Like so many builders in the early 2000’s Jeff Lightfoot, owner of Advantage Services Construction, Inc in Portland, owned a booming company. Then, shortly after the 2008 recession, Lightfoot, like so many of his colleagues experienced a rapid decline.
“I had been so fortunate,” said Lightfoot. “My business since the late 1970’s had always been referrals and I had never had to do a lot of marketing or sales,” he added. “I really wasn’t accustomed to that side of my business, but suddenly the calls weren’t coming in as much.”
Lightfoot, like so many others in the industry, was faced with the dilemma of starting over, and joined several networking and leads groups as a first step in connecting in new ways to grow his business.
“It was in one of these groups that I first heard about the small business classes offered by the Small Business Development Center at Clackamas Community College,” explained Lightfoot. “Initially I was a little hesitant, but now I just can’t imagine if I hadn’t taken these courses. I am a student.”
“One of the best parts of utilizing the classes is the ability to join in with people like Robert Sherk who visualize your business from a different perspective,” said Lightfoot. “We have been able to create strategies for my business such as value propositions and niches in my industry.”
This ability to create vision has not only helped grow Advantage Services Construction, but Lightfoot recently completed a home building project that won him the prestigious Green Homebuilder of the Year award for 2014, and helped him find a niche in the building market.
“I have been in the industry for a long time and always appreciated the value of building with sustainability and with an environmentally conscious appeal,” said Lightfoot. “In today’s world, buildings consume about 60 percent of our energy and there is a way to reduce this significantly when building homes from efficient lighting, solar power, water collection processes and more.”
This minimalist/high performance housing niche is where Lightfoot will focus his marketing as well. “Before the classes, I never knew how to do business marketing and advertising. They have helped set me up with consultants to maximize my website traffic and get up to date with technology. It’s a work smarter, but not harder mentality on growing my company,” explained Lightfoot. “For anyone in a similar situation as mine,” he said. “At the very least, meet with these people to see what they can offer.”