Business Articles - Money Management

Use Cold Weather Months to Heat Up Next Year's Performance

As we enter the New Year, what better time could there be to reflect on the business season that just passed and take stock of your performance. Was it a successful year or a disappointing one? And, regardless of which kind of year you had, what could you do to improve upon everything for this year?

To do better, it is important to learn from your mistakes. But, to learn from them, you first have to identify them. This can be accomplished by taking a systematic approach to evaluating your past season performance - simply pause and reflect upon all facets of your business, determine what worked and what didn't, identify the strong points and weak points of your operation (and how to use them), then come up with an effective plan of action.

Here are just some of the questions you can ask yourself (and, if appropriate, ask your staff) to determine where you stand:

* Did my business grow this past season?
* Did the market grow in my area?
* Were calls returned in a timely manner?
* What was my "batting average" (sales made per sales presentations given)?
* Was I happy with the service I gave?
* Did I receive good service from my suppliers? From my manufacturers?
* Would better equipment save time/money?
* Do we need more employees?
* Do we need fewer employees?
* What are my company's strengths?
* Any obvious weaknesses?
* How can I use my strengths to further my business? How can I shore up my weaknesses?
* What can I do differently to increase sales? How about productivity? Profit?
* What are the main things I can work on that will have the most impact on my bottom line?
* How can I prioritize my action plan?

Needless to say, this list is only a partial one. Consider it a thought starter and see what other questions you can come up with to improve your operation. Once you have the answers, sit down and analyze where you did well, where you need improvement and what action needs to be taken to sow the seeds for next season.

Taking care of your business is just like taking care of your landscape. The steps you take in the fall and winter have a great deal to do with whether next spring and summer will produce a bloom...or a bust.

by Hunter Industries

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