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People use to be paid based on their daily physical output. How many widgets could they build? How many trenches could they dig? How many calls could they answer and reroute. There was a time not long ago when people were the machines that made a business work – actually work. Today life is quite different. Technology continues to erode the physical work that people do and has left a void that only people can fill. In the past people were paid based on using their body to undertake physical or manual labour but in the future people will be paid based on using their brain to think and manage outcomes. The real question is: how is your business doing more with people?
Over the last twenty years I have witnessed many businesses innovate and stay ahead of marketplace changes by constantly looking for news ideas or originating them and becoming leaders in their market place or market niche. The single largest decision that I have seen produce the largest impact to the profit of a business is the decision to leverage technology and move people to more productive work. The classic example in my experience is in accounting and finance. It is not uncommon for a business to have people moving data and reconciling between systems. Payroll data gets moved between the payroll provider and the in-house accounting system. Sales data gets captured on paper or the web and then entered into excel worksheets for presentation to managers. POS system data prints out on a till tape and gets manually keyed into a cash reconciliation program and then updated in the accounting system. An order is received in the warehouse and gets manually entered into the accounting system and once a month gets pushed to the sales system so sales people can see their performance metrics (which is yet another system). The list is endless.
As an entrepreneur or someone responsible for a business you don’t have to care. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is a great motto if you intend on being the business selling horses and buggies while everyone else has adjusted to automobiles. If you want people to really be engaged in their work give them the ability to actually contribute. Moving data between systems is not contributing. Using knowledge and experience to identify opportunities or to solve problems is not only engaging but can have an amazing ROI. But change is hard and not easy to do especially if your business is more than five years old. This is because the business has a culture that was instilled over time and cultures can be hard to change – but they don’t have to be.
Here is an easy test you can take as an entrepreneur or business owner to see if people can do more in your business. Spend some time talking with your staff in particular the staff that are responsible for moving data and information around. Ask them if they have any opinions on what might make the whole business better or what problems could be solved if someone had time to identify and fix them. Your team or staff are the best people to help you see your business from a different place. When you are at the top you lose sight of the bottom very easily and because of your position and the culture you have created people may not have the opportunity to share these types of things with you. Redeploying people into knowledge based work instead of data and information transportation work can make a significant difference to your profits and enterprise value.
Not convinced? Get in touch with us to have a conversation about what might be possible. Businesses always need money to grow or take advantage of opportunities and we use that need as a starting point for helping you do more. If you want someone to ask you some questions that get you thinking about capital for your business, visit www.mlenow.ca to explore what your business might be able to do.
I created mlenow.ca to help businesses looking for ideas, money and results. Our team gets up every day to help businesses that find themselves in this position. Let’s chat and connect if you (or someone you know) needs some help with their business.