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Get Organized & Double Your Business

20 Apr, 2009 By: Jim Kahrs imageSource

Get Organized & Double Your Business

When I ask dealers what their goals are for the coming months and even years, I typically get responses such as, “I want to grow the business by 25%” or “we’re looking to double the size of the business. Unfortunately, few dealers are experiencing the level of growth they
want.  The reasons given are many, ranging from the economy to product issues, or even to “lazy or unskilled employees.”

When looking closely at dealerships on both sides of the equation, those growing and those not, I can tell you that there are some basic similarities shared by companies meeting their goals.  The good news is that because they are basic, it doesn’t take a nuclear physicist to
apply them.  So, how do you get your company on a path of continuous growth each year? 

As a consulting and training group we work with office systems dealers to implement a system developed by L. Ron Hubbard, acclaimed author, administrator and, interestingly enough, nuclear physicist trained at Geo. Washington University. One principle outlined in the Hubbard
Management System states,  “What it takes to make an organization go right is the intelligent assessment of what really needs to be done; setting those as targets and getting them,  actually,  fully DONE.”             There are many things that could be done that would not lead
to improvement.  It’s wise to look at the fundamentals to avoid lost time wasted on fruitless results.

For Example

Have you ever had an employee that just couldn’t prioritize their work?  Instead of spending time on things that really need to be done they squandered their time on insignificant tasks.  Common examples of this are reports that take hours to produce yet are never used, or
meetings that don’t have a specific purpose.  This is not to say that you should stop creating and using management reports or discontinue all meetings, but rather that you should make sure that the reports and meetings are things that really need to be done.

Consider a parts manager who spent time analyzing obsolete parts inventory while incomplete service calls and overnight parts orders went up dramatically.  The parts manager should have been evaluating card stocks and putting a plan in place to remedy this problem. Intelligent
assessment identifies what is important and what is not, and is where good leadership and management really shines.

When you decide to start your assessment of an area, the easiest way to begin is by defining the area’s expected products.  In our management system, it’s defined as “a completed cycle of  action,”  which can then be represented as having been done.  Every area of your
dealership has specific things that it must produce. For a sales rep it would include closed sales, for a service technician it would include completed service calls, for an accounts receivable clerk it would include invoices collected, and for a sales administrator it would
include orders billed.  When you define the products for each area you can see what really needs to be done to get these products in volume.  If you or your staff members have trouble defining the products for an area, then you may have time being spent on things that aren’t
really needed. 

Setting Targets

With reference to  above, would you think a sales rep delivering toner is doing something that really needs be done to get a sale?  In most cases the answer would be no, yet this happens daily in some dealerships.  There are  a million things that can be done that don’t
really need to be - the key is to identify them and get the focus back on to those things that will lead to better production. After deciding, you move on to, “setting targets & getting them actually, fully DONE.”  Targets are set by first identifying the actions that lead to
production.  For example, a sales rep needs to make prospect calls, schedule appointments and present proposals in order to close sales.  Targets can be set for each of these areas.  These targets could be to complete 25 prospect calls per day, two appointments per day and three
proposals per week.  Remember that these targets must be “actually, fully DONE!” 

Real Examples

You are trying to figure out why you haven’t been able to hire the new sales reps you need.  You start by assessing what really needs to be done for you to get the sales reps on board.  First you would need a way to bring in candidates.  Next you would need to interview the
candidates and narrow the choices down.  Then you would have to hire the best ones and get them trained.  You can get candidates by asking your current employees for referrals, advertising in local newspapers and having recruiters send you candidates.  So you work out a plan with
the sales manager and set the following targets; meet with each employee by next Friday to ask them personally for referrals, have ads placed in the three local newspapers by Thursday, and get a contract with a local recruiter by Tuesday.  You then set a recurring target to
interview three candidates a week.  As the sales manager’s senior, check back with him to make sure that each of these targets was met in the allotted timeframe. I encountered another example while working with a dealer that had trouble with collections.  More than 35% of their
accounts receivables were older than 60 days.  In assessing the area I found that they were not mailing out statements, that the accounts receivable clerk had called less than 10% of the past due accounts, and that no one was monitoring this from a management level.  From this
assessment it was determined that they needed to start sending out statements, needed a tracking system for calls made and a reporting systems for management to see what was actually being done.

We set some key targets.  The first target established was to have statements printed and mailed to all accounts with an open balance on the 15th of each month.  The next target was to have the accounts receivable clerk call every account that is past due at least once a
month.  From here the A/R clerk was to begin tracking these activities through the dealership’s management software.  All contacts were to be documented and reported to the accounting manager.  Once a contact was made all follow up activities were to be entered as future calls
and completed on time. From here the accounting manager required a report of all calls made and invoices collected.  Because the activities were being entered into the management software it was very easy to verify compliance with the targets and monitor each step of the process,
account by account.  After just a couple of months, accounts receivables older than 60 days decreased to 25% and continued to come down from there. 

Just assess the area, set targets and make sure they are completed on time; it can be that simple.

Jim Kahrs is Founder & President of Prosperity Plus Management Consulting, Inc.  and works with companies in the office systems industry improving organization structure; the company also provides promotion and marketing programs and assistance with mergers &  acquisitions.
Contact (631) 382-7762 or jkahrs@prosperityplus.com.

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