Make a list, check it more than twice

There are only a few days left to button up everything before 2009 is officially “in the books;” but it feels as though the year just started. I mean there was so much that I wanted to do … I had a plan!

Driving between stops, I started to ponder where I was last year at this time and what goals I had planned. Constructing a list of goals to be executed across 365 days would make most anyone comfortable with the timeline. (Come on, a year? That’s plenty of time. Right?)

It seemed simple enough: create a strategy; implement the strategy; analyze the outcome. Next!


Did I create a list that was unconquerable? Did I lose sight of my target? Maybe the commitment level just was not there? Was the summer heat too much and I decided to throw in the towel? Maybe it was all of that freakin’ rain. (Yeah, that’s exactly what happened … it was the rain!)

Probably by now, you too have thought of reasons (or excuses) that kept you from completing your lists.

Before we beat ourselves up too bad about the presumed poor performance on completing these checklists, I would like to congratulate everyone on still being here to read Professional Distributor as a small business owner. No matter if your year was up, flat or down, we have all grown during 2009.

What lays ahead for 2010 is anybody’s guess (unless you have a crystal ball). That is why we create the list, to refer to periodically and gauge where we are and where we expected to be at a given time.


Over the next few days grab a piece of paper and place it next to your laptop on the truck or on your desk in the office. As you go throughout your day, ask yourself some questions:

“What could I do differently to make myself more productive?”
“Is there a way of altering the route to free up time?”
“How long do I spend gabbing with customers?”
“Does it seem like there is never enough time anymore to do the things that I enjoy?”

Every time you decide that an aspect of your business should be changed, add it to the list. Allow a full week to pass while compiling your list to get in each work day plus the end-of-the-week paperwork.

There are so many things that you could add to your list, start by prioritizing all the items you’ve noted. Place a check mark on the ones where you feel the greatest gains could be made. Keep the list handy as you should be reviewing it weekly to keep yourself mindful of the wanted/needed changes.

I guarantee that if you set up a list of realistic goals, implement those goals, review their performance and then tackle them one by one, your business will improve. Grab that paper and start writing. Word has it that 2011 will be here before you know it!

Joe Poulin is a mobile tool distributor based in Gray, Maine, for Mac Tools. Send any comments or feedback you have for Joe by e-mail to

My family and I would like to wish everyone a stellar holiday season and ask that you keep the brave men and women of our military, and their families, in your thoughts and prayers.