May 10, 2016

Hey, I Just Won $415 Million in the Powerball Lottery—Sure I Did

By Paul Bieber

It seems that my pie-in-the-sky dreams were shattered when I went to the local store to verify my winnings, and they told I had won exactly $1. I had stayed up the night before thinking of all the great ways to spend my fortune. Oops.

But what about you? Whether you bought a lottery ticket or not, we all have dreams of what we could do with a few extra dollars. Maybe a new truck, or a new storefront for your shop, or how about new lighting in your showroom? I guess dreaming is the easy part; but there are ways to get a few extra bucks in every business. Here are some for you.

  • Look very carefully at your workers’ comp bill. Check that every person your carrier is holding on reserve is still out of work. The first year we did this in our 200-person company, we saved almost a quarter million dollars. You can be sure we did it every year following.
  • Turn out you shop lights when there is no one in there. Don’t laugh, this is a big savings opportunity.
  • Make sure you get three quotes on your company insurance. Prices are falling.
  • Talk to your main vendors and ask them for a five percent reduction on one or two basic items. 
  • You are a flat glass shop and occasionally you get a call for a windshield. And you tell the voice on the phone that you don’t do windshields. Oops. Make a deal with your local auto glass shop to give them the business, and you want 10 percent of the sale. Easy to do. Take the customer’s name and number and tell them your auto glass division will call them right back. Print up some invoices for the auto glass shop to do the work. If you are an auto glass shop, do the same thing in reverse when you get a call for a table top.
  • Sign every outgoing check yourself, and ask questions! The annual bill that comes in for Yellow Book advertising may be a thing of the past. Cut that full page ad down to a half page.
  • Can you negotiate a better prices for your gasoline at the service station where you have been buying gas for ten years? Of course you can.
  • Check how many fax machines are in your business, and how many are really being used? Faxes can go to one or two central lines. Just look at the cover page to see who gets what.
  • Take the junk out of the back of your trucks. The garbage cans with all the breakage and cutoffs. If you reduce 500 pounds off of a truck, you increase your gas mileage by one mile per gallon. Take that to the bank.
  • Check that your data plans on your cell phones are not being abused. Someone watching a movie on their lunch hour can cost you big.
  • And here is the biggest and best one of all!! Ask your employees to help. Tell them you want to hit a cost reduction of $10,000 in 90 days. If you do, each one will get a Visa gift card for a certain amount, maybe giving half of the savings spread out to everyone. Don’t fret; your savings will continue each quarter going forth. And there is no one who knows your frivolous expenses better than your employees.

 In these times of quality worker shortages, don’t even think about lowering wages or benefits, or reducing hours. That boat sailed with the end of the recession.

I look forward to meeting many of my readers at the Glass Expo in Seattle on June 2-3.  If you would like to set up a complimentary half-hour consulting visit at the show, just drop me a line at or call me at 603-242-3521.