My company has built custom homes in Washington state's San Juan Islands since 1989. It's a family business: My wife runs the office and takes care of customer service and interior design, and I design homes and manage the construction.

We have no employees, which has always put a brake on our ability to grow the business. Although we could have handled extra design and client work, the myriad details and people that have to be managed for each project — everything from scheduling subs to the inevitable quality-control problems that have to be solved — meant that we could...

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