Tightening up

There’s a national financial institution that’s running an advertising campaign around the slogan, “Money is not the end of worry. It is the beginning.”

While most people would tend to agree with this statement, business owners must face its reality every day.

We’ve always filled our pages with advice on what to do with your money — how to hire, how to expand, and how to market, to name a few. Over the last few months, however, we’ve been covering another aspect of money in order to meet what we’ve observed is a growing concern among our readers: How to cut back.

This month, you’ll find examples in many of the stories, including “Going lean”. As we cover cost-cutting measures, there is one philosophy in particular that we try to present: Businesses that are prudent in their hiring practices are less likely to cut costs by cutting staff. It’s not just about hiring only when there’s a critical need; it’s about hiring people who know how to retain their value.

Chances are good your salespeople already know how — they’ve been trained to earn their keep. If they don’t, they won’t get paid. That’s their modus operandi.

What we’ve found as we cover this topic more frequently is that savvy business owners know they must charge every employee, not just their sales reps, with the responsibility of earning their keep. But just like sales reps know what they are costing their companies vs. the revenue they are bringing in, all employees should have the benefit of knowing what costs they incur in their daily jobs.

Last month, you may have read about the truck driver who realized he and his passengers were adding several hundred pounds in freight costs a year by not vacating the truck when it weighed at the dump site. It was a simple realization that may have saved the company hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars. But his suggestion wasn’t offered until making suggestions was made a mandatory part of his job.

Asking employees to offer suggestions for cutting overhead or material costs is perhaps even simpler than taking the responsibility on yourself or giving it to your managers. Employees know subtleties of their jobs that owners could never be aware of.

It’s often as simple as opening the truck door and stepping out. Connie Swenson ([email protected]) is editor of SBN Magazine.