A new year has officially begun. Don’t make the most common mistake in business by companies and set yourself up for just an average year.

You should review your 2017 budget. Looking back, did you achieve what you set out to attain at the beginning of 2017? When you wrote down your 2017 budget, was it just a hope and a dream? Or, did you make your budget, design a plan to achieve it, and make the decision to work for it?

Every so often, I search for the definition of a word. This ensures everything I’m communicating with my team is crystal clear. I recently looked up the word, “intentional,” which means that something is done in a way that is planned or intended. Ask yourself, in 2017, was everything that happened within your business intentional? I could sit back and say that we had the best year ever, pat myself and my team on the back, and say “good job, let’s do it again this year,” but if you don’t know why it happened, there is no way to repeat it.

I am spending a lot of time this month reviewing what happened at Hiller PHCE last year. We had the best year in history, and I want to know exactly how and why. I want to look at the struggles we experienced, so I can devise a plan on how to overcome these challenges in 2018 and beyond. I also want to review our achievements to know exactly what we did, so we can ensure we repeat those procedures. 

I’m reviewing my financials from 12 branches and a total of 63 departments line-by-line. What I am looking for is, where did we meet or miss our budget, and why? Was 2017 our best year in history because we managed the business better? Or was it luck?

I discovered our material cost for the company was up .5 percent, but as I continued to dig a little deeper, I found that, in HVAC service, it was up 4.5 percent. This is a big problem. I am working with our purchasing department to figure out why. We are comparing prices from last year to this year. Are we charging the right amount for the parts? Do we have a theft problem?

Equipment cost is down 1 percent, which tells me our managers did a reasonable job negotiating. Labor cost was down 2 percent company-wide, so, again, this leads me to the conclusion that we have good management. Our vehicle fuel was down .5 percent, which I attribute to just being lucky; we have no control over the cost of fuel. If fuel prices were up, management would need to raise our prices or increase our service fee to account for the rising cost of fuel. A .5 percent difference may not seem like a lot, but it equals over $400,000 for me. Every percentage point is close to one million dollars in my business. These are just a few examples of what I am evaluating in my year-end review.

Are we intentional in what we are getting out of our business? Did we come up with a good solid plan, lay out what was expected of our team, and manage to those expectations? Or, are we allowing our business to control us and just hoping we get lucky in 2018?

Make your budget, make your plan, and make the decision that nothing is going to stop you from achieving what you want this year.

Be intentional in 2018. 

Publication date: 1/15/2018