The Top 5 news items for 2013 hint at what is capturing dealers’ attention as well as what may be keeping them up at night.

The top viewed online story for 2013 was a news item that was posted way back in October of 2012: “Hustler Introduces '13 Line-Up, Including 'Raptor' Priced at Under $3,000.” The fifth most viewed story is “Cub Cadet Debuts RZT S ZERO Electric Zero-Turn Riding Mower.” It seems it’s all about mowers — zero-turn mowers — for those who sell to the rural lifestyle crowd. Any new break through, whether it’s technology or a price point, helps dealers make a best seller even better.

The second and third most viewed stories (“Avoid the Phone Call Obstacle Course” and “Greatest Misconceptions About Equipment Needed to Maintain Rural Acreages”) indicate that the basic steps to making those sales is something dealers are always striving to improve.

Dealers are also watching their backs as the news about Cabela’s Selling Tractors ranked fourth in the Top 5.

So, now what? It only makes sense to look back if we use this information to make changes. In 2014, how can dealers make the most of hot products while shoring up their business processes?

Our contributing writer and business consultant Monte Wyatt suggests that dealers ask themselves these questions.

1. What habits do you want to instill as a company? It could be communication, follow through, financial controls, etc.

2. What personal growth would you like yourself and your team to work on in the new year?

3. What business skill do you want to improve on as a company? Maybe changes are needed in the way you market or budget or at the service counter.

4. What challenge will you try to overcome?

Those questions sound like the making of some good dealership New Year’s resolutions. Wyatt also offers two easy steps to making those resolutions a reality. OK, maybe it’s not exactly easy, but consider his approach.

“Identify one area to resolve to improve in the New Year. Then, identify the first step you need to take and when you’re going to take it. Then, identify the second step and by when. Make it simple to start and to follow through. If it isn't simple, it won't happen,” Wyatt says.

Running a dealership is nothing if not complicated, but Wyatt’s advice about keeping it simple is a refreshing way to dive into 2014.

Thanks for being part of our dealer community this year.