Ahh August. Bright sun, warm breezes, panting dogs.
Some days it’s extra-hard to pull myself off the hammock and back to work. It takes all my I’m-the-boss-of-me discipline to move back to my office. Sometimes It helps to remind myself I’m not making money lying in that hammock. (Although mid-afternoon hammock breaks are a pretty nice perk.)
Which made me reflect on some of the work I’ve done with clients, finding profit in their businesses… money that was sitting there, waiting for them, like a juicy peach waiting to be plucked.
$30K, $42K, $150K… added to their business without a new product, program or promotion. Generated just by looking at the numbers and asking a couple of tough questions. Money they could basically make while swinging in a hammock.
For example, for one business we eliminated an expense, and put $42,000 annually back into the bank.
It was a corporate client for whom health & safety was a priority, and they were always looking for ways to reduce workplace injuries. A really admirable priority! In this particular case, the owner had an idea that mandatory daily yoga classes might help. So she hired a yoga instructor to come in for an hour every day and lead the employees in stretches.
However — because the yoga classes took place during working hours, she was basically paying all her employees to be there, as well as paying the yoga instructor to lead. I absolutely see the value of investing in employee health and wellness… but was this the most cost effective way to achieve that goal? I had to ask, was that the best use of $3500/month – the cost of the yoga instructor AND her team’s lost hours?
It turned out that teaching her work teams a few smart stretches they could do right at work sites saved the same backs, prevented just as many injuries, and a saved shipload of money. I.e. don’t buy a ship when you can cross the river in a rowboat. Oh, and added an hour a day of productivity time for each of her employees.
Along the same lines, I worked with another client who had invested in a fleet of Lincoln Town cars for his driving service. As it came time to replace the cars, I dared ask if there was a lower cost option. Did it HAVE to be Lincoln Town cars – or was there a way to save money with a less expensive model that provided the same customer experience? The choice of the Lincolns wasn’t a business decision as much as a story he was telling himself – that luxury service could only come in a Lincoln. It turns out Toyota Avalons provided the same level of luxury for $15,000 less every year! He could shift his story without compromising his service, and generate $15,000 x 10 cars more profit. A whole lot more than chump change added to the bottom line.
Another client DID have to leave the hammock and add a new service. So yeah, I’m stretching the metaphor with this one. HOWEVER, it was still a matter of looking at the numbers and asking smart questions. This was a local guy, who spent his winters clearing snow and his summers installing backyard equipment like playsets, trampolines and basketball nets. We saw an opportunity to capitalize on his specialized expertise AND the equipment he already owned by adding a new fall & spring service: installing and removing backyard ice rinks.
This service provided a brand new source of revenue with really just labor expense: he’s up to about $30,000 of ice rink business annually now. Plus it was a “twofer” he solved the cash flow problem he’d faced each year when he was “between seasons”. AND for many clients, it was an add-on service, so it was up and running right away.
This is the work that I love to do… finding money hiding right inside people’s businesses without necessarily overhauling what they do or how they do it. To see their eyes go wide at discovering $30K, $42K, $150K… well that’s DEFINITELY worth getting out of the hammock for.
Is there profit hiding in your business that you’re just not seeing? Get my eyes on it at Profit Matters Bootcamp in September. It’s our chance to find and fix money leaks so you keep more of what you make.
And more profit means less work, and more time in the hammock, right? Just think about it…