We are coming to the end of the first quarter—time to take stock, evaluate strengths/weaknesses, and to adjust our plan going into the second quarter.

We start by reviewing our reason for being. What is our vision—our guiding light for every decision we make? Are we aligned with it and moving forward on operational initiatives to bring us closer to it? For some, this is all about maximizing income. Some want to maximize business value for resale. For us, it’s all about our clients and our team. Are we consistently turning their dreams into reality?

Next, we evaluate our team. Attitude leads to behavior, which leads to results. If the attitude is not right, the behavior will not be right. If the behavior is not right, the results will not be right. Is each team within our company as strong as they can be in each of these three areas? Where are they weak? What steps can we take to help improve and grow our players?

Spring is typically a time of recruiting and hiring, not just for us, but for our competition. How is the morale on our team and of our key players? Do they understand and buy into the vision and the culture? Do we offer unique benefits or opportunities for growth? Growth isn’t limited to new roles and to more pay. It can come through training, special projects, or with genuine appreciation for all they do for us, for our team, and for our clients.

Last but not least, we focus on operations. How is marketing? Are we getting the right number and the right kinds of prospects? How are sales? Are we getting the right number and the right kinds of sales? How is production? Are we moving through projects efficiently and effectively (think gross profit percent and gross profit dollars)? Does the quality of our work and that of our subcontractors align with our market position? How is accounting, HR, IT, administration? How is our cash position—not just in our bank account, but when we adjust our balance based on under- and overbillings? (Spoiler alert: Not adjusting your bank balance by under- and overbillings is the biggest mistake I see remodelers make. The money in your bank account isn’t all yours.)

Don’t turn this first quarter into navel-gazing. Depending on your business, this could take as little as two hours to evaluate. Just candidly evaluate each key business area. Then come up with two to three action steps to improve the weakest areas. We are only as strong as the weakest link in the chain.