl trim, butyl caulk tape, quality low-maintenance finish that is stain, dirt, chalk and fade resistant and silicon coating for easy cleaning. It is manufactured in various length and color options such as blue, brown, charcoal, evergreen, gray, red, stone, tan and white. Visit csntools.com if you want to order.

Perfect for exit areas that are seldom used, Economy Wood Steps are best ideas for people who are looking for a temporary step before building a porch or deck area. They are made of pressured treated wood and mounted on a steel scissor frame for both durability and strength. Another salient feature of these steps is it can be folded for easy storage when not in use. Learn more about this product at generalsupplyinc.com.

Available in chrome or brushed nickel finish, the Oxygenics Bodyspa Hand Held Shower Head will allow you to save water without sacrificing water pressure, thus making you enjoy refreshing high pressure shower without the guilt. The shower head uses the Venturi Principle, a concept of fluid mechanics that involves water being pushed through an accelerator fin that increases the velocity of the water as it comes out of the shower head. The design is easy to use and versatile, includes a 60-inch hose and pipe mounted handheld holder, engineered using Dupont Delrin acetal resin to prevent clogging, full-body spray and uses a maximum of 2.5 GPM. This item is for sale at only $49.99 at showerheadstore.com.

With these mobile home accessories combined with your creative flair, you will be surprised with the stunning results and will find your mobile abode a comfortable and pleasing place to stay.

Inequality Marketing – Smart, Results Driven Marketing Strategies For 2013

Way back in 1906 an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto discovered something that very few are willing to accept:

Life isn’t fair.

Pareto studied wealth patterns of the Italian population and discovered 80% of the wealth was controlled by 20% of the Italian people.

He then went on to discover that most everything else in life falls into a similar 80-20 split. Today, we know this phenomenon as the Pareto Principle and some of us simply refer to it as the 80-20 rule.

This rule is not 100% exact but you’d be amazed at how often the 80-20 principle happens right front of us. For example:

• 80% of sales come from 20% of customers
• 80% of profits come from 20% of products
• 80% of problems come from 20% of customers
• 20% of your customers have the potential to spend four times as much money as they are right now

Specifically, in the restaurant biz:

• 20% of your marketing efforts are producing 80% of the results
• 20% of your customers are producing 80% of your operating income (consider frequency of visits, longevity, referrals and incremental purchases)
• 20% of your personal time is producing 80% of your results
• 20% of your customers are taking 80% of your time
• 20% of your employees cause 80% of your headaches

Now, these are not always exact, but if you look within your business, I’ll bet each of those statements very, very close to being correct.

The productive application of this knowledge is to IDENTIFY the “20% factors” within your business and focus more of your resources on them.

Here’s just one example: Let’s say it takes you 2 hours and $250 to prepare and run an ad in a local newspaper. And the ad brings you only 5 new customers that month.

Or you can spend 2 hours and $250 on another type of marketing method that will produce 20 new customers that month. 80-20 in action!

Make sense?

There is tremendous power in this knowledge. If the “20%” activities are scalable you can eliminate a BIG chunk of your budget and time expenditures while achieving more than you ever thought possible.

Moving forward into 2013, I encourage you to find the inequality in your restaurant business and – rather than complain about it like most people do – use it to your advantage.

How a fancy sounding process illustrates the Pareto Principle.

When working with our clients, one of the very first thing we do is a reverse customer analysis. This allows us to find the “top 20% characteristics” of their customers.

You can do this for yourself, if you want:

Export your customer database into a common format like Excel. Using Google Earth or similar mapping software, import their addresses and map where each customer lives.

One of the many unique characteristics about the restaurant business is customers will come from all over the place. However, you’ll quickly notice that there is a small geopgraphic portion of your total “customer draw” area that produces 80% or more of your current customers.

For example, you might find that you’re attracting some customers from 15 miles away. But, upon further inspection, you’ll notice that 80% are coming from within a 3-mile radius from your store, or from a particular part of town 4 miles away.

Then, take that same database file and have a demographic analysis performed. (You can find services on line that will do this for you.) You will be able to determine income, age, home ownership status and other interesting characteristics that will help you further define who your true target market is.

You will immediately see trends that will be invaluable to you in running your business. You’ll notice surprising income trends, age groups and other defining facts about your customers.

This information moves from fascinating to immensely practical when you eliminate marketing to those who don’t fall into your 20% group and spend more of your time and budget capitalizing on those who are obviously attracted to you facility for whatever reason. Often, when we run this analysis we notice that most restaurants are wasting 75%+ of their marketing budget. In other words, they could cut their budget by a whopping 75% and only notice a very small decrease in response.

Three Evergreen Strategies to Use When Applying the Pareto Principle

While the really detailed, guerrilla marketing-style programs vary from market to market, there are a few evergreen marketing strategies that always seem to fall into the good 20% category.

Put bluntly, if you’re operating a restaurant in today’s age and not capitalizing on these items, you’re leaving untold fortunes to your competitors.

Internet Marketing Since its inception, the Internet has been used to connect people globally. Email, online forums, chat, etc. we have quickly become reliant on the Internet as an everyday communication device.

Over the past five years, LOCAL search has become much more relevant and proven. Which is exactly what needed to happen for restaurant operators to really benefit from Internet marketing since our best consumers are usually so localized.

To be successful at Internet marketing, you must master these three principles:

• Be seen by those searching for you online. This means being represented on the first page of major and local search engines when consumers search for restaurant in your local area.

• Attract traffic to a highly conversion oriented landing page. Most operators drive traffic (through their search engine rankings) to the homepage of their website. While this is better than not driving traffic to anything of yours, it is proven to be ineffective when compare to driving the traffic to a location specific landing page with a strong offer and several convenient methods of contacting your restaurant..

• Convert traffic into customers. All of this is worthless if the person going through the process doesn’t convert into a paying customer. Your conversion ratio should be better than 50%.

To do this, have a conversion friendly landing page created as an extension of your website and optimize it on popular search engines. Google obviously has this market cornered, but don’t ignore the other sites, their traffic can really be substantial too. Especially since many of your competitors will ignore them.

Database Marketing

Your existing customer database is ripe with opportunity to connect with your current customers, and get them to visit you more often, and spend more money when they do visit. (Don’t have a customer list yet? Then make it a point to start creating one this week… yeah, it’s that important to your success.)

Our rule of thumb that has proven to work best is to make certain you’re contacting your customer base at least monthly with an offer. I know it seems like a lot, but believe me, it works!

A word of warning on database marketing; do not abuse this privilege. The things you send your customers must be friendly, interesting and focus on THEIR needs, not yours. I’m sure you receive communications that really interest you and you look forward to getting. Keep that in mind when beginning your database marketing programs.

Integration Marketing

The last time you bought a new PC you experienced Integration Marketing first hand. Remember turning on your PC and taking a look at your desktop for the first time? And what do you see?

Free trial offers for ISP’s, Antivirus Software, etc. Already installed and just a few clicks away from being functional. You’re going to need these services anyway, so it’s awfully convenient that they’re already installed and ready to go.

In the restaurant business, the concept is the same. There are other companies, organizations and events in your market that can integrate your products into their offering:

• Hotels
• Local Schools and Colleges
• Local attractions
• Real Estate Agents
• Car Dealerships
• Community Events
• Sporting events

When a potential good customer visits one of these organizations, or participates in one of these events, they should be systematically be presented with an offer just for them. They can certainly refuse (just like some do with a new PC) but many won’t!

This reduces price shoppers and drastically increases the number of new customers you get from outside sources (integration partners).

Negotiate whatever commission or other arrangements you need to so your integration partners become excited about the program and the economics work for you.

I guarantee you won’t be disappointed in the results from these programs if you execute them properly.

Between these three evergreen strategies and capitalizing on the inequality within your customer base, 2013 just might be your best year ever.