WHEN I WAS SWORN IN AS PRESIDENT, I PLEDGED that the NAHB would focus this year on doing what it does best—and do it better than ever before. We want to be our members' best business partner and an ally who provides valuable services that give members a competitive edge in a complex and demanding industry.

For that reason, expanding the NAHB's 20 Clubs and making this valuable service available to even more members will be a priority this year. Instituted about a decade ago, the NAHB's 20 Clubs are unique networking and educational opportunities comprised of no more than 20 similar housing professionals from noncompeting markets. Club members meet several times a year to share and compare information, look for trouble spots, and offer each other advice on how to increase profits and improve their performance. A top benefit noted by 20 Club members is the annual review of each company's financial results. The 20 Clubs have expanded to include a range of industry constituencies, including remodelers and members focusing on specialties such as marketing.

The 20 Clubs are carefully assembled by the NAHB staff based on business profiles submitted by prospective members. Staff members also deal with meeting logistics and other administrative tasks, leaving club members free to focus on their business concerns. Club participants must be NAHB members in good standing who complete at least one project per year, and they must be the owner, principal, or president of their company. Since all 20 Club members sign confidentiality agreements and are from different markets, members don't compete with each other and are free to discuss pressing business issues. They serve as a board of directors and learn from one another's successes and mistakes and help each other on a wide range of concerns.

Essentially, the 20 Clubs provide members with their own private consulting team and the opportunity to experience the sort of open discussion they can't have with the builder down the street. The 20 Clubs also provide members with the opportunity to:

  • Get advice on how to control costs and increase margins;
  • See how different management structures and styles perform in the real world;
  • Share ideas;
  • Get benchmarks by comparing information with peers in the industry;
  • Discuss how to improve customer service and marketing strategies;
  • Identify new trends;
  • Learn about new business opportunities and how to profit from them;
  • Have ongoing access to the expertise and experience of other members.
  • The 20 Clubs are such a great tool for members we're expanding the program beyond the 47 clubs currently in operation—we plan to add at least 25 new clubs this year.

    Just as every house needs a firm foundation, every business leader needs access to the latest industry information and strategic opportunities. The NAHB and the 20 Clubs provide that support. I urge you to consider taking advantage of this great service. You can find more details at www.nahb.org/20clubs or call Cheryl Caulfield, assistant staff vice president, at 800-368-5242, ext. 8110.

    Dave Wilson
    President, NAHB, Washington, D.C.