Like most of the U.S. population, I am not real good at keeping New Year’s resolutions. I have made my fair share over the years. I have tackled everything from weight loss to being a more patient person. Inevitably, however, as the calendar changes to February, I still have my John Goodman-like body and I’m still screaming at the shopper in front of me who has brought 21 items to the 15-items-or-less express checkout line at Kroger.

This year, it has finally occurred to me that I am not good at improving myself, but rather I shine at telling other people how to improve themselves. Perhaps you know a person like me.

So, with that in mind, here are a few HVAC resolutions you might want to consider tackling in 2014:

• Take a serious look at home-performance contracting. I have talked with a lot of contractors who are making a lot of money in this area. What started off as a buzzword has proven that it has legs. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) is doing a great job providing training in this area. There are multiple ways to skin this cat, and you certainly should start gathering information to see what works for your company.

• If you don’t know what SEO stands for, start figuring it out or hire someone who knows. Search engine optimization (SEO) is here to stay and will become even more prevalent in 2014. Customers are not turning to the Yellow Pages to find HVAC contractors, they are turning to Google.

Go to a search engine and type in the city your business covers and HVAC contractors. Did your name come up? If not, you must put in some work to make sure your company appears near the top of the list. If it did come up, you must do whatever it takes to keep it there as Google is constantly changing the rules. Oh, and did I tell you they never tell you what the rules are?

By the way, is your website optimized for mobile use? In this issue, marketer Court Cunningham writes that by 2015 searching locally through mobile mediums is expected to exceed desktop searches for local business information. You might want to use 2014 as a year of preparation.

• Make sure your voice is heard on all legislative items. Too many people just deal with every regulation and tax the government throws at them. Get involved in the process, both on a local and national level.

On the national level, the HVAC associations have really done a great job organizing lobbying days in Washington, D.C., ACCA, the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), and the Heating, Air-conditioning, Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) each host events at the Capitol that are well attended by their members. If you are a member of one of these associations, get involved.

I would also urge you to plug into the local level. This is sometimes forgotten by people, yet this is often where small businesses have the most influence. Any politician will want to hear the thoughts of a local businessperson who employs people in his or her jurisdiction.

I don’t have to tell you that these politicians often know nothing about what you do for a living. Educate them and make them realize how a legislative item they support will affect you and your peers.

As always, you can keep up with these issues in the pages of this magazine.

• I am sure you have heard this 1,000 times before, but beef up your social media presence. You do not need to be on every medium, but the ones you believe work for you should be highly populated.

Well, there. I, for one, feel a lot better without any expectations of keeping up with my own resolutions this year. Good luck to everyone in the upcoming year. For your sake, I hope the winter stays cold and the summer is sweltering.

Publication date: 1/20/2014 

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