Finding the money piles hidden in your business.

0622_money_630x420You may not know this, but there are piles of money hidden all over your business.  One of my favorite parts of doing what I do with business owners and leaders is helping them find the hidden money piles scattered all around their organizations.  Every business has them.

The challenge is finding where they’re hidden, and then doing something about it.  In this post I’ll share some insight into where to look for the piles.

Let the hunt begin!

Half the battle in getting better is determining where to focus.  If you don’t know where to look it’s hard to improve.  Fortunately, the money piles are not all that hard to uncover once you know where to search for them.

The first place to find the money is your budget.  Where you spend the most is often where you have the most opportunity to save.  If your organization is like most, your top budget item is people.  My advice is to stay away from that line item (getting better is not usually about laying people off) and move on to other line items that will typically focus on operating expenses.  What do you spend the most on?  Who do you spend the most with?  These are a few questions to use as you begin to uncover opportunities to save.

A second pile of money can be found in your metrics, you know, those numbers you use to measure the performance of your business’ key processes.  A simple way of finding the cash here is to focus on where you have gaps between where you want to be and where you currently are.  Those gaps tend to be filled with cash.

A third stack is about as close to your desk as you can get, which is documented in your team’s goals and your own personal goals.  These dollars are the ones closest to your heart so they will most likely bring out a passion for improvement unlike the other stacks of cash.  What are you and your team working on that is important to the overall goals of the business?  What are you most passionate about fixing?  What tugs at your heart and mind when you’re not at work?  These are all questions that may lead to some of the most meaningful opportunities to get better at what you do.

A final stack of cash that may not be the biggest, but is certainly the most annoying (assuming piles of cash could annoy anyone:-)) are those nagging issues that seem to come up every day that may not be the biggest challenges, but just don’t go away, and have to be dealt with just to keep the business operating.  These “pain points” can be small stacks of cash that could be viewed as those getting in the way of the bigger stacks you’d like to scoop up, but don’t have the time to get after.  These could be quality issues with incoming product, invoicing problems with customers, vendor on-time deliveries, paperwork issues (i.e. forms), etc.  They’re small issues that can’t be ignored, and they take time away from the important stuff you’d like to be working on.

Get in attack mode today!

One quick way to start attacking these potential stacks of cash is to spend the next four weeks sniffing out each of the stacks.  This is a good Friday kind of thing that my clients like to use to finish off their weeks on a high note by finding a stack of cash to get after.

Fridays in most organizations tend to be a little laid back so this is a great “casual” exercise you can spend Friday afternoons hunting and then sorting through the opportunities to determine what to attack starting Monday.  Focus on one stack each Friday and by the end of the four weeks you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get after, and in no time you’ll be counting the money that was once hidden.

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