By now, you have a pretty good idea of how the year went in terms of revenue. And you've probably sat down and reworked your marketing budget to fi gure out how to get the leads that will provide the sales increase you're planning in '07.

Of course, things don't always go according to plan. But mostly they do. If you budget for growth of 12% or 15% and adjust your lead model accordingly, chances are you'll see that increase one way or another.

Your company, though, is more than the products it sells and the ad messages it issues. It is relationships: It's the people who work with you, the people who buy from you, and the community where you do business.

So maybe it's time to think about goals besides just sales. What if you decided, say, to lose fewer employees in '07, and to lose none of your best ones?

You're probably thinking, "I can't afford a lot of raises right now." Well, raises help, but there's more to retaining employees than just money. What if you simply resolved to acknowledge every person in your organization in a positive way, every day? Would you spend less time hiring and training?

What if you got on the phone and called every customer after every job to thank him or her, and to inquire whether or not they felt totally satisfied?

You're probably thinking: What if they aren't satisfi ed? Do I really need two or three extra service calls each week? Well, would it increase your repeat and referral business?

What if you worked out a bonus program for your installers – subcontracted or otherwise – and took them to breakfast to explain how it worked?

What if you hired your independent salesforce as employees, gave them benefits, and made them responsible for producing 10% of their leads?

What if you held a companywide meeting every month to resolve outstanding issues, and ask employees for their ideas?

What if you began your company's involvement in community marketing by, say, launching a scholarship fund?

What if you organized a focus group to find out what people in the community know about your company, and what they expect from a roofing, siding, or window contractor?

You probably have more on your plate right now than a month of Thanksgivings, but change will happen whether you want it to or not. And isn't it a great feeling when you not only anticipated those changes, but set them in motion?

Jim Cory
jcory@hanleywood.com
Editor