Profit is a lovely thing!
You can do so much with it; grow your business, hire some great people, buy some new equipment, get ahead of your debts… and lots more besides.
But if profit is a dirty word at your business you might like to think about what you’re thinking about.
Before we even get to the 3 things that stop you from making profit let’s get rid of any negative thinking about it…
The media and “battlers” beat up on banks and big corporate for making “obscene” profits. Do you think it is “obscene” for a business to make a profit? How much is too much? How much would you be comfortable with in your business? Hmmm… is it possible you have a double standard blocking you from making more profit?
Do you actually know how much profit your business makes or do you leave that up to your bookkeeper or accountant to work out for you? You really shouldn’t! If you kept a good eye on your finances, including reading your Profit and Loss statements each month you’d get a better handle on it.
After you’ve cleaned up any negative beliefs and habits around profit you might like to tackle these profit leaks:
1. Giving your customers discounts even when they don’t ask for it.
Discounting your prices to make a sale will severely erode your profit. If you offer discounts, understand why you have a discount policy and how it fits with the pricing structure of your business. Giving discounts based on your “mark-up” will be killing your profit but, if you must discount, the price should be worked out on your “margin”.
2. Letting your team get away with murder; killing your business with unproductivity
If you’re the kind of business owner who “likes to be liked” you may not be holding your team to the high standards you would really prefer for the business. You don’t have to be a grumpy tyrant to get the best from your team, but you do need to set some expectations and have a way of measuring performance. You may need to set some KPI’s.
If you’ve employed people to work for you, hold them more tightly accountable to their role. Sales people should have strategies and targets and be able to proudly report their weekly and monthly progress to you. Admin people should be able to prove their effectiveness. Marketing people should be bringing you high quality leads.
The Production Team; people who deliver services like accountants, technicians and trades people are billed for their time. Make sure you track their billable hours, track “write-offs” and Work in Progress (WIP) to make sure you are getting good value from your employees.
Train, motivate and reward the good ones, increase productivity and consider moving the poor performers out.
3. Getting side-tracked or bored
Distraction and disillusionment will have an increasing negative impact on the bottom line.
As a business owner it is your responsibility to lead your business. You’ll need clarity of direction and strategies to get there. When was the last time you dusted off your business plan? When was the last time you shared it with the team so they know where the business is headed and how their role fits with that? Have you got a Business Plan or is it time for an update?
Identify your best profit making activities in your plan then work your plan daily. If your plan doesn’t drive you and keep you interested and excited then it’s probably the wrong plan for you. Or you might have taken on the role of general dogsbody and trouble-shooter. You’re wearing too many hats! Work out what you’re good at, what the most profitable use of your time is and do that.
A really good plan will help you lean towards the outcomes you want and attract the things that are going to be of most benefit to your business. If you feel yourself getting distracted, go back to the plan, put daily activities in your diary that are consistent with the plan and be disciplined in your approach to getting tasks done.