What can you take out of a business and leave it better than it was before?
How can you remove something very basic and yet have the business generate more income then it could before?
The answer is Time. Take out Time.
If a product or service takes too long to get from an idea stage to fruition, or from the store-room into the customer’s hands, it’s costing you money. Find ways of speeding things up in any business and you are automatically raising your income and success.
Working with a City of London broker in the mid-90s, I succeeded in quadrupling company turnover within a year through careful streamlining of the entire sales procedure, and by installing production monitoring systems which cut out wasted time.
As the consultant for a musical equipment rental company I increased company turnover and profitability by 33% within a year, by training key executives in the use of productivity monitoring systems and cutting out wasted time.
In one of Northern Ireland’s largest chiropractic clinics, by removing unnecessary slows and hindrances to patient care, I helped to increase throughput from an average of 200 patients per week to 500 patients per week with the resultant massive upsurge in income.
All of these successes were based on taking out unnecessary time and wasted energies.
How is this done?
You have ask: 'What is slowing my business down?'
Your success in these difficult economic times is not assured simply because you’ve been in business for a while or you’ve reached a certain size.
Older companies can go out of business overnight; new companies can go from start-up to a turnover of billions within a year.
The key to success is how fast you can get ideas into operation, and how speedily you can deliver.
This involves bigger risks sometimes too -but isn’t the biggest risk to your business surely that it can go bust?
In the case of the City of London broker described above, the traditional approach of assessing situations and working methodically through each phase of the business would have proven too slow in a very competitive market. Making cuts in operations, then changing marketing, then making improvements in product lines could have taken weeks. What the company was marketing was a viable and worthwhile product already -so it was simply a case of getting that product into customers’ hands faster.
Streamlining the complete sales procedures, and installing simple production monitoring systems cut out most of what was slowing things down. Within a week, employees had a straightforward method to follow, a paperwork system which meant that no time was wasted in searching for documents, and a team backing up sales which meant that the product was dispatched within an hour.
Far more actual work got done. Income rocketed.
It’s all about the speed of implementation and delivery.
Speed of Implementation
What is the speed of implementation? You can look at it two ways:
1. It’s the time between the moment you learn of a new concept, or come up with one of your own, and when you put it into action. Success comes from finding ways to minimize the time between learning something new and trying it out.
Successful people don’t wait or over-analyse -they know that there isn’t time to make sure every idea will work or figure out what every ramification will be. Fear of failure isn’t strong enough to stop them.
Many of the ideas you try may not work. But if you learn from mistakes faster, you will have more successes in business and in life. The more mistakes you make – as long as you don’t repeat them – the closer you’ll be to getting it right.
2. It’s also the time between the customer wanting something from you and them getting it.
The big success behind internet companies like Amazon.com is that they minimised the time it took to move from browsing online to actually placing an order, and then to receiving the product. Result? Multi-billions of income flowing to them from all over the world.
There are various ways of applying this to any business. Walk through the line a customer takes as they enter the place. Look out for anything which gets in the way or which slows down a purchase and then a delivery. If your business provides a service, how fast is that service rendered? Actually go through it and look. Then remove any of the slows or organise things better so that things happen faster.
This is what happened with the chiropractor in Northern Ireland. On my advice, he assumed the viewpoint of a patient arriving for an appointment. By actually walking through the whole procedure he found at least six steps where he himself was delaying or slowing down the service to that patient -unnecessary talking, the positioning of furniture and equipment, the administrative paperwork being done in the right sequence and using pre-prepared forms, and so on. By adjusting each one of these things slightly, he was able to more than double the number of patients he serviced in a week.
His income went way up.
Don’t hide or ignore mistakes -acknowledge them, learn from them, and move on to greater income and profits.