As I write this, I’m thinking about two holidays. The first is Thanksgiving and the second is New Years. While it may seem like I skipped Christmas, the one in the middle, I’m sure you’re ready to move on from Christmas by now, and I don’t need to add my two cents.
Thanksgiving is a holiday we all should give more thought to other than just the fact that it’s one day before Black Friday. It really is a good time to stop and reflect on all that we have and all for which we should be thankful.
Richard Flint is a well-known convention speaker who’s appeared at several Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) conventions. In addition to his speaking, he produces a daily online thought which he calls “The Morning Minute.”
Each month, he has a theme. In November, he appropriately focused on being thankful. Through this series of daily thoughts, he really makes it clear that we all have a great deal for which to be thankful. We need to stop and think of all of the people on earth and how fortunate we are to live in the U.S. Every one of us within this country has our flaws and shortcomings. However, we have ample opportunities to move our lives forward. To quote one of Flint’s favorite statements: “You are in your life where you want to be.” In other words, your life takes the path you choose, so if you want more from your life, then you have to choose to make the effort to achieve more from your life. In the meantime, be thankful that you have that opportunity.
Each year, right after Thanksgiving, I find myself thinking about the new year ahead, and that’s why the second holiday I am thinking of now is New Year’s Day. It’s time for those of us in business to start planning for the year ahead. Hopefully, you’ve already been giving some thought to how you see the year ahead, and if you haven’t already, now’s the time to sit down with paper and pencil (or more likely today, a computer and keyboard) and begin putting these thoughts on paper.
There are three main areas in which you should be concentrating your planning.
The first, of course, is the financial business. About a year ago, we discussed some ideas regarding budgeting and planning the financial side of your business. It’s time to revisit those documents again. If you missed those and would like to have a copy sent to you just email at the address listed next to my photo above.
The second part is planning: Review all of our people resources and make sure we have the proper people in place to accomplish our financial goals. This means making sure you have the proper sales personnel capable of accomplishing the sales goals you have set. Make sure that you have the proper supervisory people in place to carry out the work sold by your sales personnel. And, of course, you need to be comfortable that you have the right people in place to provide high-quality service and installations that your customers expect. Getting the proper people in these positions is an action that needs to be done now. Personnel decisions are not the kind you want to make when you are slammed with business. Use this time to make sure you’re in the right position from a staffing standpoint.
Once you’ve set your financial goals, done your budgeting, and put the right people in the right positions, the third step is to review your company’s systems to make sure that the systems, policies, and procedures you’ve developed are capable of helping you reach your goals. The reason you make sure you have the personnel in place first is so those people can help you make sure that your systems are correct. There is no doubt that our businesses are more complex today than they’ve ever been. Just think of furnaces for a minute. Only a few years ago, each manufacturer typically had an 80 percent furnace and a 90 percent-plus furnace and that was it. Today, each manufacturer has maybe eight to 10 different furnace models with differing features. You have to have the systems in place to make sure you sell, purchase, and install all of the right pieces, and this requires good systems.
Just like being thankful should be more important than Black Friday, planning for the New Year should be much more important to you than partying on New Year’s Eve. Happy holidays, everyone!
Publication date: 12/28/2015