Saving pennies or making dollars?
In my ongoing pursuit of developing 21st century drycleaners, I am quite often discouraged at how often management and ownership get in the way of growth.
My motto is “Developing Your People To Develop Your Business.” Sometimes this starts with you, the owner, or your leadership team.
This comes to the way you run routes — you either decide to make money or increase your chances of being out of business in the next five years.
The biggest hurdle I work on is getting people to be “constructive” minded versus “productive” minded.
Too often we are so focused on cutting costs that we get to a point where growth is impossible. Plus we examine efficiency in all our work and are quite often unhappy with our marketing results.
Building a route takes a little time, patience and investment. Many businesses cut their advertising budget when times get tough, but those who prevail and persevere beef up their marketing efforts in order to reach their goal.
But again, if you drain all the blood out of your business by working with a skeleton crew, then it becomes harder to “muscle up” when you are weak.
I have talked about this many times, but I feel that I have to bring it up again! Be constructive minded by focusing on forward motion, growth, and potential and striving to have million-dollar routes.
Yes, it takes money to grow, but your competitor is out there like a hungry lion, taking your customers away and nabbing other potential business.
You either sit on your hands and wait, or get out there and build your business. Yes — it is a business.
Quite often I see ownership working IN the business, not ON the business. It is a shame that some value themselves only as much as an $8 an hour employee. If you keep up that mindset, your business will close and then your competition can at least hire YOU for that much.
In addition, many routes fail due to a lack of a system. In the past three years, I have had to re-lay a foundation for many owners in order for growth to occur.
Unfortunately, many have failed in this area and don’t even realize that they are failing.
As I continue to develop our management group, the number-one focus is having a system that makes the management of the routes easier. “Organize or Agonize” is another way to put it.
A system involves operations, customer service, sales and marketing and, finally, accounting and billing.
Too often I discover “uncollectable or forgotten” money. One client had to write off $45,000 because of the lack of a system. That client felt like everything was fine in the organization, but not so.
Once again the importance of a strong POS system is important here. I see many “discount” computer software systems that are actually costing the company money.
Many of the problems are really not due to a lack of money, but more of a lack of time and commitment. I feel for those second-, third- and fourth-generation owners, since they have to deal with their father’s mindset: “That’s the way we have always done it.”
Move into the 21st century by making some changes in the three above areas. The industry has changed and you must change with it. Separate yourself from your competition. Maybe this means YOU getting out of YOUR own way.
I am becoming even more amazed at how many owners who have just gotten into the business are showing growth, while many who have been in it for years do not.
I believe that it is because the new owners are not married to the way drycleaning was done in the past. In order for your company to make a change for the better, the first move may have to start with you!
The bottom line is that I have addressed this before and heard the standard line, “When the economy gets better, I will do this…”
It may never reach the point it once was, so go after market share and build your business. There is enough doom and gloom out there — don’t add to it by saving pennies. It is time to start making dollars!