New Year’s Better Business Resolutions

Scott Casabona / February 2015

I hope your 2015 is off to a prosperous start. I, like many of you, am looking forward to an improving economy, an uptick in construction activity and new, unique opportunities in the year ahead. I’ve never been big on making New Year’s resolutions, but this year I decided to compile a few and set some goals for 2015. I purposely kept the list short so I stay focused.
    
Resolution #1: Fire at least one customer this year. I’m sure you’ve all heard the adage that 20 percent of your customers take up 80 percent of your time. We all have customers for whom we work and cannot make a profit. It could be the way they run their jobs; it could be their staff, or the type of projects they pursue. For whatever reason, these customers are dragging you down and wasting your time and resources. As hard as it is to admit, you might be better off without them and their non-profitable work.
    
Resolution #2: Find at least one new costumer to replace the one I fired. We work in an industry where relationships still matter. It takes time, energy and effort to cultivate these relationships and to win the confidence of a new customer. In order to grow and expand your business, you need to grow and expand your customer base. You must dedicate the appropriate amount of time to this task.
    
Resolution #3: Spend more time with existing customers. Your best customers are the ones who run efficient jobs, create an environment where you can be productive and profitable, pay on time and treat you fairly and ethically. These are also the customers you have to worry about the least and, consequently, you run the risk of taking them for granted. It takes more effort to find a new good customer than to retain an existing one, so it’s important you continue to meet or exceed the expectations of your existing customer base.
    
Resolution #4: Delegate more of my day-to-day responsibilities so I can focus on the first three resolutions. It’s easy to fall into the trap of micromanaging every little aspect of your company. I’m as guilty of this as anyone, even though I know my time could be better spent on strategic initiatives rather than operational issues.
    
So there you have it, four simple resolutions that are sure to consume a great amount of my time this coming year. Maybe it would be easier to lose a few pounds or give up one of my vices, but where’s the fun in that?

In addition to being 2014–2015 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Casabona is president of Sloan & Company, Inc. in West Caldwell, N.J.