An uncertain economy is an excellent time to improve business systems. If you can't answer the following questions with “yes,” here are ideas for improvement.

Q. Do you have a business system in place that ensures a smooth flow from marketing through warranty?

A. If not, purchase accounting or estimating software that allows you to track the job from start to finish.

Q. Are prospective clients aware of your company and brand?

A. Increase involvement and visibility in your community.

Q. Do you understand the wants and needs of your clients?

A. Improve your listening skills and those of your staff.

Q. Can you accurately and quickly price a project to meet a client's time frame?

A. Use or update your estimating software.

Q. Are you capable of producing what a client wants and still meeting your profit goals?

A. Use scheduling software to track projects.

Q. Can you track a project so you have an accurate view of your budget anywhere on the timeline?

A. Use accounting software to create reports that help you track budgets.

Q. Can your employees function without your constant guidance?

A. Cross train your team and empower them.

—Les Cunningham is president of Business Networks, a peer-review organization for the remodeling and insurance restoration industries;