Strictly Business

Tuesday, Apr 02 2013 12:00 PM

RUSS ALLRED: Consistency leads to grander business goals

BY RUSS ALLRED Contributing columnist

Spring means baseball. Brad Pitt starred as Billy Beane, the Oakland A's general manager in the 2011 Columbia Pictures movie "Money Ball." The plot chronicled a major shift in the way ball teams recruit players. Previously, team managers searched for stars to award their big money contracts, but the A's didn't have the budget of the other teams. Beane adopted the strategy of a computer statistician rather than the conventional method of recruiting. The new model was to hire players based on their consistency in getting on base. The strategy gave the A's a winning season, and in fact, many winning seasons.

In a recent audition for a new television show about business brokers, I was asked if I'm very competitive. I cautiously responded "yes," but toward a grander goal of consistent profits. I won't compromise my principles to take a quick advantage over my competitors.

I know that consistently cold calling leads to more appointments. More appointments lead to more offers. More offers lead to more sales. Contented clients offer more referrals. More referrals lead to more listings. The trick is getting on base rather than getting the glory.

Dr. Jim Collins echoed this adage in his book "Good to Great." The key to business greatness is to have a Big Hairy Audacious Goal and "Stick to the knitting." A current operating methodology called Lean Manufacturing or Lean Office supports this concept. Its premise requires management to invest all of its resources into that which makes them money, and systematically remove any distractions.

This calls to mind an old bankrupt client who owned and operated a rebar fabrication business. In the process of buying cheap equipment for his business at auction, he realized he could buy lots of diverse items, keep what he needed for the business and sell the excess. He got so enamored with the shopping that he started using his production facility for storage. His hoarding worsened to the point that his junk inhibited his workflow. This distraction among others landed him in bankruptcy. Keep your eye on the ball.

Here are a few suggestions to enhance your income this season:

1. Set a "Big Hairy Audacious Goal."

2. Determine what activity in your business makes you the most money.

3. Define the process that leads to that activity, such as: A. cold calls, B. appointments, C. meetings, D. support literature, E. e-mail follow-ups, etc.

4. Multiply the initiating process sufficiently to reach your goal.

5. Practice this until football season.

In the fall we can use the analogy of yardage. More yardage means more goals. More goals means more wins.

-- Russ Allred, MBA, is a business consultant and author with Sunbelt Business Brokers & Advisors. These are his opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian.

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