Archives for March 2015

Business Mandate: Turn Air into Money.

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I get a EUPHORIC thrill out of turning air into money.  

It also creates some strange looks when I tell a story or two.

When you own property in business, every square inch is a potential asset.  Even if you don’t own your land and building, utilization of space and the costs that are tied up in space should be scrutinized.

AIR.

  • It’s invisible.  Odorless.
  • And it can cost you money.  That is money that can be re-invested in growth.

Want some examples?

  • Shipping.  Everyone in CPG knows that the cost of shipping a truck rarely changes if you can get 39k lbs on it vs. 42k lbs.  But if that shaves a couple pennies off your shipping rate that can be the difference between making 20% and 23% margins.  That matters.

How about garbage costs.  What do you see when you look at this image?

Garbage dumpster

 

A mess of course!  And litter, which is awful.

But what you also see is that the garbage is thrown in there, not compacted.  I bet if it were organized and crunched, you can free up 1/3 of the airspace.  That means fewer pickups.  Less Cost.  You know what else is there?

  • PLASTIC.
  • CARDBOARD.

Both of those should be recycled.  And sold on the open market.  That’s a revenue stream for someone, why not you?

Recycling further reduces the amount of true garbage, further reducing your cost.

I bet businesses across the country could cut there garbage expenses by 50% if they just attack it with recycling and compacting, and of course knowing what drives their cost to begin with.

So lets say you spend $400 per month without these methods.  What can you do with $2,400 in savings?  Do you need to invest some money on a compactor?  Seems like there could be a payback there.  There are countless examples in business very similar to the garbage example.

Freeing up money by turning Air into money is the low hanging fruit in a business.  It requires minimal risk.  But it does require a dose of Hustle to go after it.

When businesses turn air into money they begin to fuel the engine of growth:  INVESTMENT.

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Spring Cleaning For Business

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You know it’s been long winter when your 7 year old rips off his jacket and yells “it’s spring!” when the temperature breaks 40!

The march OUT of winter and towards Spring reminds me of 2 things:

1)  Opening Day.  Yes I may be old school, but it’s hard not to be romantic about baseball.

2)  Spring Cleaning.  This I’m NOT a fan of, but it too has it’s purpose.  Pruning, de-cluttering, freshening up tends to lift the spirits.

What should spring cleaning look like for a business?

Go through some key areas and ask some fundamental house keeping (pardon the pun) questions.

People

  • Everybody have tight, meaningful goals that will make a visible difference?

  • Training programs in place?

  • “Culture” celebration investments planned for?

  • Plans in place for non-performers?  What about your TOP performers?

  • What have you done to get your PEOPLE involved with looking forward, improving your business?

Aesthetics:  Work-spaces

  • How about a fresh coat of paint?  If it works in selling a house, it works for your work-space too.

  • Are people invested in improving their areas?

Image/Branding

  • When is the last time you looked at your collateral?  Website, business cards, presentations, etc.

  • Does it portray both who you are and what you want to be?

  • Are you proud of it or do you find yourself making excuses for it’s dated look or stale content?

Product

  • Same as branding:  New and fresh, or dated and stale?

  • What NEW ideas are in your pipeline?

  • Enough or too many?

Cost Structure

  • When is the last time you went line by line through every expense item?

  • Have you “zero based” a budget or do you just tack on x% over last year’s number?

  • What if you INCREASED a line item, what would be the impact?  Which expenses are you considering investments vs “costs of doing business?”

There’s something about spring cleaning that usually holds true:  It’s difficult to start.  But when you finish you FEEL better, you look better, and you actually ARE better.  

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Do The Crazy One’s Keep You Up at Night?

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Any better ad of all time than Apple’s “Crazy ones?”

I have no idea if this sold more Apple products, which in my opinion is the real definition of advertising success.

But sometimes, thoughts (communicated in ANY medium) serve a purpose other than selling.  They try to define the future for key people, in particular the troops within a business.

  • The crazy one’s drew a line in the sand and elevated apple to an idea, an aspiration, a license for people to be different.

Those people could be their customers, their employees, their suppliers.

Now ask yourself as a business leader:

  • How many crazy one’s are working for YOU?

  • How many suppliers in your network fit into this mode?

  • What about your competitors?

Are you OK with crazy one’s working for your competition?  Or does this thought keep you up at night?

There is comforting news if Crazy One’s working for your competition keeps you up at night:

Our education system doesn’t inspire crazy one’s.  It inspires conformists.  People coloring within the lines.  Talking when called upon.  So by definition, crazy one’s are not the norm.

Neither is greatness.

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