Recently, I attended a conference call with the Hanley Wood e-Media Division to hear about some of its initiatives for 2007. The plans are impressive. Among other things, Hanley Wood is planning Webinars, PDA-compatible Web sites, an updated news-delivery service and a system that allows construction superintendents to access information on their PDAs.

Hanley Wood — the firm that owns Pool & Spa News — takes pride in being fast, smart and competitive. It has a knack for placing itself right at the sweet spot of any given curve. Companies that travel too far ahead of the pack end up spending time and money paving the way for everyone else. Those that stay behind lose out on valuable opportunities. Hanley Wood understands when and how to take advantage of new ideas to see the best possible return on investment.

That’s one of the reasons why, in just a few short years, Hanley Wood has grown to be the sixth largest business-to-business media company in the nation.

So what does this have to do with our Top 50 Builder Issue? It’s that kind of aggressiveness, creativity and leadership which guides these companies to rise above the competition, and be included in our elite group of builders.

That’s why we focused this issue on the initiatives and key decisions that have helped these companies grow. In these pages, you will learn how one builder (No. 30) uses multiple toll-free phone numbers to gauge the effectiveness of its advertising. Another firm (No. 17) is embarking upon a certification process that will enable it to claim a title rarely held by pool contractors. A third (No. 39) has appointed a liaison between the customer and the construction crew to facilitate communication, and mediate concerns.

I hope these, and the other ideas in these pages, will inspire you to become faster, smarter and more competitive.

Erika Taylor
Erika Taylor