The 2010 plan

All the champagne bottles are empty, the noise makers are now silent and the clock has welcomed in the New Year. It is tradition to make personal resolutions, like start a diet, exercise more often, call your mom on a regular basis and clean out the attic.

Most of these resolutions will probably be broken by March.

But here is your opportunity to make resolutions for your company that will not be broken and could benefit both you and your employees. Below is a list of suggested resolutions that you can use to grow your company, yourself and improve company morale in the New Year.

Hire that special employee

Take the opportunity during this time of economic turbulence to upgrade a position in your company. The numbers of skilled workers and executives who are without a job are at record levels. Here is your chance to hire that employee who has a skill set that you currently do not have in your company’s skill inventory.

Thank your employees more often

Let your employees know how much you appreciate their efforts during these tough economic times. Schedule a coffee meeting or a luncheon buffet to acknowledge the sacrifices they have made during the past year. Go back to “management by walking around” and talk with your employees on a daily basis.

Add a new product or service to your portfolio

Perform a category analysis, and determine if there are products and services that are in decline and are no longer contributing to profitability. They need to be replaced.

Replace a poor performing supplier

Tired of the late deliveries and the poor quality? Attack the situation and replace this supplier with one who will provide better service and quality.

Fire those toxic customers

Now is a good time to review your customer complaints and your accounts receivables and identify those toxic customers. These are the customers that complain about everything, return merchandise, try to negotiate additional discounts and pay their invoices late. Improve your bottom line and let these customers torment your competitors.

Join a CEO group

In addition to upgrading the skill sets of your employees, take the opportunity to upgrade your own skills by joining other small business owners in a business roundtable. Whether it is one of the MMAC’s COSBE groups or a TEC or other CEO group, the benefits to you and your company will be immediately evident.

Develop a succession plan for your company

If you don’t have one already, it is time to develop a succession plan and protect your investment and your employees. Having an identified second in command frees you up to participate in a CEO group, take a vacation or attend a seminar.

Exercise and practice wellness

In many of my conversations with my client’s employees and managers they have mentioned concerns about the health of the owner of the company. Having a vibrant and healthy owner is an important component of the morale of a company. Exercise and proper diet are known to reduce stress and lower cholesterol, two major contributors to heart disease and stroke. Your employees feel more secure if their boss is healthy. In addition, companies that practice wellness experience reduced absenteeism, higher levels of morale, productivity, and profitability.


Local charities need volunteers to help organize events, sit on their board, and collect food and money. It is a great opportunity for a company that would build morale, and engage the employees in an activity that builds cohesiveness in the organization. Another benefit would be a positive image in the community. Companies like GE and We Energies volunteer their employees to paint MPS classrooms and set up computers for their students. Ben & Jerry’s have both a business mission and a social mission, and they encourage their employees to give back to their communities.

Take a vacation

As an owner, you deserve a break, a chance to refresh your mind and body. Even a heavy duty battery needs to be recharged. Vacations clear your mind, de-stress you and permit you to focus on yourself and your family. It is also a chance to reward your family for their loyalty and support during the year. Vacations also reduce the potential for burnout.

You may prioritize these resolutions in any way you wish, but achieving any one of these will better position your firm for growth in 2010 and beyond. Doing nothing is not an option that should be considered if you wish to grow your profits and market share in the next 12 months.

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