New year, new promise

Departments - Editor's Insight

Here are five resolutions you can make now to improve your business in the coming year.

January 18, 2013
Chuck Bowen
Chuck Bowen

The beginning of the year is a time of such potential and such promise. I love this quote attributed to Mark Twain: “Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community.”

To be fair, Twain goes on to say that most of us will fall back into ruin and sin by February. But whether you’ve sworn off the Demon Rum or just want to exercise more, you’ve got a fresh set of 12 months to make something of. Grab hold of that feeling of piousness and put it to use. Here are five resolutions you can make now to improve your business in the coming year.

Resolve to grow your network. Join an association, start a peer group or just go visit the shop of a contractor you know in another market. National, regional or local, there’s a group of like-minded landscapers out there that can help you solve problems and keep a good perspective on your own business. They’ve been where you are before. No sense reinventing the wheel.

Resolve to attend a new conference. Take a day and check out your market’s regional trade show, or one in a neighboring state. Stop by your state association’s next meet-and-greet. If you do it right, you’ll learn at least one new thing.

Resolve to call your elected officials. While it’s great to see the industry rally around a cause or specific piece of legislation, real value for contractors comes from stable, continued contact with local officials. Ring your representative and tell him or her about your business, the people you employ and the projects you work on. Put the work in now, so they know who you are when times get tough.

Resolve to take a vacation. Maybe it’s the single-digit temperature in Cleveland talking, but plan to take some time off. If you never get away from the day-to-day grind and actually think about the future of your business, you can’t improve it. The trip doesn’t have to be tropical (though that would be nice) or a month-long trek into the mountains (not bad, either), but just a couple days in a clean, well-lighted place where you can think.

Resolve to download our new app. Many of you (like, 40,000 of you) have already done this, and I love you all for it. But this month, we’re revamping our app to be more interactive and chock-full of more cool stuff. It pulls together the best parts of everything we do in one place. Go get it now.

For my part, I’m resolving to focus more keenly on what I’m doing, and not be distracted by all the shiny objects that cross my path. Whatever you resolve to do this year, do something to improve. Let me know how it works.


– Chuck Bowen