Based on my unscientific observations, most managers struggle with hiring employees and a majority seem to have no proclivity for firing. If I could fix one thing for my clients, it would probably be to instill in them the confidence to trust their instincts and overcome their fears when it comes to who they hire or keep.
The struggle is real. I have spent most of my professional life managing the tendencies of sales and operations teams to conflict with one another. I have a mantra and it goes like this:
“Sales’ job is to sell what Operations can support. Operations’ job is to support whatever sales sells.”
The battle field is much more sophisticated than it was when I started. We no longer rely on paper files and clip boards to do our work. I can’t just stroll over to a salesperson’s desk and find a phone number in his Rolodex or search his phone messages for the latest changes in projects. Likewise, it is nearly impossible for a salesperson to monitor all the operation and logistics processes that touch their projects.
A couple of years ago I did a webinar called “The Ten Myths That Are Hurting Your Business.” It was probably one of the most poignant webinars I ever did and I still receive comments from clients about a “myth” they are living.
I want to expand on one myth in particular because with today’s low unemployment and strong economy, employee retention and advancement are more important than ever.
If you set out to improve your profit by one percent, will you succeed? I bet you won’t and here’s why: It’s too small a target to drive sustainable change.
That is not a reason to give up. Let’s just change how we look at the problem. To begin, there are three obvious places for companies to improve their bottom line.
Many rental company owners find their financials confusing. There is a constant stream of expenditures – many are hard to classify. How do you judge the success of a month when the expense and revenue go across two months? Why are percentages important some times and not others? Which numbers are important to my situation?
Making quick sense of financials is the first step to diagnosing both problems and potential. Here are my five go-to assessments:
A few years ago I wrote an article about the four stages of business. Today, many of my clients actively review their progress through levels I defined, but we have discovered a sticky point that needs some additional clarification.
Consider this, if you could generate a complete design and cost estimate with the push of a button and only had to choose which profit to go with, wouldn’t you spend more time trying to win higher margin jobs? Instead, the proposal process is so expensive and time consuming that once you have started the process, you cannot afford to lose opportunity. You end up selling on price instead of selling your craft. Then you do it again. Workload increases and margins shrink.
Every small business has “the elephant in the room.” It might be you. Sure, you want to grow and make more money. At least make more money. I mean, growth is isn’t really a thing is it? You aren’t required to do that – there’s no rule. You never intended to have an empire, just a good living. Am I right?
My old boss has a saying, “We are in business for fun and profit. If we are not making a profit it’s not any fun.” All projects start out fun and profitable. What happens next is really up to us.