Two weeks ago I introduced our Profit Zone program. This week we’re going to take a closer look at the activities that the program focuses on.
The Profit Zone program has identified 9 activities that help you create and maintain profit. Part of the process of zeroing in on your profit zone is to help everyone understand these 9 activities and how they can affect them for the better. Last week we tackled the first 5 activities, so this week we’ll focus on the last 4.
As I talk about these 9 activities, think in terms of application to your company.
If there are any employees in your company who can’t make the connection from their daily interactions with customers to your company’s bottom line, you are fighting an uphill battle. Make it easier on yourself. Help your employees connect the dots from their role in customer satisfaction to your company’s profit margins.
I’m always amazed at what employers think their employees know. You assume or hope they understand that a poor attitude on the phone can easily sway a customer to move on. But often they can’t take that step back to see the larger picture. They get caught up in their day-to-day and lose sight of the fact that each customer interaction is a chance to improve margins.
Exceptional customer service starts with exceptional employees. You need your staff to understand that it’s their job to take care of the customer. And you have to remember that it’s your job as the leader to take care of your employees.
# 7: Staff Voltage
Staff Voltage is the energy in the workplace. This voltage reflects the level of enthusiasm and the intensity of focus as expressed by the people working in that company. You can literally feel it when it’s high and you sense it when it’s low.
Think about your company yesterday. When you walked in in the morning, what did it feel like? Was there a sense of purpose? Were people interacting or intensely focused on their work? Did you hear laughter? Or did people avoid talking to each other? Were doors closed? Or were there quiet conversations going on that stopped once you walked by?
There are three determinants of Staff Voltage:
- Leadership/Staff communication – is there a effective pipeline for communication going both up and down the company?
- A healthy and consistent inquiry of staff – are questions treated as criticism? Or are they welcomed as a way to improve? Are defenses up making the littlest probe feel like the third degree? Or are people seeking out feedback from others?
- Clarity in work – do people understand clearly what is expected of them?
Don’t kid yourself that you just need people to do their jobs in order to run a successful company. You need to engage your people. You need your staff to care. And you as the leader need to be responsible for Staff Voltage in order to maximize your profit potential.
#8: Product/Service Quality
This aspect of a company’s Profit Zone goes beyond just the obvious fact that poor quality or service doesn’t sell. It takes it a step further. The quality of your product or service can actually leverage your margins. If you are able to communicate to your customers why your quality is so critical to their business, you are creating a value belief in your customers’ minds. This will help link them to your company because of how you can impact their success. This in turn allows you to increase your price because you’re offering so much more than a commodity.
So don’t stop at just telling your customers that your quality exceeds industry standards. Go on to tell them why that makes a difference to them. And why it makes a difference to their customers.
Having pride in the quality of your work is also a Profit Zone activity because you can create a culture around providing a quality product or service. That culture will serve to help all of your employees get behind the delivery of that product or service. Engaged and enthusiastic employees will emulate those feelings to your customers. And they will get behind protecting that quality because they really care.
#9: Company Innovation
This aspect of the Profit Zone goes beyond product design or service delivery. It is more about ideas that help you to process orders quicker, create customer reports faster, and save money on honing an internal procedure. Company innovation is a global mindset in your company that focuses on consistently improving how you do business.
Having each of your employees energized to continually improve upon the little things is a huge driver of profitability for any company. Your employees are the key components of all those processes and procedures. They are the ones working with them day in and day out. They are the experts in how to improve them. But how do you get them to take ownership of that innovation? By spending time educating them.
You have to show them and tell them why innovation is important. Help them see how small improvements internally can make a big difference to the bottom line. And then give them the authority and responsibility to point out areas for change.
But this takes work. It takes leadership at a level that is intense for the first few steps of that education. And then it takes consistent reminders from you on how the company is doing and how you are growing and improving because of your staff’s efforts.
The Profit Zone is about education.
When we talk about the Profit Zone, our goal is to provide you with information that can help you educate and engage the rest of your staff in how you run your business. A lot of employees may believe that you make a huge salary and assume that you also walk away with all the profits as a bonus at the end of the year.
Once your staff begins to understand what it really takes to run a business, that is showing them where the money goes that comes in, those misinformed assumptions will start to disappear. Their understanding of how much the company makes will begin to get into alignment with what you already know. There isn’t a lot of profit. The little that there is, is hard to get. And keeping it is even harder.
So explaining and sharing with your staff your company’s budget, educating them on what a profit and loss statement looks like, why a balance sheet is important, and what things cost is a huge step in the right direction for any company looking to capture more profit.
When every staff member knows how their job directly relates to the Profit Zone, you are that much closer to creating a company that will outperform competitors, excel in customer service, and bring more profit to your bottom line.
Written in part by Laurie Taylor of Flashpoint! LLC with edits and additions by Clay Eure.