How many yellow sticky notes can you juggle before they mysteriously start crawling away? In desperation, you start doing things the same way each time and voila you’ve developed a system! Let’s take it to the next level; actively search for routines you can systematize.
Save YourSelf. It’s your business so the benefits of more saved time, energy, and money will flow to you.
Time. By doing things the same way each time, you have the tools, forms, and answers closer to-hand saving you time. You’ll spend less time tweaking the tools, finding the forms, and searching for solutions. Systems can be trained into employees, so you’ll be able to delegate confidently, leaving you to spend that time elsewhere.
Energy. Let’s face it; it’s exhausting making dozens of decisions and creating new ideas every day. Systematizing may improve those numbers to a more energizing level.
Money. Also you’ll save money. When you’ve created systems, you can spend less money paying for customization, special skills, and training. Starbucks delivers high quality, high value, high priced products, yet delivers it with minimum wage employees. Using systems, you’ll be able to measure and fine tune your results. Only through repetition can you hone your skills to see where faster, cheaper, better results can be achieved.
Here’s an example. When I meet new people, I use a simple follow up system.
1) I send them a hand written note card so they’ll remember me. I have blank cards, stamps, and an assistant to help make this fast, easy, and meaningful.
2) My intern enters them immediately into my contact management system. So if I need to follow up by phone or email, they’re in my iphone quickly.
3) I add details about their interests next time we meet. Thus, I can learn what they’re interested in, so I can make suggestions or referrals and remember what’s important to them.,
4) I send them emails of my upcoming events, seminars, and socials; but only if I think they’d be interested.
5) About the 4th or 5th time I ‘chat’ with someone, I have an idea if any of my services or products would make sense to them so I can make a helpful offer rather than an intrusive sales pitch.
6) Once a week, I look for my ‘network’ of connected people using Internet social networking services LinkedIn and Facebook. I get notices of their profiles being updated (new job, new project, new interest). I compliment, congratulate, commiserate or contribute in a meaningful way depending on what’s happening in their lives.
7) I use referral groups like PRE (professional Referral Exchange, LEADS and WIN (Women in Networking) to meet, connect with, and find referrals for others.
This system steadily increases the ‘connectedness’ I have with ever larger number of people. It becomes easier to spend my time and energy thinking of ways to really help people since my system handles the mechanical part of deciding when and how to connect and keeps the tools near to hand.
If you are looking for better systems to connect to more entrepreneurs in a meaningful way to build your business, ask me about the new Greater Reading Chamber’s LEADS program or a group in your area. Drop me an email or give me a call.
Now stop reading about Saving yourself Time Energy and Money and start doing! Let’s create YOUR personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at email@example.com.
Smart small business owners are finding ways of cost cutting in their businesses. You don’t have to be struggling to think cost cutting is a good idea in this recession. If you want to thrive not just survive, here’s a system for cutting costs with just a little time.
These days it’s cool to be a cost cutter. Profitable business owners are cutting costs as prevention against possible decreases in sales so they can preserve cash. Struggling business owners, already seeing sales decreases, are cutting costs to keep going. Either way, here’s an easy, foolproof system.
Spend just 10 minutes a day and contribute thousands to your bottom line.
- Create an excel spreadsheet of all known recurring and expected one-time costs. Separate out monthly, quarterly/yearly, and emergency spending expectations. Don’t try t make it a budget; just write down recurring items and their approximate monthly cost.
- Write a goal. Here’s an example. “I want to cut $2,000 a month from my operating costs by Jan 31.”
- Think of 3 specific items you believe have immediate cost cutting potential. Write them down on ‘My Cost Cutting Success List’. This will be your focus list. Write them as an action verb and cost cutting target amount. Example: “Install thermostatic timers in warehouse to save $150/month. “
- Create a list of 10 items you are thinking about cutting after your initial focus list. Do not number or prioritize this list, just put down your ideas.
- Post your ‘My Cost Cutting Success List’ where you’ll see it every day. Put it on your desktop, on your refrigerator, in your day timer.
- Put time on your calendar to make it happen. Schedule yourself a half-hour twice a week to take action.
- Work on one item on your focus list at a time. Make the phone calls, research lower cost alternatives, make a decision. Drive an item to completion.
- Delegate where you can. Maybe an employee can research alternative credit card processors and send you the links or make a file. Perhaps a spouse can call and cancel an ineffective advertising service.
- If you get stalled, work on the second item. Sometimes you have to send in something by mail or wait a week for a response. Don’t get stalled; that’s why there are 3 items on your focus list.
- When you finish an item, put a checkmark next to your completed item. Update the amount saved if different from your initial projection.
- Relish the accomplishment for a day or more. Don’t take the item off the list for a little while. Reward yourself with a feeling of accomplishment by seeing your success the next few times you look at your list.
- After a few days, Move the Completed cost cutting item down to the Cost Cutting Success List. This is important; you’ll see your efforts pile up so your small efforts will result in big results.
- Pull an item from your wish list that you think has the biggest, easiest to implement cost cutter. Write it on your focus list.
- Add items to your wish list as you read, talk to friends, think about your cost cutting progress. Now that you are in action on cost cutting, you’ll have ideas showing up in your life. Just jot them down on your ‘My Cost Cutting Success List.’
- Get a partner. Most exercise programs are more successful with a partner. Find someone to bounce ideas with, share your success, and get inspiration. Call them and share a success or get encouragement.
In just 10 minutes a day, you can cut your business costs by thousands of dollars. This system is foolproof! Call me if you want help getting started or for a copy of your ‘My Cost Cutting Success List’ Worksheet.
Merra Lee Moffitt, AWMA, CMFC, CFP® spends all day, everyday helping business owners reach their financial dreams and goals by capturing business profits. She can be found at, 888-920-2030 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In good times and bad, it is always a good idea to look over your business costs. Keeping an eye on the bottom line means watching both the income and the expenses. Here are the hottest ideas my clients are implementing right now.
- Get rid of your long distance provider. VoIP has come of age; the reception is clearer and reliability is greater than even a couple years ago. A number of my clients have removed their home/business land-line phones in favor of VoIP phones and cell phones. The VoIP phone works fine as long as your Internet is up. Check out Skype or Broadvoice. We use BroadVoice Unlimited World Plus at www.broadvoice.com.
- Put in a thermostatic timer. Heat your house/office/home office to 62 at night and your home office to 68 only during the morning and evening hours when you are using the whole house. If you sit in an office during the day, just run a small electric heater in that room with the door mostly closed. The cost of running a portable 1500 watt space heater for about 5 hours daily during a 30-day month is $9 (at a typical 10 cents Kw/Hr). A heat pump covering the whole house can be 10 times that much. See http://home.howstuffworks.com/question272.htm.
- Check your credit card processor. Generally, a 2% fee is pretty good. If you are paying substantially over that, you may be paying too much. A good, quick explanation of fees can be found at: http://transfs.com/blog/2008/11/06/nytimes-covers-credit-card-fees-impact-on-small-business/
- Save on Gas. The website below shows the daily price for fuel in your area by zip code. http://autos.msn.com/everyday/GasStationsBeta.aspx. The difference in our area between the highest and lowest was 29 cents a gallon, about $5.80 per fill up if you have a 20 gallon tank such as a business Small van or SUV.
- Avoid new debt. Companies that fail to control costs often increase debt. The interest cost and monthly payment on that debt then becomes another cost, which cuts further into profits. Catch the trend early by watching your business dashboard. See my article on business dashboards at http://www.captureprofits.com/your_business_dashboard.html.
- Barter. It not only helps you conserve your cash, but can help sell more of your products or services. Join a barter network, such as Corporate Barter Network at http://corporatebarteronline.com/ and you have thousands of businesses that trade between each other.
- Ask your employees. Your employees know the ins and outs of your business and are often willing to share. You don’t have to pay a lot for their ideas. Simple gifts like a box of cookies with public recognition will help your employees feel appreciated. Don’t be afraid to ask them for fear of spreading concern; a good business owner is always looking to be more profitable. A suggestion box with forms nearby will make it convenient. It may take a couple months for them to supply you with ideas, but keep reinforcing it and they’ll catch on if the spirit is positive.
- Track your costs. Set aside time each month to look at costs with an eye to finding some area, no matter how small, along with a willingness to keep an open mind. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find each month.
- One step at a time. Pick one thing to do each month. Small business owners already had a full time job before taking on cost cutting. Also, while very important, you don’t want to take so much time that sales suffer.
It has become very trendy to be a cost cutting business owner. Join the trend and see your business profits improve even if your sales are not.
Merra Lee Moffitt, AWMA, CMFC, CFP® spends all day, everyday business owners reach their financial dreams and goals by capturing small business profits. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at email@example.com.