Craft a plan of action, and you, too, can see results in seven days.

Have you seen the TV program “Extreme Makeover - Home Edition”? It airs on Sunday nights on ABC. Carpenter Ty Pennington and his design team descend on a down-and-out family. Due to some twist of fate or circumstance, this family's home is a total wreck. (Picture Charlie's home from the bookCharlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl.) Tears flow, hugs happen and the family takes off for Disneyland. They enjoy a week of vacation, while the design team tears down the old and rebuilds a new home.

Now, as a plumber's wife, I wonder how they pull off a construction project of this magnitude in one week. Is there a storage shed somewhere overstuffed with the leftover household items? Is the paint dry? Are the hot and cold faucets on the right sides of the tub? You know how many details there are in a major construction job.

Still, I love this show! I love that they even try to do the project in seven days. I love that the show gives a hand up to a family in need. I especially love the fresh start. From here on, things are going to be different and better for the family. That's the hope that we hang on to as “Desperate Housewives” takes over the airwaves at 9 o'clock Sunday evening.

You've Been Selected!

Are you in need of a fresh start? Today, I reviewed financial reports from a contractor who is down-and-going-out. As we dug through the financials, we confronted the nasty truth: The company is a wreck. The reports are not current or accurate, and the financial foundation is weak. A major money leak has gone on too long without getting fixed. There is mold all over under-performing family members. And, the owner is working round the clock to make ends meet.

Sound familiar?

Wouldn't it be cool if you helped yourself to an Extreme Makeover - Contracting Company Edition?

How would you do it? Start with a plan.

Now, if you have a plan already, use it. Dust off the one you showed to the bank 100 years ago and start with that. If you don't have a plan, try this:

1. Get a three ring binder. You can get a nice leather one at Office Depot for about 30 bucks. Or, use one of your kids' sixth-grade leftovers. Make sure it is in good, clean condition. Your best work is going in it. This binder is going to house your business plan. Call it your “Biz Plan Binder.”

2. Get a set of tabs that fit into your “Biz Plan Binder.” Get the customizable, write-on kind with eight tabs in the set. Tab up your binder like this:

Setting Sight - What does it look like when you're done? How much in sales? How many employees? Number of customers served? What services will you offer? What will you do different and better from the competition? This tab of your “Biz Plan Binder” houses the pages that describe your ideal business, your target market, your goals and how this business serves you, your family, your team and your customers.

Building The Team - Who does what? Why, how and when? Use this section to store your organizational chart and position descriptions. Keep your recruiting activities organized here.

Making Money - Keep a current copy of your financials in this section. Are your books a mess? Craft an action plan for getting to KFP - a known financial position. Build a budget and set goals, in dollars and percentages for sales and expenses at your new and improved company. Get real about your selling price. Crunch the numbers - and commit to implementing higher prices. Which leads us to …

Getting It Sold - If you are going to charge more (and, face it, cutting costs won't make up for years of financial losses), you are going to have to be more - be faster, nicer, cleaner, more organized, professional, timely and loving. And you will need to discover better ways to communicate the value of your service to customers and prospective customers. Craft an action plan for improving your sales skills. Store your marketing plan under this tab in your “Biz Plan Binder.”

Getting It Done - As you develop your procedures and sure-fire systems for delivering on your promises, store copies of your procedures under this tab. Create a top projects list and assign projects to team members. Be sure to include the due dates. Note the employees who rise to the seven-day Extreme Makeover Challenge. These are folks you want on your team. (Refer to the article I wrote in last month's PM for a simple way to tackle any project bite by bite.)

Making Sure - Are you on the right track? Are you delivering what people want? Is this working? Ride along with your field team. Sit side-by-side with your inside team. Ask your customers to give you feedback: What's working? What needs to be made over? Organize your “Making Sure” activities in this tab of your binder.

Sure, you could keep all this information on your computer. Do it! However, a nice, printed, portable binder is helpful for showing others where you are going and how you are going to get there.

Also, feel free to “plus” my suggestions. These tabs are one way to organize your plan. Got another approach? Terrific. Use it!

Now, find a mirror. Look yourself in the eyes and tell yourself, “You're fired. There is a new sheriff in town. It's me - extremely made over.”

Then, walk into your office with the as-yet-empty “Biz Plan Binder” under your arm. Go to your computer and create a recurring appointment in Outlook. For the next seven days, from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., you are going to work on your plan. You are going to fatten up that binder with your plan.

From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., you are going to implement that plan. You are going to tear down the wrecked business and build a brand new, profitable one. Your new business is going to get better, or you are going to fire yourself for good. In one week, you could make that decision.

Go, go, go for seven days and nights! Work with your team and make it happen.

Ready to Make More MONEY? Start with a PLAN! Visit and download your FREE gift - customizable templates for setting up your Biz Plan Binder. Easy!