The ball has dropped in Times Square and Dick Clark is beginning his 364-day vacation. All this can only mean one thing: time for those New Year’s resolutions.

Now I realize that people are reading this article in late January and those resolutions that you proclaimed so loudly three weeks ago are barely a faint memory. I don’t like to brag (that is what people who like to brag say right before they start to brag), but I have stuck with my New Year’s resolution this year. However, mine was to eat healthy and lose weight, and now I find myself in a great food city like Chicago with more cocktail and dinner parties on my schedule than Carnie Wilson. If I don’t need a seat belt extender on the flight home to Detroit, it will be a miracle.

This is also a good time to come up with some New Year’s resolutions for your business. As you are swamped by the day-to-day activities involved in running a business, it can obviously be difficult to find time to step back and access what you can improve on and develop a plan to do just that. But it is an important part of making sure your company is moving in the right direction and what better time to do it than the beginning of the year.

So let me help. I am very good at telling others what they need to do to improve themselves. My wife loves that about me. Here are a few HVAC business resolutions to either pick from or get your mind thinking about others:

• Beef up your social media presence. It is time to jump into social media with both feet instead of just sticking a toe in the shallow end. I admit that I have not always been the first one to embrace new technology. Back in the day I thought computers were a fad that would go the way of the DustBuster. It seems like I was wrong and I am attempting to get better.

It also seems like social media is here to stay. It is time to get out in front of your customers and prospective customers in places like Facebook and Twitter. And if every member of your sales department does not have a LinkedIn profile, you are really doing your business a disservice. Remember, as you participate in social media, don’t just give your sales pitch but make it a conversation.

• Make your business a great place to work. The NEWS has highlighted four of the best HVAC companies to work for in this issue starting on page 16. These companies are doing the little things like investing in their employees by financing tons of training, having an open-book policy where employees can look at the financials, and arranging schedules to avoid burnout and downtime.

At a recent local ACCA meeting I attended, I heard a contractor make an interesting comment. He contended that there was not an issue of a lack of quality individuals to fill the HVAC trade, but rather a lack of quality companies that would entice quality individuals to be a part of this industry. Make sure you are one of those quality companies by making your business a great place to work.

• Promote the HVAC trade. Piggybacking on that last resolution, it is no secret that the HVAC trade needs more quality young talent. Make sure you are doing your part by working with local trade schools, speaking at high school career days, and making your pitch at local job fairs.

In addition to promoting the industry, you will be promoting your own business. And hopefully when these highly qualified technicians graduate from their respective schools, they will remember your business and apply for a job.

Now I realize a lot of contractors are doing some or all of these. And I congratulate those that are; it really is impressive. However, there are more than a few that are not doing any of these. I would suggest you give at least one a shot and see where you are come the end of the year. In the meantime, say hello if you see me eating some deep-dish pizza near Michigan Avenue.

Publication date: 01/23/2012