Going from “start” to “profitable” is never an easy task, no matter what the market conditions look like. But for a homebuilder starting out a business amid the turmoil of the housing market throughout the past few years, the task can be quite difficult—but not impossible.

Greg Rose found himself out of a job in late 2009 after being laid off by a production building company. However, this veteran of the homebuilding market took the opportunity to launch his own firm in the spring of 2010, KF Walter Homes, www.kfwalterhomes.com, West Chicago, Ill. Despite market trends (and maybe a few naysayers) that would have suggested otherwise, Rose had a vision for how to thrive amid the bleak market.

Rose knew he had to keep his processes lean, but also combine that with a personal touch to provide the level of service expected by custom home clients. At the same time his plan was to stay small, learning from the missteps of other builders that tended to get too big, too fast. With a target of six starts a year, he has been building his processes and systems around that goal. Of course, technology has become a powerful tool for helping such a cause.

Overall, he knew that he needed a well-planned sales process and an efficient operation so one person could manage every aspect of multiple custom homes. The benefit of starting a new company is that you do not have to reengineer a lot of legacy processes. Instead, the company set it up the way it envisioned from day one, with a goal of helping both clients and the new company.

This is where technology stepped in, helping provide a Web-based approach to managing selections, scheduling, and client communication to help the company stay lean while emphasizing close customer interaction. The online approach, via Co-Construct.com, www.co-construct.com, Crozet, Va., gives a professional, up-to-date image from the outset and lets prospects know they will have instant access to information about their new home.

Thus far, this one-man operation has already sold five homes in less than a year of operation. In fact, KF Walter Homes was on hand at the Constructech Vision Awards just outside Chicago, Ill., last week to receive a gold award for its efforts. This goes to show you that good vision, executed through the use of efficient technology, can make for good business in any market.

In today’s market we continue to see products taking aim at improving the processes of the custom builder. Alongside Co-construct.com, technology from BuilderTREND Solutions,www.buildertrend.com, Omaha, Neb., is focused on providing builders in this market segment with online collaboration and communication in such areas as scheduling, selections, and options management, to name a few. Also, companies like TopBuilder Solutions, www.topbuildersolutions.com, Houston, Texas, are making a play to provide sales and CRM (customer-relationship management) solutions for this segment of the market.

Today, technology is available to homebuilders and remodelers that can help them launch or improve new services. Rather than struggling with the high costs and complex processes of more comprehensive software packages, solutions tailored for the small builder can provide a perfect fit.