Four Must Have Topics For Your New Year Checklist

checklistIt seems that the first week of the new year is always a busy time for those of us in the hardwood lumber industry. Sawmills begin to increase production, loggers pick up their activities in the forest and hardwood distributors begin to replenish inventories. It certainly becomes a busy time.

It’s also a good time to compile a new year checklist that effectively highlights what can be done to move the business forward. One approach we find helpful is to meet with your executive team, and perhaps some selected employees, to identify 4 or 5 key areas of focus to improve the business fore the year. For us, we have found a few key topics that seem to always make their way to the checklist.

Review and set new operational metrics. Financial performance, new customer acquisition, and reduced levels of employee turnover are just a few of the important metrics we like to set for the new year. When looking over these and related factors, try to “identify any pitfalls, failures, or other marks you and your company missed over the previous year,” notes GrowthForce. Then you and your team can “brainstorm about what could be done differently to eliminate the limiting factors inside your business” and determine the best solutions going forward.

Make sure resources are available. Inventory on hand, replacement parts, supplies, etc. They are all important things to make sure you have ready and available to start the new year properly. Also ensure you have the right “people resources”  available to get the job done. This is a critical factor to starting the new year off right!

Recognize your team’s efforts. If you haven’t already done so, now is a great time to reflect upon your team’s achievements and to publicly laud them for a job well-done. This kind of recognition can have a huge impact on employee turnover, since workers who feel ignored or taken for granted often opt to apply for jobs elsewhere. Remember—your company’s success depends on the contributions of your employees. Make sure to praise your team and, whenever possible, share your thoughts and predictions with them.

Connect with all your top customers. Don’t delay! Make sure you are in contact with all your top customers as the new year begins. Ensuring you know what the goals and priorities are for their business and how you might be able to help them achieve those will go a along way in increasing their loyalty.

If the recent past is any example, the new year will likely usher in more upheavals in the marketplace. Businesses that prepare for what lies ahead are one step ahead of competitors who don’t. So, as we create our annual plans to try improve our ability to sell more kiln dried lumber and hardwood logs or purchase green lumber to support our concentration yards we will also be sure to include these four points on our new year checklist. How about you?

Tony C.
Baillie Lumber
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