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CEO Advisor® Newsletter
September 2011
12 Ways to Increase Profit
Here are some tips to help you improve the productivity of your business and increase your profits. If you apply a few of these, you're well on your way to achieving greater profit and creating less stress.
  1. Cut Your Slackers. Make some tough decisions and let go of dead-weight employees. Ever tried to run a marathon while towing an old tire? This is what it's like trying to grow a productive business with unproductive (or unmotivated) employees. Not only will they not add value to your bottom line, they'll drag other productive associates to their level. Cutting an unproductive or disruptive worker will actually increase the productiveness of other workmates. If this is hard for you to do, hire a trusted advisor for a few months to help you with the tough decisions and terminations. 
  2. Cut the Time. Have you noticed that if you give a task (i.e. write a proposal) to an employee and they have a day to do it, they will, but if you give them 3 days to do the same task, guess what, they'll take 3 days. Put tight and exact deadlines (i.e. Wednesday at 3:30 PM) on important tasks, and your staff will become more productive. Follow up on those deadlines to ensure results. 
  3. Cut Your Expenses. Print your detailed Profit & Loss statement and review all general expenses in your business. Next to each one, write one of the following: Need it, Review it, Cut it. First, work down the list on the expenses to 'Cut'. This will create immediate savings. Then 'Review' expenses you need, but perhaps could get a better deal on. 'Trimming the fat' every 6 months can help you create profit.  Again, a fresh set of eyes or an advisor can help you with some tough decisions.
  4. Target Your Customers. Look at the type of work you're targeting. Is it better to target a different type or value of work? Most businesses just do what they've always done rather than looking for more profitable types of revenue from targeted customers and high margin products and services. 
  5. Don't Work Late, Come in Early. A clear mind is a productive mind. Outside of work, this time should be used to recharge. Don't take extra work home, rather just go home, relax, enjoy the family & come in early to do that extra work. Not only will you work better after relaxing, but your family life will improve!
  6. Motivate Staff, Offer Incentives.
    CEOs, Presidents and business owners have different motives and priorities than staff. Don't expect your staff to be as excited as you are about your business. Your mind is on the bottom line, whereas staff think about their pay, and how they'll get paid whether they perform or not. Motivate staff with performance related bonuses such as money, special gifts, time off & job flexibility. Reward the superstars; let the slackers go.
  7. Hire Multi-skilled Workers. Enlarge your skill base without the cost. It's better to have two designer/developers, than a designer and a developer. Multi-skilled workers, by nature are generally better problem solvers, more flexible and more productive than single skilled workers. You'll also have more options for work delegation and due to an increased skill base will be able to take on a wider range of projects.
  8. Prioritize Your 20%'ers. Do the important things first. Most people procrastinate on the 20% of the tasks that create 80% of the revenue. At the end of each week, calendar out the next week. If you have 25 tasks, list the 5 most important revenue generating tasks (the 20%'ers), then list the 5 most urgent tasks (usually admin). By working through the 20% items first, you're working 'on' the business (growth), rather than 'in' the business (maintenance).
  9. Review your Vendors and Advisors. Your services should be team players, not just expense.  Do you consider your accountant, advisor or lawyers an expense? Or do they truly add value? A good accountant will save you more money than they cost. With so many vendors available, are you sure you are working with the best? Review your external vendors and advisors with this question in mind: "Are they helping you to grow your business to the next level?"
  10. Systemize your Processes. Focus on ways to systemize processes. Create templated emails, templated forms and documents, a 'roles and responsibilities' chart, use process automation applications, digital timesheets, auto responders, automatic payments etc. Almost every process in your business can be creatively systemized to be easier, faster, and cheaper! If you systemize 2 processes a month, that's 24 processes a year - this will increase profits and better position you for growth.
  11. Use Remote Workers. Only pay for what you use. Every staff member not only costs a salary, but also a chair, a desk, a computer, power, square footage, coffee in the kitchen etc. By using remote workers and contractors, you'll save money in many ways.  
  12. Learn to Delegate. Work on your business, not in it. As a CEO or business owner, you should be spending at least 80% of your time working on growing, managing high level sales, systemizing, trimming, and strategic planning. Are you spending too much time on menial tasks and grunt work that can be delegated? If so, learn to delegate (or use independent contractors) as this will free your time to concentrate on the big picture: Growing your business to the next level and making it profitable! 

CEO Advisor is an expert in helping companies grow to the next level. Contact Mark Hartsell today at (949) 759-8676 or email him at MHartsell@CEOAdvisor.comfor a free initial consultation.

Making Your Company Attractive to Strategic Partnerships
One of the most overlooked sources of leads for any small business is the rich pool of non-competing businesses that serve the same target market.

 

Identifying a group of "best of class" providers in your market and finding ways to gain access to their customer base is one of the quickest ways to flood your business with new opportunities.

For the right business, a strategy devised to make your business irresistible to potential strategic partners may indeed produce the greatest ROI of any marketing activity. Below is a systematic approach for doing just that.
  • Discover - Identify the partners you would like to attract. You may be able to find some of these potential matches from your own experience and research, but your customers can also be a great source of suggestions. Ask them about other businesses they like doing business with.
  • Recruit - Now that you have your initial list of candidates, it's time to reach out and introduce yourself and your idea for partnering. Instead of simply cold calling, reach out and ask them to show you the best way to introduce them to your customers. If you are recruiting potential partners that your clients recommended, make the common connection between your shared customers a starting point. When you make this type of invitation you get their attention in a way that is potentially beneficial to them. This can make all the difference in helping you stand out.
  • Ignite - You should now have a handful of potential strategic partners interested in telling you more about their business and open to allowing the same from you. If you want to ignite your strategic relationships then come to the table with a winning, prepackaged way for them to immediately benefit, while introducing you to their customers.
  • Promote - The last step is to find ways to promote your partners and make them glad they got on board with your program. Create opportunities for them to meet your customers; teach them how to create content and promote; provide a blog for all your partners and allow them to contribute posts related to their field; put together events and allow them to make presentations and invite guests. 

When you take this platform approach to partnering you go from being a nice idea they may get around to some day to an irresistible marketing partner they can't stop raving about.

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Whether it is growing a business to the next level, turning a distressed company around or preparing a company for an exit, Mark's firm, CEO Advisor, Inc, provides a broad range of services and Mark is there for the CEO every step of the way."

 


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Haynes & Boone, LLP

Words of Wisdom


"It's not the hours you put in your work that counts, it's the work you put in the hours."

 

Sam Ewing

Business Journalist


Prime Minister of the U.K.