3 Questions To Wrap Up The Year

Dec. 3, 2015

Last week the VendingMarketWatch.com staff took a break from our weekly blog to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family. And in a few short weeks we will do the same to celebrate winter; to say goodbye to an old year and hello to a new one.

But the year isn’t quite over yet. Although many readers may already be looking ahead to the first quarter sales of 2016, or the availability of new equipment, or purchasing and moving to a new location, there are still four weeks left in 2015. Have you done all that you can to be a better manager, employee or business operator this year?

Let’s make a list and check it twice, and see if any readers have been following our advice.

Question 1:

Did you recognize your employees enough this year?

Back in February VendingMarketWatch.com reported on new research that found that the single most important practice managers could adopt to help their employees produce great work is by recognizing them. “Of all age groups, those in the Millennial generation are most highly motivated by recognition and also value recognition from peers as influential in performing great work,” said Gary Beckstrand, vice president of marketing at O.C. Tanner, the company commissioning the survey.

CA-based J&J Vending wrote about how it implemented several employee appreciate events in 2015, even though the company was on a budget. “The things we do as employers to show our employees we appreciate them don’t have to be extreme to be appreciated,” wrote Jennifer Skidmore. Provide your employees with free snacks every so often, recognize the close of a tough sale in front of peers, or perhaps put together a Secret Santa event before the year is over to bring employees together.

Question 2:

Did you challenge yourself as a manager/business owner this year?

Earlier this year I asked an operator if he liked owning his own business because of the flexibility. “You know, it’s Thursday and the sun is shining,” he said. “If I wanted to go out and golf right now, I could. But I’m not going to do that because that’s not how we became successful.” What I got from that is if you’re not moving forward you’re moving backwards.

There are many ways you can challenge yourself in the next four weeks, even if that means creating goals for next year or forcing yourself to look at problems you’ve been avoiding.

Or maybe it’s time to sign up to participate in management education presented by state or national vending associations?

A few weeks ago more than 30 industry members completed NAMA’s 2015 Executive Development Program at Michigan State University where participants learned to strategize and tackle industry challenges; they learned ways in which they could challenge themselves and their business. Maybe it’s something you’d like to do in 2016?

Question 3:

Is your business moving in the right direction?

Back in April, industry consultant Paul Schlossberg wrote that in 2020, less 12-ounce cans and 20-ounce bottle beverages will be sold and that individuals will prefer beverage customization; private labels will have a greater emphasis; transparency in food will be more important; and the delivery model in which our industry provides products will be challenged. Many of Schlossberg’s points are already coming to fruition sooner than 2020 (did you see Amazon recently debut the prototype of its delivery drone? And single serve cold beverage machines are already making their way into consumers’ homes).

Change used to happen slowly, I think. But not anymore. Investing in your operation/company/firm will be imperative in the coming years. Before closing out 2015, try surveying a few of your clients to see if there are things you can do to improve service. You can create free surveys on Google and Survey Monkey.

A final thought

There is so much to do in the industry; there are trends to follow, customers to keep happy, customers to obtain, businesses to grow, employees to hire and fire, suppliers to meet with and brokers to call...the list goes on. In the chaos of it all, there is still time to finish the list you started at the beginning of the year.

What are some things you plan to do before the end of the year? Shoot me an email [email protected] or send me a Tweet @VMW_Zimmer to let me know!