To The Daily Sun,
I've operated a business with employees and independent contractors for more than 40 years. There's a good chance if you're reading this, you either work for a company, manage one or are the owner.
If you're a business owner or manager, allow me to ask you, what do you think the most valuable asset is in your company? Did you answer your customers? Wrong. Would you say all your inventory? I doubt it. How about the real estate and buildings that make up your company? No way. I'm willing to bet that your employees are the most valuable thing you have. They're the gears inside the money machine that's your business. Don't believe me? Imagine if they all decided not to show up for a day, a week or even a month. Could your business survive?
If I've now convinced you that your employees are the No. 1 thing you should be thinking about, let's answer some questions.
When was the last time you told your employees they were doing a fantastic job? Do you tell them this on a regular basis? When was the last time you recognized work and dedication above and beyond the scope of what that employee is supposed to do? Do you give your employees periodic cost-of-living raises? How about merit pay increases? Do you give your employees Christmas bonuses? Say it ain't so that you're a modern-day Scrooge! Oh, I hear you. You're screaming you can't afford all that lavish extra expenditure on your most valuable asset.
Let me tell you a quick true story that shows you how you might be able to reward great employees, motivate them to do even better and hire away the best employees from your competitors.
Years ago I was a custom homebuilder. Each week Carl, the lumberyard salesman, would visit my job site. He'd give me just three flat carpenter's pencils. "Carl, we work hard here and use up more than three. I need more pencils."
"Tim, I'm only allowed to give you three."
That day at lunch I sat down with my pencil and did some grade school math. Two days later I knew I had to go to the lumberyard and I hunted around for John, the general manager.
"John, why am I only getting three pencils per week?"
"Tim, they cost lots of money. If you saw how much I spent on pencils for you guys, you'd be shocked."
"I need pencils. Let me ask you a question or two. How many 2 by 4 by 8's do you sell a year?"
"I can't tell you that."
"I thought so. My guess is $1.2 million."
"How many sheets of one-half-inch plywood do you sell?"
"Tim, that's secret information."
"I thought so. I'm guessing you sell about 945,000 sheets."
John was visibly shaken because my numbers were extremely accurate. I was able to get close because I knew how many delivery trucks he had, how much would fit on each truck and how many deliveries on average he could do in a week.
"John, you charge me $1.76 for a 2 by 4 and $9.43 for a sheet of plywood. Do you think if you charged me $1.77 and $9.44 I'd stop buying?
I walked away not angry, but allowing all that to soak into John's head. He was not a stupid man. Ten days later, cases of carpenter pencils were delivered to my house with a thank you note.
If you own or manage a business, you need to figure out how to increase your revenue to not only take care of your most valuable asset, but still remain competitive. It's possible with most businesses, but not all.
Christmas is just around the corner. If you're a modern day Scrooge, you've got plenty of time to redeem yourself. In the movie, Scrooge redeemed himself in just a few hours.
Remember this saying always: Excuses are reasons for failure.
- Category: Letters
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