Tom Merriott
Tom Merriott

“Hey, it’s almost spring. I wonder what we are going to do wrong this time.” That might seem a little extreme, but as service businesses we tend to get into a cycle of repeating mistakes. Year after year, usually within weeks of the last time, we tend to have the same exact problems. So the first question you need to ask yourself is, “What didn’t go well last year?”

I suggest making a list of the things that went sideways in your business during the upcoming period of time:

• Did you have any scheduling issues like a large group of employees wanting to take a vacation at the same time?

• How about staffing?

• Do you need some extra staff to handle the workload during the upcoming season?

• Are there any local events that influence calls and/or traffic?

• What do you think the weather is going to do to you this time?

• How many total maintenance calls do you have to run and do you have the time and resources to complete that task?

Once that has been written down, try and plan your way out of at least some of the problems. The goal here is to look at the things that weren’t so great over the past year and try to improve upon past performance.

Here are some tips for making this exercise successful:

• Don’t stop with the next season. Try to plan out the rest of your year this way.

• Get your entire team involved. Ask them what worked and what didn’t and how they think you could improve.

• Never stop trying to get better.The moment you stop moving forward, you are losing ground to your competition. Make not repeating past mistakes a priority in your company.