business approach

Quality Don’t Come Easy
'During the past few years,' wrote Brian Van Bower to open his Aqua Culture column in March 2001, 'I've come to the stark realization that there are too few quality craftspeople in most geographical areas of our country.  And it's not just the watershaping trades:  The same holds true for most areas of the greater construction industry as well.'   'The hard reality is that, for many people in the trades, it's easier to do three ordinary jobs in a week than it is to do one challenging project over a month.  I'm starting to think that
Operating on a Higher Level
Over and over at seminars and trade shows, watershapers ask me three distinct but interrelated questions:  "How do you get into the high-end market?" and "How do you deal with wealthy customers?" and "How do you handle those kinds of jobs?" The short answer to all of them is that I've set myself up for it and am prepared to tackle these projects and clients as they come.  To me, it's as natural as breathing.   The deeper answer is much more complicated, obviously, and has to do with my understanding that working with upper echelon clients means accommodating an entire range of issues that
Greater Expectations
Change can be both exciting and terrifying.  In my experience, the biggest changes often come with the potential for tremendous rewards, but also with significant risk. During the past two years, such change has come for our company in the form of an all-encompassing transformation that has involved every aspect of the way we do business.   We've gone from trying to mass-produce affordable swimming pools and hardscape designs (and fighting for every dime we made along the way) to building only high-end, custom projects where we never compromise on quality - and make generous
Ready, Set, Goal
"Without goals, you become what you were.  With goals, you become what you wish."                                 -- James Fadiman As I've grown in my personal life and as a businessperson, I've come to recognize a powerful relationship between basic axioms (such as the one just above from James Fadiman) and the setting of my own goals. To paraphrase Mr. Webster, an axiom is a self-evident truth or proposition.  Many are quite familiar, so much so that phrases including "Honesty is the best policy" or "Nothing
Pride, Not Pretense
There's an important point about this magazine that I'd like to clarify:  A small number of readers have commented that because this magazine tends to