Saturday, April 5, 2008

5 o'clock Shadow Part II

Going from Rugged to Clean-Cut

To refresh your memory

From the preceding post, I raised the point of pin-pointing areas where there may be a hole (inefficiency) either slowly or rapidly leaking water (resources) from the bucket (business).

As the talks and reports of the United States economy/recession continues, what were your findings? Aside from the fact that the "U.S. economy lost 80,000 jobs in March, the biggest drop in five years, as weakness in the labor market spread beyond housing and finance to engulf a broad swath of businesses. (EVANS," times like these can blow open parts of your business that are bleeding the business dry.

Now we can speculate as to who precisely is being laid off in certain industries, for example, the financial industry is being wiped clean compared to 2007's growth according to Tig Gilliam, chief executive of temporary-employment company Adecco Group North America. (I won't touch the fact that we're laying off thousands of analysts and yet paying and awarding the CEOs with millions of dollars for doing so well... isn't this an oxymoron?)

But, back to the 5 o'clock shadow. Where are bottlenecks occurring in your business?

Let's say your software/ intellectual property is your bread and butter. It can save companies thousands, if not millions of dollars, and it has been available for a couple years now, yet, sales are lacking. These software "Gurus" (SGs) know everything about developing the product and making it work. However, the SGs are not strong in sales. They are awkward around consumers and do not exude confidence. Thus, the expense of having these developers is hurting your business, despire their skills Ladies and gentlemen, the leak in your bucket is weak sales force.

In this day and age, you could have a product that does everything and reduces cost or boosts profitability, but if customers do not know about it, they will not find it nor know what it does. You have to have a sales force / marketing team. That means investing in salesmen to make the cold-calls, developing advertisements, and targeting a market segment to hone-in on. Your programmers are, well, programmers. They build it and fine-tune, they do not sell it. A prime example is this AT&T commercial about a beer brewery. There is the brew-master and then the salesman.

The next example of a potential leak is so simple, it is almost embarrassing that people do not realize the potential savings.... inter-office call transfer or auto-mated attendants. Do you have a receptionist or a couple receptionists who answer the phones all day, update company records, manage appointment books, organize business newsletters, or relay information around to all the divisions. As your business continues to grow, usually, your call volume increases as well. The poor receptionists are already stretched so thin, add in the increased call volume and we may have some cases of insanity approaching.

As the call volume increases, the receptionists jot down the message from the clients and then have to walk / re-dial the proper party and inform them of the message. That takes time. Time away from the million other tasks they have and time is money.

Enter the PHONE SYSTEM! Imagine being able to transfer the calling-party directly to the individual or their voicemail? The receptionist hits two buttons and she's done and back to work, focusing on the other tasks. It is all about efficiency and time-savers. Another way to fill-in the leaky hole. Or, if you choose to have an automated attendant, she only answers the phone when she is requested.

So, I briefly illuminated two potential hindrances. Nothing too in-depth, but something to think about.

Let me know some issues your business faces and see where we can attack them!

At the end of the day, you can either settle for the shadow or you can shave again.

~the GURU
(changed my signature... tell the difference?!)


Jack Payne said...

Never test the depth of the water with both feet. A fundamental axiom in business, yet little recognized as valid. Then, there is the other extreme, those who will not even test the depth of the water with an index finger.

The Small Biz. Guru said...

The more and more businesses I read about, learn about, and even work with, that they do not look themselves in the mirror and realize everything is not peachy nor perfect with the business. Either business goes full steam a head or does nothing at all. What has happened to analyzing the business?