One of the best things about a new year is simply the opportunity to start over. Reboot. A new beginning may be filled with excitement or dread. Let’s look for the bright spots.

To begin with, being in the roofing supply business puts you in a good position to succeed, even if the overall economy does not do so great. Being at the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs puts us on top when it comes to the things that are vital for human survival. We furnish shelter, so in good economies and bad, there will always be some level of need for the goods and services we provide.

So, you should have some business. How will you manage to profit from it? Following the good advice of the late Stephen R. Covey, “Begin with the end in mind” is a great place to start. For your business to thrive you need to have a plan, a budget. 

Everyone in the roofing supply business has a piece of the budgeting action. Whether you are in sales or operations, I hope you are an active participant in, if not the leader of, your company’s budgeting process. It should set the tone for your business in 2024 and provide an ongoing reference to “how we are doing” as the year goes along. 

I hope your budget and budgeting process is not just about numbers. There is so much more to your business. Why not do a little dreaming?

How about taking a look at metrics in your business that strike at the heart of its success. What was your personnel turnover rate in 2023? Would it not be great to do much better in 2024? What things do you need to add to the budget that would contribute to an improvement? 

What was your rate of stock-outs, late deliveries, or lost business for any reason? What are the things you can do to improve on these?

How were collections in 2023? While many companies have entire credit departments to handle this, everyone working in sales and management should own a piece of this. Sometimes being the most proactive supplier can make you one of the only ones getting paid at the end of a bad month for a contractor or dealer. If you measure this carefully, and I hope you do, you may set some targets for improvement in 2024. 

How was your communication with the home office in 2023? Or your best customers or your employees? What can you do to improve on that in 2024, and what difference do you think it will make?

These few examples cry out for team budgeting. I know for a fact that there is no one manager in the roofing supply business that has every answer for every area of the business. There are people working right next to you every day who see things you do not see. Or they see them in a different way. Sometimes just talking about these issues as a team can bring out some great solutions that make for a better workplace and business outcomes. 

Budgeting, or at least coming up with the numbers, was always a bit of a pain for me. But problem solving has always been fun and interesting. Whatever your budget for 2024 calls for, I sincerely hope you will review it often to remind yourself of how well you are doing. And if it works to improve things, that it will form a template for 2025 and beyond.