When Life Gives You Lemons!
So, the glass business has given you a few lemons. Here is what to do:
•Squeeze 1 cup of lemon juice
•Mix in 1 cup of cold water
•Blend in 1 cup of sugar
•Chill in pitcher with 1 cup of ice
OK, this won’t fix the glass business, but it sure sounds good. Now, what can we do when your glass shop starts to feel a recession?
You have only two choices, look to increase revenue or to decrease costs. Let’s mash up a few lemons and find some ways to cut costs without hurting your business–
•Ask each and every customer how they heard of you, and eliminate the advertising that doesn’t draw customers. This may take a month to do, but is very valuable. If you still want to advertise, go heavier in the places that draw the most customers.
•Ask your employees to take vacations during slow periods. Give an extra week off with no pay for an employee who wants to take a long trip.
•Review your insurances…make sure you are only paying for what you need for the next twelve months. Maybe a long-term savings program that you have for a benefit for yourself can be put on hold for a year.
•Ask for volunteers to go on unpaid leave–continue their benefits, and don’t block unemployment. Offer for up to thirteen weeks, or whatever you need until you see a busy time coming up. Place no restrictions on your people other than they have to return to work when called, and while they are on this leave, they cannot work elsewhere in the glass trade.
•Plan your work schedule a day in advance…so that a person who takes one of your vans home can go directly to the job site tomorrow morning rather then coming into the shop first thing.
OK, TO MAKE PINK LEMONADE, MASH A COUPLE OF STRAWBERRIES AND ADD TO YOUR LEMONADE.
•Sometimes we all buy large quantities of items to get price breaks; in lemonade season, buy smaller quantities, even if you pay a slight bit more per item.
•Keep your trucks tuned-up, the tires properly inflated, and remove unnecessary weight from the truck…your MPG will go up.
•Reduce the thermostat in the office and the shop.
•Talk with your vendors about increasing your cash discount incentive. Even with interest rates low, vendors who are short of cash themselves will give up an extra point to gain cash flow.
•Chart when customers both walk in and call in to your shop. You may find that you should open an hour later, or close a half-hour earlier.
•If you have room in your shop, square off your cut-offs and use them on the next job.
•Keep your tools, your suction cups and your trucks clean. They will last longer and be safer, saving you money.
•Concentrate your miscellaneous purchases into as few vendors as possible, increasing your buying power, reducing your paper work and reducing administrative time.
•Explore bartering with some of your customers. There are often situations which may be beneficial to your customer and you.
FOR BRAZILIAN LEMONADE ADD 4 TABLESPOONS OF CONDENSED MILK. YOU’LL GET A TASTE LIKE HAVING A LEMON CREAMSICLE
•Use all of your supplies and products before reordering.
•Call a local school or college and see if they are looking for placements of a summer intern. You do some teaching, and you gain an employee at no or limited cost.
•Reduce the minutes on your cell phones–drastically.
•If you have a spare truck, take it off the road for a couple of months, saving the insurance. You can always put it back on if needed.
•Look at each product line you sell…push hard on the ones where you make profit…and you know this…but the opposite step is to stop doing the jobs where you are marginal. It is always tough to voluntarily reduce sales at a time like this…but if your goal is making an ongoing profit, drop the barking dogs from your line.
•Ask an outsider to look at your expenses…maybe a good friend, maybe your accountant or a consultant. They will look objectively and see things that you automatically skip over. Listen to what this outsider says!
•Look at all of the office equipment with service contracts. If the item hasn’t broken down in a year, go ahead and gamble that you can go another year and suspend the contract.
•Don’t print every page and e-mail that comes up on your computer. Not only will you save on toner and paper, but you’ll also save a tree. (thank you, David D.)
LYNCHBURG LEMONADE (ARGUABLY THE BEST RECIPE HERE) 6 OZ. JACK DANIELS, 6 OZ. TRIPLE SEC, 6 OZ. SWEET AND SOUR MIX, 12 OZ. SPRITE. WILL SERVE 4-5 NORMAL PEOPLE, 2-3 GLAZIERS, OR MAYBE JUST 1 BLOG WRITER.
•Deliver all of the product within your control on-time.
•Communicate with your customer if you can’t deliver on time.
•Pay the vendors who support you with product and service before you pay other vendors.
•Learn Green Glazing–it is the future.
•Keep your website current.
•Start drug testing–you will hire better people, and have fewer accidents.
•Don’t deliver to customers who are 90 days past due.
•Hitch your star to a wagon–find a product that is growing, find a vendor who is growing, hook up with this growth.
•Remember your 3 R’s–Reuse and Recycle, then Replace.
The single most important action you can take is
DISCUSS THE SITUATION WITH YOUR EMPLOYEES AND ASK FOR THEIR IDEAS. THEY KNOW YOUR COMPANY. YOUR EMPLOYEES WILL HAVE THE BEST IDEAS!!!!!!
There are many more ideas out there…leave your comments here and we will add them to our list.
(Next week we are going to discuss lami, and then go back to our hiring series in two weeks.)