Posts Tagged ‘affordable housing’

7 Steps to Success

November 10th, 2013 No comments

Want to advance your performance, or that of your team? Then you've come to the right place today!

All success is a matter of systems that are grounded in a set of principles. The proper principles are thus a foundation for any success system you may opt to pursue.

We have a number of secret and less than secret 'weapons' we use in our marketing, sales, management consulting work. There is nothing particularly new about the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People since Stephen Covey first published it, save the fact that it needs to be more broadly understood and applied. This is particularly true for organizations in our industry.

3d_man_with_check_mark-free-digital-photos-net--posted-mhpronews-.jpgLet's take a quick tour, in part courtesy of a summary from Wikipedia  – with some added emphasis of the 7 Habits – and you will see why these principles truly are 7 Steps to Success.

The 7 Habits

The book first introduces the concept of Paradigm Shiftand prepares the reader for a change in mindset. It helps the reader understand that there exists a different perspective, a viewpoint that may be different from his or her own and asserts that two people can see the same thing and yet differ with each other. Once the reader is prepared for this, it introduces the seven habits, in a proper order.

Each chapter is dedicated to one of the habits, which are represented by the following imperatives:brain-success-free-digital-photos-net--posted-mhpronews-.jpg


The First Three Habits surround moving from dependence to independence(i.e., self-mastery):

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive

Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions (and how they align with life's principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.

  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.

  • Habit 3: Put First Things First

A manager must manage his own person. Personally. And managers should implement activities that aim to reach the second habit. Covey says that rule two is the mental creation; rule three is the physical creation.Business_man_climbing_stairs._3d_rendered_illustration-free-digital-photos-net--posted-mhpronews-.jpg


The next three have to do with Interdependence (i.e., working with others):

  • Habit 4: Think Win-Win

Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a "win" for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had got his way.

  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving.

  • Habit 6: Synergize

Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone.

Continuous Improvement.

The final habit is that of continuous improvement in both the personal and interpersonal spheres of influence.

  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes exercise for physical renewal, prayer (meditation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to society for spiritual renewal.

cash-bag-wikicommons--posted-mhpronews-.jpgCovey explains the "Upward Spiral" model in the sharpening the saw section.

Through our conscience, along with meaningful and consistent progress, the spiral will result in growth, change, and constant improvement. In essence, one is always attempting to integrate and master the principles outlined in The 7 Habits at progressively higher levels at each iteration. Subsequent development on any habit will render a different experience and you will learn the principles with a deeper understanding.

The Upward Spiral model consists of three parts: learn, commit, do. According to Covey, one must be increasingly educating the conscience in order to grow and develop on the upward spiral. The idea of renewal by education will propel one along the path of personal freedom, security, wisdom, and power.

Applications for Manufactured Housing Professionals and Organizations

Let's start with the three parts of the Upward Spiral. Learn. Commit. Do.

In our exclusive interview with Barry Noffsinger from CU Factory Built Lending, Barry said the following, quoting verbatim:

In my view, we have a mainstream product being promoted by an extremely beautiful industry that sometimes suffers from low self-esteem.

With our quality and affordability we should be at the first thought of every stakeholder when it comes to affordable housing options. Instead, sometimes we say yes to the first person to ask us to the prom.

For example, I hear all the time that we need financial institutions to return “to the ‘90’s” and buy deeper. My question is why? Shouldn’t we learn from history?

According to Fair Isaac, 73% of the US population has a credit score over 650. Let’s all be innovative and creative in our own little corner to move our industry from “Boutique” to “Supercenter.””

> Take the first of the 7 Habits. Be pro-active! Take responsibility for whatever your current situation is professionally and as an organization.

> Next, Begin with the End in Mind, and – for example, in the case of financing – we think sustainable lending that benefits borrower, seller and lender then…

> …we are putting First Things First and are Thinking Win-Win. I had top people from three industry lenders at a lunch table at a recent event. The big round table had perhaps 8 others beside myself seated. I asked the lenders for the benefit of all about their losses on repossessions. All agreed that they are at 50% or higher and that this was one of the factors that caused higher rates for a personal property loans. That is not win-win, that is win-lose. It is one of the factors that limits lending in our industry.

Mutual Victories will Advance MH Lending

The takeaway for the above true story is that MH Communities and MH Retailers MUST become part of the profitable solution for lenders and consumers to exit successfully without taking a big hit. That exit has to be similar to the effectiveness of Realtors in the real estate market.

Mutual Victories will reward and attract more MH Homeowners

Once we synergize with lenders, we will attract more good credit and cash customers. Rates for chattel lending will be lower and will be more sustainable. That in turn will attract more lenders to our industry.

This is how 'think win-win' and 'beginning with the end in mind' results in huge mutual victory!

This isn't just a pious idea, it is a practical, profitable and proven principle. By Seeking first to Understand, and then to be Understood, along with Synergizing with lenders, we professionally enjoyed some remarkable successes in our industry during difficult times, and the lenders involved where thrilled too. Had that pattern caught fire then, let me flatly assert we would be selling many times more homes as an industry and would do so with more consumer satisfaction and acceptance than we currently have today.

Weaving Principles into Practice

Once a person understand the basic principles of success, it is time to weave those principles into practice. The best ideas that go in-implemented are like that great recipe that never gets used in the kitchen.

dartboard-success-free-digital-photos-net-posted-mhpronews-.jpgDuring my days owning/managing a Top 100 in the U.S. retail center, now as a publisher and industry consultant, applying such principles have been keys to all that we do. No baseball player bats 1000! But if you bat .300, you are already a star, so long as solid win-win principles underscore all that you do.

Get and read the book 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. Learn the principles. Line up the talent and expertise you need, because it is often required to advance.

You may find this weekend's Masthead blog post that shares an incredible success story worth your time too.

The reason for success stories is that real life success stories remind us that if they did it, you can too. And the reason for 7 Steps to Success is to give you one of the tools that will take you from where you are to where you are could be! Think Big! Day by day, by applying proven principles, you can do it. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for November and see the other new stories at too.

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach | |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: | | Office 863-213-4090

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Food Network: Kitchen Impossible

January 6th, 2013 No comments

For those of you who know the show, the actual title is Restaurant Impossible. Chef "Robert" comes in and takes a losing location and its staff, evaluates, takes charge, bosses people around and in 2 days has a money losing dump turned into a money making gem. Anytime I've walked in and my bride is watching the show, I confess it has drawn me in, because it's fascinating. But in my mind, what I see are not restaurants, but community or retail locations in our industry that need a turn-around.

I watched one man whose restaurant was a disaster call Robert's process, "tough love." $10,000 and two days (I'm guessing travel expenses are on top of that cost) transforms a failing restaurant's decor. "The buzz and excitement" from the customers who are wow'd at the transformation, improved food and service make it all worth while.

"If you own a failing restaurant, call us at…" Restaurant Impossible at Food Network, they proclaim. Some do, and they watch profits for owners and tips for staff shoot up.

Robert (left) photo credit Food Network

MH Community Impossible?

How many know (or have…) an "impossible" MHCommunity (or MH Retail Center)? Sales are flat or down. Vacancies are growing and residents are unhappy. Plus the location looks (bow wow) ruff, ruff?

Restaurant Stakeout?

Food Network's (FN) Restaurant Stakeout with Willie Degel is a similar concept to what Robert does. Degel sets hidden cameras and finds who has been doing (or not doing) what at a restaurant. But you may wonder, can you do similarly in an MH Community or retail center? Yes.

It is no joy to say that in working with some locations, I've found employee theft, fraud and abuse. It can happen anywhere, but seems more common when refurb work is being done. We've found invoices that had ballooned to three times the value of the refurb job. Do you want somebody pocketing your money?

I've also listened to staff say the most outrageous things, even knowing (because they were told up front) they might be recorded for later playback. The bane (and beauty) of habits are that if you have a bad habit, it reveals itself. If you have – or form – a good habit, that reveals itself too as you create the processes for lasting success.

48 hours?

We can't do turn-arounds in an MH location in 48 hours, because MHCs and MHRCs are far more challenging than a quick restaurant makeover. Often, you have to clean house and start over with an MH location's staff if they are unwilling to change (they don't do that in the broadcast TV shows above). But we have seen MHC and MHRC locations start the turn around in 48 hours; and we've seen in 48 days money losing locations start turning or growing profits.

Fear, Rules, Regulations

FN's Willie Degel says you don't run a charity, you run a business. You are giving people a job and opportunities. They have to be trained to follow the rules and regulations. Degel says staff have to 'fear' losing their job, or they will take over and run wild. His under cover cameras prove the points. He uses stop watches to time service. He has stealth customers test the staff. "An untrained and undisciplined staff" can put you out of business. But the reverse is true, a well trained staff usually feels better about themselves and their work, and they will make their owners money!

When MHCs have 250,000 – 500,000 vacancies…

In most MHC cases, there are no good reason for 250,000-500,000 vacancies in U.S., when the quality affordable housing is what Americans need! In a matter of days, you can start a location turnaround and in a matter of weeks, you can be making more money. Sales and satisfaction rises and those vexing vacancies vanish.

Got a failing location?

Have the resources and commitment to make the change? Showcasing actual results from border to border, we have done presentations at state associations that aren't reality TV, but that do show real life turn-around stories. Event attendees are busy making notes at those popular sessions.

Beyond profits, another real reward is that a good turn-around story often draws positive local media that is itself can be worth more that the turn-around investment.

Unlike some reality shows, we are not about embarrassing you on TV, but by working together – team work – you can go to the next level, see ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for January and see the

other new stories at too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500 or connect with me on Linkedin.


Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford


January 20th, 2012 No comments

I heard someone the other day say,”In business today, you can no longer be average, you have to be remarkable.”

It’s true, but maybe not in how you may initially think. What does “remarkable” mean? I looked it up. Among the words in the definition were great, extraordinary, striking, unusual, uncommon, exceptional, phenomenal, super, unique, wonderful and miraculous.
Wow. How can my business be all that? There are very few companies in this world that are or have develop products that are all that. Apple comes to mind. My iPhone and iPad have changed the way I live. I have the internet, my emails, my work documents and much more right in my pocket. I find this to be remarkable. But does our industry have the “game changing” forces that technology companies have?
We at think the answer to that is 'yes.' Manufactured Housing can be as life changing for someone seeking quality affordable housing as that smartphone can be for me or others.
So how do I or how does my business become remarkable? Well, think about the literal definition of remarkable. “Worth making a remark about.” Get people to think and talk about your product or service.
Back to Apple for a minute. People didn’t know that they needed an iPhone until Apple told them they did and then my friends, clients and co-workers told me I did. Then I got one, and I’ve told countless others and now you about it. That’s remarkable.
At the 2012 Louisville Show, there were some 80 exhibitors, in booths side by side, each with a different message that they hoped attendees would remember and talk about long after the show was over. To do this, each had to find a way to make their product or service remarkable.
Think about Apple, or McDonald's or any product or service that comes rapidly to mind. What do they have in common? Among other things, marketing and advertising! If you are a company that exhibits at a show or event, what are you doing to stay on people's minds after the show? Are you promoting yourself via a popular Business 2 Business site such as Are you making sure that the people that saw you at the Show will remember you after the show?
If you are marketing to consumers, are you using the latest methods? Are you attracting the most qualified buyers? If you have business development challenges you can't solve in house, are you seeking the solutions and expertise needed to solve them?
When you are marketing and advertising properly, it doesn't cost, it pays! Or as great automotive promoter, magnate and pioneer put it so well:
"A man who stops advertising to save money,
is like a man who stops the clock to save time."
– Henry Ford
Exposure, along with a message that resonates with your prospects is the key. Concepts, ideas, products that spread, Win. Sell it to the people who are listening, the people who care and they’ll tell their friends and colleagues. That’s how you become REMARKABLE! # #
post by
Jeff Templeton
Business Development and Advertising or
Innovation – Information – Inspiration for Industry Professionals
Office – 954-217-2571
Cell – 954-593-8897


Mad as Hell and Manufactured Housing? Why and what can you do about it?

March 21st, 2011 No comments
There's more than one kind of 'mad'

There's more than one kind of 'mad'

Since our own Tony Kovach wrote his blog post “‘Madder than Hell!’ and Manufactured Housing” it has sparked a lively debate from readers, mostly with the question, “What are we supposed to be ‘madder than hell’ about and what do you propose we do about it?”

The first question is “What are we supposed to be madder than hell about?”

How about HUD, “for their failure to comply with the good laws that Congress has put in place for the industry and its consumers…”?

In it’s most recent Washington Update, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) points out three important areas in which HUD has failed the industry and it’s consumers beginning with the need for chattel financing to be included in the FHA Title 1 Program, through proposed sprinkler standards to HUD clamping a tighter grip on the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) just to name a few.

Do a little exploring of articles and blog posts (and the attached comments) here at and you’ll have a pretty good idea of just what should make you “madder than hell.” Read and comment on the Daily Business News posts and you’ll see plenty more. You’ll also see a lot of good things going on with and in the industry – more on that later.

The second question is “What are we supposed to do about it?”

As we’ve watched the events of past few weeks unfold in North Africa and the Middle East, it has been the power of people that ruled the day. Yes, they have often been subjected to savage crackdown to the shame of their leaders, but they have removed tyrants in Egypt and Tunisia, threaten to topple more autocrats or force compromise in other countries and even have the Communist Party leadership in Beijing looking over their shoulders.

A huge part of those movements has been the peaceful motivation of large numbers of people in those countries to express their anger at conditions and their lack of a voice in their future. And they have relied extensively on New Media, such as Twitter and Facebook to communicate not just the when and where’s of demonstrations, but also to spread their ideas of what should be done to affect change.

That is just what this industry needs to snap out of the lethargic state it has fallen into and to make it’s will known to the Administration, Congress, state legislators and anyone in position to do something about it.

The public has to made aware of the threat to real, unsubsidized affordable housing that the depression of the Manufactured Housing industry represents. If we can motivate ourselves and motivate the masses with the idea that real American-made affordable housing in the U.S. is under threat of extinction, I believe they will respond.

A by-product of “popular engagement” would be that large numbers of the industry’s future market would be made aware of the high-quality, affordable housing opportunity that Manufactured Housing offers.

How would we do this?

How do you move a mountain? One shovel at a time. It takes an effort to make a difference. But we can begin right now. The tools provided by the proliferation of Social Media is not just for starting revolutions in far off lands.

If we truly want to engage the public in a battle for survival of the industry in a manner that the “powers that be” will observe and understand, we need to put aside luddite suspicions and join the places where our customers can be found and our leaders take notice. In other words:

and to a lesser extent, LinkedIn and Tumblr.

You’ll notice I’ve linked to every one of them. It’s time to put Social Media to work for us. Here’s what you do:

Go to each of the four main sites: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. Signup for an account. In the case of Facebook, you may want to start a “fan page” for your business once you have established a personal account.


Facebook: Friend your customers, friend your friends, friend anyone you know online that has a Facebook account. Friend me. Go the the fan page and click the “Like” button. Aside from personal news, be sure to post everything positive that you or your business does or comes in contact with. Link to every article and blog post (start with this one) you like at and every positive MH news story you run across on news and information sites as well as industry sites such as manufacturers and associations. Post pictures of new homes you install or homes you have for sale. Take every opportunity you can find to link back to your own website. Remember, you don’t sell houses on Facebook – you present yourself and your product in a positive light, build relationships and then sell them when they are ready.

Twitter: Once your Twitter account is established, go to and set up an account there. Set it to automatically follow those who follow you. To see how that works, follow me and on Twitter and we will automatically follow you. Whenever you are on an MH website that has a Twitter button, follow them. And post (tweet) with links back to articles on or anywhere else positive information about Manufactured Housing is available. Tag every tweet (post) with “#mfdhousing” to help the world find our tweets.

YouTube: Placing videos on YouTube is a great way to get noticed. But even if you are not a budding James Cameron, you should join YouTube and search for videos that shed positive light on the industry, it’s leaders and it’s products. Subscribe to them on YouTube, comment on and rate their videos and link to their videos from your Facebook and Twitter account. If you do post video, make sure you tag it with keywords that indicate the industry, the manufacturer, your dealership or community and your and surrounding locales. And be sure to subscribe to the YouTube Channel.

Flickr: Similar to YouTube, but mostly for still images. Don’t just post photos of your family trip to see the World’s Largest Ball of Twine. Post photos of your homes, your retail center, your community, etc. etc. Flickr photos rank surprisingly well in Search Engines for the keywords they are tagged with. Hint: Watermark them with your business and website URL and release them to Creative Commons and let others spread the word for you. There’s a real shortage of quality MH photos for use by websites like ours – take advantage of that.

What we have here folks, is the makings of a revolution. Don’t let it slip through your fingers. Yeah, it entails a little bit of work, but it can be real fun, too.

And just think, in our revolution you don’t have to face down guns and thugs in the streets of Cairo, Tunis or Manama. But the change you can bring could be phenomenal.

As soon as I can, I’ll make some short videos that show you how to do all of this stuff. Just don’t be afraid of it. It’s simple once you get the hang of it.