The 2000 Christopher Guest mockumentary, “Best In Show,” follows five dogs and their owners in the days and hours leading up to the fictional Mayflower Dog Show in Philadelphia. One of the show dogs, a Weimaraner named Beatrice, is in pet therapy for depression, but her owners, neurotic yuppies Meg and Hamilton Swan, dutifully prep her for the event. They bicker incessantly and try to ensure nothing is left to chance, but end up ignoring the dog’s own needs.

When Beatrice enters the arena, she introduces herself by attacking a judge and immediately is disqualified. Of course, the Swans blame the dog and later exchange her for a more tranquil animal. They’re still in pet therapy by the end of the movie.

Granted, this probably won’t happen to building service contractors anytime soon (unless one of you decides that taking your pets to client sites is a good thing). Unfortunately, bad first impressions can and do happen to well-meaning BSCs — a cleaning crew gets locked out, throws away important papers or ruins a specialty floor right off the bat. But, before blaming the workers, contractors should take a look at their own startup planning.

In this month’s cover story, industry writer Jennifer C. Jones shows why executing the ultimate startup depends on making sure the needs of everyone involved are met. Contractors must first and foremost pay attention to their new clients’ needs, naturally, but that doesn’t represent the whole picture. New accounts mean new employees (and new training for existing workers), supervisor shuffling and larger supply orders.

The theme of “planning” comes into a couple of other articles this month. In “Caught In The Middle”, find out how to ensure your business can survive a valuable partner’s bankruptcy.

Also this month, we offer a special BSCAI 2003 show guide, to help you prepare for this year’s convention, March 7 through 11 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. There’s a lot to do and see in those few days; plotting a game plan will help you maximize your time.

If you are attending the show, be sure to stop by Booth 515 and tell us how your recent startups have gone. We’d also welcome your input as we plan (there’s that word again!) our editorial coverage for coming months.