2017-07-06 / Columns

Business Owners Have Three Main Responsibilities

Think Outside, No Box Needed: Advice for Growing Your Business
By Jim Plouffe

I recently did a time management experiment by accident. Have you ever had so much to do that you couldn’t get started on anything? Me, too, and it makes me crazy. Everywhere I look, there is something to be done. It’s overwhelming, but it’s the way I’ve lived since I started my first business, when I was 20 years old. I’ve gotten used to it; what about you?

At the end of each day, I try to remember to ask myself this question: What have I done today to be productive? But before any of us can honestly answer that question, we first have to decide, for ourselves, what productivity is. Then we have to decide what it is for our employees.

I believe that as the owner you have just three responsibilities to focus on: Increasing sales, creating systems and processes that deliver what you sell, and increasing profits. If you are not focusing on one of these three things, then you should be aware you’re not focused on the right things that make you productive.

There are only two ways to increase your sales: Sell more to the current customer; that is called an up-sell. Every business should have an up-sell program and product. I would suggest that you have several of them at different price points. The reason that these are so important is that they increase sales without increasing overhead. When that happens, it automatically increases profits. The second way to increase sales is to create more new customers. Businesses need a constant flow of new clients and a system or process that produces them.

There are only two resources you have to build your business: your time and your money. Whatever you lack in either time or money, you will have to make up by utilizing the other. All systems and processes are designed to save either time, or money, or both. Most of us have never given it much thought, but selling our time or what we have created with our time is the only thing that gives us money to build more. Being aware that these are your only resources in business and life puts you ahead of most.

There are only four ways to increase your profits: increase your margins, increase your sales, decrease your expenses, or a combination of all three at the same time.

All three of the responsibilities of management are intertwined like spiraling stripes on a candy cane or an old barber’s pole. The better the owner is at producing all three, the higher up the spiral they will be.

Sales are connected customers. Customers are tied to profits. Profits are all about maintaining margins, and time and money are what you use to create systems and processes that deliver what you sell.

In the experiment I mentioned at the beginning of the article, here is what I did: I put all of my “to do lists” — yes, they were on several pieces of paper – into one file. I did that because I was traveling and thought that I would have time to consolidate them. I never did. But that file sat in my office for six months without me referring to it. Even without those “to do lists,” all of my important work got done, and the reason for that is that I know instinctively to focus on increasing sales, improving our system, and processing and controlling margins and expense.

If you focus on those three things, it won’t be an accident that your business grows and thrives.

Unhappy with the status quo and direction of your business? Jim does one-on-one business coaching and consulting. He is also available for speeches and training presentations to your company or organization. Call (906) 643-6643 or e-mail jim@ThinkOutsideNoBoxNeeded.c om.

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