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Closing Out the Job

Here I sit with my laptop, trying to figure out what should make
my New Year’s Resolution list for 2003. I have a lot of ideas to
choose from, but I limit my list to five things. That way, I have a
better chance of success. Here goes.

I will not allow myself or my staff to be used as an estimating
service. I know that this is kind of a pie-in-the-sky goal, but this
was my number-one resolution last year and I was able to significantly reduce the number of times we were used. Last year, in
order to accomplish this goal, we focused on our clients; we wanted
to get to know them better, do more with them on a personal
basis and find out more about them as individuals. We focused
on this because we felt the biggest reason we get used was that our
relationships were just not as good as they needed to be. It
worked. This year is more of the same. Bottom line is that I plan
to play more golf with my clients, and this justifies my efforts.

I resolve to make the field staff more responsible for their handling
of jobs. Over the past year, I have been told that we would
have been more profitable if I had provided them with more
specific information that would have allowed them to plan and
monitor the construction process and the budget. This will not
happen again this year, no more excuses. I am going to begin
with a two-day office meeting between Christmas and New
Year’s Day. At that meeting, we will go over production rates,
we will define a “proper” job setup. I am going to let them tell
me what they want, and my staff and I will give it to them.
Then I am going to play more golf.

I will improve my sales skills. I will take two seminars and read
at least one book to improve my selling skills. I am convinced that
estimating is only part of the skills set needed to do my job properly
and provide my estimators with the help they need. I am convinced
I can sell more jobs at higher margins if I have more
skills in other words, price is not the only issue. By Jan. 31 I
will identify a school that teaches these skills and will sign up for
training. And, by June, I will identify a second type of training
and will schedule a seminar in it also. The final result will be that
I become more adept at sales and can close jobs when I play golf.

I will learn more about my competition. One of the results of
concentrating on our sales over the past few years is that I
haven’t kept up on our competition. I know that several competitors
have changed their leadership and/or the direction that
their company is heading. There are also several new estimators
in the area who are having an impact, and I don’t know much
about them. During the next year, I will choose one company
each month and will outline everyone in their corporation, what
their function is, who they are, where they cam from, what their
skills are, and who they know and work with. I am sure there
will be other items I will learn too, but this is a quick starter list.
By choosing one company each month, it should not be too
difficult or time consuming a task.

I will improve my overall health. After all, what can be more
important to the company than keeping me healthy and more
productive? During the next 12 months, I will lose weight (I won’t
tell you how much), I will work out at one of the local fitness centers
at least three times a week; I will improve my diet by eating
regularly and by adhering to the recommended diet, and I will
exercise more for fun. Once again, I will play more golf

There you have it. Those are my resolutions for 2003. There are
many other things that did not make the list that I could have
chosen from, things like being more involved in AWCI, being
more active in one or more of the local associations; increasing
family time; improving my time management, negotiation and
computer skills, becoming involved in one of the local political
action committees; spending less time with accountants and
attorneys; improving my golf skills, etc. For me personally, it is
important for me that I improve each year. I have found from
experience that the best way to accomplish that is to keep your
list small and focused and to include golf
Happy New Year to you all, and here’s hoping that we have a
good enough economy for us all to prosper.

Comments? Send your e-mails to, or fax
to (703) 534–8307.

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