No more putting out fires. Change the way you spend your week.

If you’re like most owners you probably spend the majority of your day putting out fires that your company set yesterday. And the first you put out today is bound to pop up again tomorrow.

Here’s the bad news … this pattern is going to continue until you change the way you spend your week.

You need to be spending a part of each week working on your Top Five No. 1 priorities. A project makes your Top Five No. 1 list if it either solves your biggest challenge or problem, or it provides you the greatest opportunity to grow and be profitable.

Do you know what should be vying for your Top Five No. 1 list? I bet these 10 will be vying for honorable mention on your list:

1. There’s no documented procedure and policy on what takes place 80% of the time at your company in the office and in the field.

2. There aren’t enough calls, from the right people and when you need them because there is no document Marketing Program in place.

3. You don’t know how to maximize the opportunities you get from the way you answer your phones to how your field people do their calls.

4. There are way too many callbacks, which anger customers and cost you money.

5. You don’t have an organization chart so things end up either being everybody’s job or nobody’s job. (Both are bad! Plus, it’s not clear to those who work for you who their real boss is when it comes to  discipline and when they need help.)

6. You don’t have a salary level template so employees know how they can earn more money based on objective things. Instead, they come knocking on your door at the end of the day to ask for a raise.

7. You don’t have a way to fix the holes in your existing people, find the holes faster of the new experienced people you hire or how to build your own people the right way from scratch because you don’t have a training system in place including learning how to train staff.

8. You don’t have a sales system to teach your people so they wing it and skip steps if they sell at all.

9. You don’t have the reward systems in place that are objective and posted for your field staff so they don’t know what the incentive is to go above and beyond … or even what they must do to keep their jobs.

10. You don’t do real budgeting so you operate your company with financial blinders on just hoping that a profit will miraculously materialize.

Build a big list of your own with all the projects you and your company need to work on to get you and your staff working on the “Right Things at the Right Time”. Then boil it down to your Top Five No. 1s and work on it each week and watch how fast your company gets better.

PM Columnist Hosts
Online Growth Seminar

Business consultant Al Levi, who writes a monthly column forPlumbing & Mechanicaland blogs for other BNP Media trade magazines, will present an online business seminar, “Growing Big In A Recession,” June 1, at 12 noon CST.

The June date will be the first part of six total seminars with the others taking place every two weeks. Each online seminar is expected to last one hour.

Levi already held his first Grow Big seminar series last January and has since added features to enhance to the experience. Participants will receive forms, procedures, a “Grow Big Optimizer” CD and have the opportunity to e-mail Levi for further support up to 60 days after the series is over.

For more information and to register, log on The website also includes several video testimonies from contractors who took part in the first seminar series and got their phone ringing again and their companies growing again.

Anyone interested in taking part will need to register by May 25. Levi provides geographically exclusivity to participants within a 30-mile radius of their businesses. There is a charge for the seminar, but there is also a money-back guarantee.