Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Human Time and Energy as Logistically Limiting Factor is Markting Secret 26/101

Your time and your employee time is Marketing Issue
1440, 168, 365.  We all get exactly the same amount:  Minutes in a day, hours in a week, days in a year.  How we allocate those hours and the human energy that we are able to expend effectively during those hours are a huge determinant of success. 

Many owners are far more aware of the human time and energy component of the business when applying it to their employees.  It can be frustrating to see your staffers working inefficiently, at a slow pace, without enthusiasm, or even wasting time on personal calls or Facebook.  And these few are just the tip of the iceberg that might include time clock abuse, overstaying breaks, or even sleeping on the job. 

Maximizing the productivity of line and staff employees is both art and science and can be a make or break factor in the bottom line results.  Dialing in the expectations of hourly output that will produce a profitable results while maintaining quality may require 100's of hours of study and tweaking to manage.  And while you are working on those two components, you have to take into consideration the raw talent and limitations of different personalities to various kinds of pressures. 

Now turn and apply all those very same criteria to your own work day.  Hard to admit, but you have limitations on your skills and talents.  You, too, are prone to waste time with online games, meaningless tasks, or jobs that you should be delegating.  You are like anyone else in the building, in that your personality has an effect on motivation, endurance, and raw output.

Let's dial all this into the real world.  You have a great product or service.  Your pricing provides industry standard margins or better.  Your visibility is good enough and enough business is coming in the door.  But you keep running out of money before you run out of  month.  Or in simple accounting terms, you're losing your shirt.  In that case, the first shirt you want to examine is your own.  Are there any sweat stains from your maximizing of your own personal potential.  Are you training yourself in new skills, training others to do jobs you should not be doing, and efficiently producing the highest level work product that you possibly can in the fewest hours?  And are you getting needed rest so you can do it all again the next day.

Once you have re engineered your day in such a way that your manager, if you had one, would give you extremely high marks, you have earned the right to expect the same from others.  You will definitely set the tone on this dimension.  If you are lax in your own habits, you empower everyone else to take the same lax approach.  If you are full of energy and bouncing off the walls, but perceived to be all energy and no production, your people will follow you right off the cliff.

Is this a common problem among owners of small businesses? Absolutely. Is there also a major issue of setting expectations of staff based on realistic output? Yes. In almost every business.

At this stop on the cruise ship marketing, we can only touch on the subject of productivity as it effects business results.  But hopefully you can use this stop on the tour to take a hard look at your own habits and those of your crew to determine if there might be ways to dramatically increase output per hour and dollar.

Action steps for day 26:
  1. How much of your low sales and profit numbers are due to your own behavior?
  2. Are you making your expectations for productivity clear to your employees?
  3. Are you creating incentives for yourself and others to hit goals? 
  4. Are your goals too harsh or too easy? How did you reach your standards?
  5. Decide what productivity issues are important to your sales and profits
  6. Run testing to see what a reasonable standard is
  7. Meet with your management team or even the entire staff to discuss realistic goals and to plan methods for reaching or exceeding those goals, including incentives

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