Enhance your Profit with This 12-Step Plan

Chances are, you have some great ideas on ways to increase profits at your company. But it takes more than ideas to make progress. It takes specific goals and a plan that will put feet under your ideas. Set up a profit enhancement road map within the next year at your company by following these 12 steps: 1. Select critical profit projects you want to work on and determine the target results for each project. For example, you may want to increase sales by 10 percent or reduce order-processing time by one day. 2. Assign a “Profit Champion” on your…

Stamp Out Bad Attitudes and Boost Profits

  A good attitude can work wonders at any organization. A cheerful receptionist, a friendly delivery person or a sales clerk with a winning smile can be money in the bank for your business. By the same token, a bad attitude on the part of your staff members can drag your organization down like a 500-pound anchor. Even under the best conditions, your company can’t afford to turn off customers. But when the economy is soft and you’re trying to attract business, Stinkin’ Thinkin’ just makes things worse. If you come across Stinkin’ Thinkin’ in your organization, gain control immediately…

Pick the Right Trademark

When you create a brand name, the relative strength of the words you choose directly affects how well you will be able to protect the goodwill your brand builds. Choose a unique trademark to protect your company. The more distinctive it is, the easier it will be to exclude similar trademarks from the marketplace. When The Home Depot was getting off the ground in 1979, its founders searched for just the right name. They rejected choices like MB’s Warehouse, Homeplace and Bad Bernie’s Buildall in favor of the name that is now synonymous with home improvement. How did they do…

Six Keys to Successful Change in the Workplace

Employees generally hate change. Whether it’s a merger or restructuring, or a simple change in the color of the office, studies show both staff members and managers resist. The reactions may seem irrational but change can suggest an invasion of turf. Some employees feel it lowers their status or eliminates privileges. They might also worry that new procedures or equipment will make it more difficult to do the same tasks or increase their workloads. And above all, staff members fret about job security. Changes in the organization or a new boss may suggest to some that they’ll lose their jobs….

Watch the Language in Employee Handbooks

Your company needs an employee handbook or personnel manual to ensure that everyone understands the policies, procedures and rules. But improperly drawn, a handbook or manual can create a binding obligation that can be used against you. What you don’t want is for the documents to be interpreted as an employment contract. Keep that in mind when crafting handbooks so you lower the risk of running into unwanted legal hassles. Here is a list of Dos and Don’ts: Don’t use phrases such as “permanent position” or “the company promises.” There should be no statements that you don’t intend, or may…

Best Choice: A Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

To survive and thrive in a competitive marketplace, companies need to secure help and guidance from a wide range of sources. To do so, many companies create advisory boards, or more formally, a board of directors to help guide them and hopefully facilitate growth. If your company plans to go public, it will be required to put a board of directors in place. However, prior to that time, you may be faced with the decision as to whether to create a board of directors or an advisory board. To determine which path makes most sense for your organization, here are…

Hey, That’s A Brilliant Idea!

It is called the Japanese miracle — the kaizen teian — and the concept successfully provides a way for employees to propose more efficient ways to work.  Today, this variation of the suggestion box can be found at many American companies. Yet despite the proven effectiveness of these suggestion programs, it’s estimated that only 7% of U.S. companies use them. In many companies without programs, employees feel their suggestions fall into a black hole. Managers may think some ideas are mediocre or frivolous and the overall consensus is that creativity simply isn’t encouraged. But before you dismiss ideas that come…

Make Sure Employees Dress for Success

Most employees want to fit in at work, but they also want to be comfortable during the one-third of their lives they spend on the job. That’s why a dress code is essential at many companies and should reflect your industry, the part of the country you’re located in and your clientele. Your company’s policies should give employees specific guidance, but not be too restrictive. For example, you probably don’t want to limit the type of ties your salesmen wear, unless they all wear ties with the corporate logo as part of a uniform. On the other hand, many companies…

Keep Your Company Running Smoothly With a Smart Strategy

In any company, making employees familiar with more than one job is critical to developing the business and dealing with the unexpected. A sure-fire strategy for coping with unforeseen circumstances is a cross training program. Learning more than one job gives team members a look at the whole operation and keeps them motivated. It also saves money and builds a solid succession plan. Above all, cross training makes your staff more valuable and helps ensure that your company will never be held hostage by employees who regard themselves as “indispensable.” So train your filing clerk to fill in for the…

Make Your Workplace Drug Free

Employee drug and alcohol abuse can cost your company in many ways, including increased absences, workplace accidents and high health costs. In addition, studies show that drug users are five times more likely than other employees to file a worker’s compensation claim. To protect themselves, many companies now routinely administer drug and alcohol tests to job applicants and employees. If your firm isn’t among them, the Department of Labor (DOL) warns that you may become an “employer of choice” for drug abusers who are unable to get — or keep — a job with employers that do drug testing. In…