Deep within your business are Gremlins that are costing you thousands. These Gremlins hide in the strangest places, but they are there, and they are draining your business of its profit. Depending on the size of your business, it could be costing you thousands each year or even each month.
Ridding yourself of these Gremlins is not easy, not nearly as exciting as winning new business or focusing on your social media or marketing but eradicating them could bring more to your bottom line profit than getting 10 new customers!
The Gremlins I am talking about are inefficiencies, the little things that your employees do that are a complete waste of time or the ways people are doing things that are now obsolete.
It’s so easy to get stuck doing things that you have always done, in the way that you have always done them. It’s no-one’s fault; it’s human nature to stick with what we know sometimes, even when there is evidence to the contrary.
There is the famous story of a man named George who worked in a box factory in Arizona, USA, who pushed a button at the same time every day for 20 years. No-one knew what the button did, even George, and when it was discovered the button did nothing, George found it very hard not to push it – in fact he missed it.
Humans are creatures of habit! We find comfort in doing things in the same way over and over again. It’s comfortable knowing how to do things and uncomfortable to learn new things.
Even small things such as making a cup of tea – when you make a tea in your own kitchen you are efficient, you are reaching for the kettle, cup and teabag simultaneously, as you know where everything is. Try this in a friend’s kitchen and you find yourself awkwardly trying to find the cups and opening 5 draws just to find the spoons.
Apply this comfort approach to your employees and their roles, and you get a situation where they find it comfortable to have certainty and this is OK to a point, but not when the habits and comfort of doing a task are no longer the most efficient way of doing things.
So what is the answer?
To eliminate these Gremlins lurking in your business, they have to be exposed to daylight, they have to be confronted and dealt with. In other words, you need to examine what is happening in your business to uncover the inefficiencies and stamp them out.
I will give you an example, I warn you though it’s not exciting, it saved the business 40 hours a month! 40 hours @ £15 an hour for one little change. I’m sad – saving £7K a year tweaking one process excites me.
Able Canopies are one of the UK’s leading manufacturer of canopies and so they purchase a lot of material. To manage this, they produced manual Purchase Orders and kept a list of each one on Excel. When supplier invoices arrived, they were matched against the Purchase Orders before being posted onto Xero, which is their bookkeeping software.
This system was fine until the company experienced rapid growth and then it quickly became unmanageable. After discussion with the employees involved and analysis of the process, an improvement was discovered.
By using the Purchase Order system already built into Xero, no longer were manual Purchase Orders required, instead, PO’s are entered into Xero and emailed directly to suppliers. When a supplier invoice came in, it could be matched to the PO and then, crucially, converted into a bill.
This one change to an existing procedure saved 40 hours a month – now look at all the procedures in your business and you safely multiple this saving by 10 and you can start seeing that inefficiencies could be dragging your business down.
How do you expose the Gremlins?
The way to expose these Gremlins is by good old-fashioned talking – talking to your staff about how they are doing things – what they do is not magic, it’s a process and a process can be discussed and reviewed and crucially tweaked to ensure it’s the most efficient it can be.
Asking why is also a powerful tool. Why are you pushing that button? Why do you do print that in the form in triplicate – where does it go?
I guarantee that after a review of your business’ processes, you will identify inefficiencies that could be costing you unnecessary money.
In fact, I will put my money where my mouth is. I will come into your business and talk to your staff and produce you a report on inefficiencies and if I find nothing significant, I won’t charge you a thing. Contact me to find out more.