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The first year I was in business, I built one house, framed a second, and completed two small remodeling jobs. Off to what I thought was a great start, I was anxious to see how I compared with others in the area who were doing the same kind of work on the same scale. So I asked a builder friend if he'd had a good year. "Business is great," he told me. "I did over $100,000 last year." When I asked other builders the same question, I got similar answers. I soon realized that among small builders, the primary measure of success was total volume of work. "Bigger is better" was the predominant business philosophy: The more