It’s the New Year, a time for resolutions, reflections and writing the wrong year on checks for at least three months. And if you’re of a certain age (like me), you’ll likely keep repeating the phrase, “I can’t believe how fast the years pass,” followed by a deep sigh.

Kelli Rodda

The start of a new year is the perfect time to review the health of your business. And, please, take it more seriously than your personal resolutions of eating healthy and getting more exercise. Again, if you’re like me, I’m gung ho on healthy changes until I see the Christmas candy on clearance, then all bets are off. Instead of sugar plums, I dream of Reese’s peanut butter trees.

But I digress. Use this time to review important documents and processes. When is the last time you looked at your mission or vision statement? If it was written several years ago, it probably needs a tweak. Your customer base may be different or your customer base may have expanded.

Get with key staff and ask them to share what worked and what didn’t in 2015. (It’s easy to argue that you should be doing that monthly or at least quarterly, but it’s just as easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day pursuits that you don’t take the time for meetings like those.) Make a list, rank the problems from most to least significance, then come up with a plan to correct them.

Speaking of being too caught up in the business, it’s also a good time to review how you can delegate some responsibilities. It’s a good idea to get help from the outside for this type of task.

Another good way to start off the year is to rally the SWOT team. A SWOT analysis measures strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing your business.

Talk to your customers. I don’t mean ask, “So how many containers of XYZ can I ship to you for spring?” I mean, talk to them. Find out how their business is faring. Ask if they’re noticing trends in the market and think of ways you can partner with them to capitalize on those trends. Ask them what you can do differently to improve your business relationship.

What were your New Year’s business resolutions for 2016? Tell me about them at

Going into the New Year, make sure you’re on top of the issues that affect the green industry. This month’s cover story addresses five factors that may likely impact your business: housing, economic indicators, fuel prices, immigration reform and overtime legislation. Turn to page 6 to read more.

Kelli Rodda,