I'll admit my fondness for New Year resolutions. There's something hopeful to be said for the traditional list whose sole purpose is self-improvement. It is one of the rare traditions that implore us to take stock of ourselves. At midnight on New Year' Eve, we count down to becoming better people. No doubt we would all be edging in on perfect if we actually kept to the list. Marketers, of course, are aware of this. As we move beyond the family feasts and joyous holiday spirit, television ads rapidly switch to promoting gyms, weight loss programs and all manner of self-improvement schemes, products and devices.
However, rarely are we offered a similar opportunity to take stock of our businesses. Sure, there are quarterly and annual financial reports. But in most instances, they are good, bad or null. News of profits and losses are accepted with appropriate emotion. Only in extreme cases do businesspeople seek to change course through fine-tuning processes or overhauling some major aspect of their organization. In most cases, there is the assumption that everything is fine. The problems, if there are any, are the result of outside forces.
That said, I propose a list of Business Resolutions for bulk vending operators. Since this is the first time I've suggested such a list, I'll also propose that the goals be modest and inexpensive. Better testing and tracking of new products is something that is both inexpensive and provides rapid results. The same can be said for re-evaluating vehicle insurance, devoting more time to sales into new locations and downloading a helpful business app to a smartphone.
Slightly more costly and time-consuming resolutions can include upgrading office technology, maximizing real estate in high-performing locations and switching out machines or products in poorly performing sites. For the highly ambitious operator, it never hurts to upgrade presentations to potential locations. As I've heard from several operators in the field, putting a presentation of machines on an iPad or notebook computer can work wonders.
Granted, none of these suggestions is a game changer they are very much the business equivalent of losing that last 10 pounds with a new gym membership. There is nothing glamorous or radical about them. None of them is a magic bullet. But taken together they can have a significant impact on the bottom line. The trick is in the follow through. It's easy enough to get discouraged in a weak economy, and old habits really do die hard. Bad habits formed over years may just be the most stubborn to discard. However, those just may be the best reasons for incremental, positive change.
There are reasons why we make resolutions at the end of the passing year and the start of a new one. For starters, a resolution is a line of demarcation, a clear separation between the before and the after. It is also a very clear indication that we remain hopeful and optimistic about the future. Only a Scrooge of the worst variety would discourage us from losing those few extra pounds or expending the effort needed to simply be nicer to friends and family. Yet many think nothing of invoking their inner Scrooge when it comes to business. Sometimes they dress it up as pragmatism or realism. And to that attitude, I very clearly proclaim... Bah, bumbug!