Is It Time to Tackle Your To-Do List?

Completing neglected tasks can help improve your overall business.
Is It Time to Tackle Your To-Do List?

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There are a lot of should-do tasks when you run a business. These are projects that are not direct moneymakers but improve operations.

Since a should-do task requires time you can’t bill a customer for, it becomes a low priority. It’s understandable that should-do’s get pushed aside during the busy season when you’ve got paying work to do. But sometimes these jobs get neglected during the slow season, too. You know how it goes: You think you’ve got so much time and then before you know it, it’s the busy season again.

Here are a few should-do jobs to tackle when the winter winds blow:

Winterize Your Fleet

Cleaning and winterizing vehicles is more of a must-do. This includes sorting, inventorying, repairing and possibly replacing worn-out equipment. Beyond keeping your inventory shipshape, maintenance will also keep your staff busy.

Sean Cude of Soldotna, Alaska, keeps his employees busy during the slow winter months cleaning, painting or maintaining equipment so they don’t leave his company in search of more hours elsewhere. It’s always more costly to find, hire and train new employees than to keep experienced ones, he says.

Spread Some Cheer

A few spend some slow-season hours working on their trucks for festive reasons. In past years, Dervin Witmer of Cassopolis, Michigan, and David and Andrea Knight in Caledonia, Mississippi, decorated their vehicles with lights for the holidays.

If your city or town has a Christmas parade, putting it on your should-do list for early winter means you’ll have some fun while getting your company name in front of a big crowd of potential customers.

Expand Your Services

For some plumbers, the offseason just means a different type of work, like plowing snow or spending more time on other aspects of the business. An example might be ramping up a small grease-trap-cleaning service. Adding an offseason line of business is an option many consider to make ends meet.

Tackle Indoor Tasks

The winter season is a great time to accomplish things “back at the office,” like preparing for the arduous tax season or increasing marketing efforts. Maybe you’ve already joined the hometown chamber of commerce, but have you ever met with chambers in neighboring communities? You could also spend time looking into local business networking groups to see if there is one or two you might join.

There are plenty of marketing and technology tasks to tackle: Build or update a website. Increase your social media presence. Remember how you started a blog in 2012? It’s way past time to write a second entry. Tackling the little things that slip through the cracks in the summer can make a difference in the professionalism of your company. How about changing the telephone hold message that customers hear? Or finally going through that catalog of advertising premiums a sales rep dropped off six months ago and ordering something with the company logo on it to reward your best customers? Believe it or not, business cards are still important in this high-tech age. Do yours have outdated information you are correcting by hand every time you give one out? Order new ones in time for spring.

Get Schooled

Winter also is a great time to learn something new, because you finally have time to actually think. Register for a webinar. Take a course and add to your skills. Learn to use all the bells and whistles of your smartphone or business software. Take a Spanish-in-the-workplace class. 

This is the optimum time for staff training as well. Who couldn’t use a refresher in safety, customer service or some job-specific skill?

Of course, lots of education and training can be found at the 2016 Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport (WWETT) Show. Planning for and attending the show is a highlight for many contractors around the country … and the world! It should definitely be on your “should-do” list for Feb. 17-20.

Have a Plan

Depending on your location, the busy season might be a long way off, but planning for it early will make it much more productive. If you and your crew are hard at work, you’ll have a better, stronger company if everything on your should-do list has been checked off.


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