You’ve heard it. “You have to work yourself out of a job?” Well, that’s wrong. Not only wrong, but it causes many to under perform. You can’t just work yourself out of a job, so you can do nothing. No, you grow your business by working yourself into your next job. That’s the process of organizational development. Here are my thoughts.
Most small businesses are started by someone who knows how to make something or do something. And most think they’ll figure out the business part later. Some do and some don’t. But the process to grow is straightforward many fail to grasp.
Start with one person and open a digital print shop. Customer transmits a digital file to you, and they want to know two things. When can they have their work and how much will it cost? You tell them, and then process the job. That includes file manipulation, digital printing, any additional bindery operations, and possibly even physically delivering the job to the customer.
Then we realize that if only we had someone talking to customers, we could get a lot more done. So, we hire a Customer Service Representative to respond to emails, answer the phones, and greet the few walk-ins. This allows you time to produce more and we do, thus sales increase.
Then we recognize that we could get more done if only we had someone to help with bindery and delivery. So, we hire another person which frees us up to do even more of what you do best, file manipulation and design.
You may even add to your equipment which adds to your overhead costs but sales increase again since you can do more.
Then you add a part-time bookkeeper to keep up with the paperwork and, again, it frees you up to do the work of the work.
Sales continue to increase because you’re close to the customer, you are getting more jobs out since you have organized your people around functions, and now you have someone helping you get paid. Those happen to be the three major functions of business: Production (or operations), sales, and finance (bookkeeping).
We attracted sales through producing because demand exists. However, it only carries us only so far.
This is the producer stage.
Pillsbury is the classic example. They began milling flour and became the highest quality flour mill in Minnesota. That brought them business from far and wide, so they added capacity.
That was until additional capacity didn’t increase sales as it did before. Next, they realized they could go beyond Minnesota and sell to grain growers in Wisconsin and Iowa.
And they did. That began their selling phase of growth.
Now, they didn’t have to do that to make money. In fact, most printers don’t grow. For several reasons, they stay in the producer stage, leaving them dependent upon their top twenty-five customers comprising 50 to 75 percent of their business.
Others begin to sell and grow larger top customers.
There’s a catch here though. We, who usually never have sold, hire someone to do it for us. That’s different because, unlike when we hired other employees, they were doing work we did thus allowing us more time to do what we did best.
Here, most have hardly ever visited a customer. So, we didn’t know what to expect from our new salesperson, how to direct them, or even how to solve problems they faced.
Now we could have previously freed up time so we would have time to sell and learn. We could have put someone in charge of producing and we would be able to supervise since we’ve done all that. In short, we could grow into the selling phase, grow our business, and make more money.
Or we get off the growth curve and make money where we were. Perhaps less overall, but we can make good money in the producer stage.
Growing the business means developing our organization. And, we are the ones who need to develop. That, in short, is how a business grows.
But you can’t be a good marketer unless you can sell. And you can’t sell unless you are first a good producer. And you can’t be a good producer unless you are organized.
Speaking of organizing, you may be interested in viewing “Time-Organize Around Functions, Not People.” To check it out, click over to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/982574573475895053
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Tom Crouser is chairman of CPrint International. Message him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call his cell (304) 541-3714.