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Get Organized & Double Your Business: In other words, reposition for solution success

26 Feb, 2008 By: Jim Kahrs, PPMC imageSource

Get Organized & Double Your Business: In other words, reposition for solution success

When I ask dealers what their goals are for the coming months and years, I
typically get these responses: “I want to grow the business by 25%” or “We’re
looking to double the size of the business.” If you’re taking time from your
busy schedule to read this article then I assume you too have goals to grow your
business. Unfortunately, very few dealers are experiencing the real level of
growth that they want. The reasons given are many, ranging from today’s economy
to problems with products, or even having “lazy 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, because they are basic it doesn’t take a nuclear
physicist to apply them! Therefore, how do you get your company on a path of
continuous growth, year in and year out?

As a consulting and training group (we work with office systems dealers to
implement the Hubbard Management System developed by

L. Ron Hubbard, the world acclaimed author and, interestingly enough, nuclear
physicist. One of the principles outlined in the 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 actually getting them fully

Sounds simple doesn’t it? The first part of this principle states that it
takes “intelligent assessment of what really needs to be done.” There are a
million things that could be done that would not lead to improvement in the
business. Have you ever had an employee that just couldn’t prioritize their
work? Instead of spending time on things that really needed 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 strategic or 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.

Another example would be a Parts Manager who spends time analyzing obsolete
parts inventory while incomplete service calls and overnight parts orders
increase dramatically. The manager should have been evaluating stock and putting
a plan in place to remedy this problem. Intelligent assessment identifies what
is important and what is not, and this is where good leadership and management
really shine.

When starting the process of assessing an area, the easiest way to start is
by defining the expected products of each area. In our system, a product is
defined as “a completed cycle of action which then can 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 to be billed. When you define the products for each area, you can see
what really needs to be done to get these products in volume.

What You Need

If you or your staff members have trouble defining the products for an area,
this is probably a sign that time is being spent on things that aren’t really
needed. Do you think a top sales rep taking time to deliver toner is something
that is really needed to get a sale? In most cases the answer would be no, yet
this happens daily in some dealerships. As mentioned earlier, there are a
million things that could be done but don’t really need to be done; the key is
to identify them and put the focus back on those things that will lead to
further productivity.

Once deciding what needs to be done you then move on to “setting these as
targets and getting them fully done.” The first thing to look at here is the
meaning of targets. Our company’s system defines a target as “an objective that
one intends to accomplish within a given period of time.” It is critical to
business growth that a timeframe be assigned to these targets. When targets
don’t have a set time frame, they tend to drag on and on and lose that
“call-to-action” importance. Targets are best set by first identifying the
actions that lead to increased productivity. 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 one of these areas instead of just
generalized. These targets could be to complete 25 prospect calls per day, two
appointments per day, and one proposal per week. Once these targets are set they
must be completed to be effective.

Obviously, setting targets that never get done will not lead to improvement
in any area. The supervisor of the area must make sure that the targets are
being completed by the designated time, having the employee report back all
completed targets. This puts the majority of the burden on the staff, not the
managers. Managers must review, however, the performance from the employee’s
targets, and on a regular basis to catch those that have fallen through the
cracks, keeping their employees motivated and regularly accountable, besides
increasing the productivity that will lead to bigger profits.

Real World Examples

Okay, you are trying to figure out why you haven’t been able to hire those new
sales reps that you need. You start by assessing what really needs to be done 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: to meet with each employee
by Friday to ask them personally for referrals; have ads placed in the three
local newspapers by Thursday’s deadline; and get a contract with a local
recruiter within the week. You then set a regular, recurring target to interview
three candidates per week. Have the sales manager check on this to make sure
that each of these targets is met in the allotted time frame. I’ve implemented
this exact program with some of our clients and had great success. I’ve had
clients go from interviewing once every three weeks to a steady stream of three
per week. The increased selection of candidates always “leads” to better hires.
It’s great to have options.

Yet Another Example

I encountered another example while working with a dealer that had trouble with
collections. In this case, over 35% of their accounts receivables were older
than 60 days. In assessing this I found that they were not mailing statements
and yet the accounts receivable clerk had only called less than 10% of the past
due accounts! No one person was monitoring this from a management level;
therefore, a crucial area to the health of their business got overlooked. From
this assessment it was determined that they needed to regularly sent out
statements; needed a tracking system for calls made; and a reporting system for
management to oversee what was actually being done. My company set some key
targets. The first 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, and 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 are to be entered as future calls and completed on time. From here,
the accounting manager requires a report of all calls made and invoices
collected. Because the activities were/are being entered into the management
software, it is very easy to verify compliance with the targets while monitoring
each step of the process, account by account. In this particular case, within a
couple of months the accounts receivables older than60 days had come down to
25%,and continue to decrease.

So now, if you answered yes to the title of this story, you need to
concentrate on “intelligent assessment of what really needs to be done, set your
prime targets, and then follow through to actually get them done.” If you spend
time doing these steps* with each area of your dealership, you’ll reach those
growth goals that seem so elusive.

More information can be found at ITEX in Kahrs/Topinka session of
Repositioning Your Company for Solutions Success scheduled for Feb 22nd in Las
Vegas. Jim Kahrs is the Founder and President of Prosperity Plus Management
Consulting, Inc, working with companies in the office systems industry to
improve organization structure using the Hubbard Management System. PPMC
delivers management training workshop, working with dealers one on one to
develop programs & strategies. At (631) 382-7762 or

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