|So, numbers are a fairly concrete thing, right? They are black and white. What if I told you I don’t believe that?Numbers can change so easily – for worse or for better. Some you feel in control of and others you don’t. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel in control of your numbers? But how do you GET in control you say? Well, it’s all about attitude.
When it comes to sales, you either get the sale or you don’t. However, there are lots of variables aren’t there?
Take a retail shop for example. You only get a sale if someone is actually in the shop (physical or virtual). Once they are in the shop it’s your job (physically or virtually) to make sure you can convert the sale, have a happy customer and then “cha’ching!” the sale.
The retailer’s attitudes as to what a sale is and how to make it happen can depend on how many of those sales are made or lost. Think about a shopping experience you’ve had. Those shops that encompass superior customer service in their sales process are more likely to convert you on a sale.
You wouldn’t buy from a grumpy, unfriendly assistant, would you? You’d probably walk out shaking your head, go to the next shop that has what you’re looking for and (if met with better customer service) buy the item there.
Customer service is just ONE example. Other examples are systems and processes, environment and marketing.
From this example, you can see that the opinion you have on what converts to a sale can determine if you actually make the numbers. So if you change your perception of what leads to a sale, you can certainly change your numbers.
This also applies to expenses. Take bank charges for instance. A necessary expense or penalty for mismanagement? Obviously, some bank charges are unavoidable, but what about those that occur because we mismanage our funds and incur fees because of this? If your attitude is that bank fees are a necessary expense, this number will never change for you.
However, if you realise that you can change this number then you can take steps to reduce costs. This could mean researching to see if your current bank is giving you the best deal. It can also be about putting systems in place to ensure that you’re never overdrawn, miss a payment or use another bank’s ATM as these can be very costly. A recent example I came across was a person withdrawing funds from an ATM five times in one day. This incurred five fees, when he could have avoided this and just paid a single fee. It turned out that this was a regular occurrence.
So it’s up to you, what is your opinion with regard to bank fees? Are they a necessary expense or an item you can change the meaning of?
Let’s look at another common expense, wages and salaries. Are these a necessary expense?
This depends on your business model. Let’s say you have employees that come to work each week, and have been working for you for a while. They were given a job description when they started and continue to do those same tasks. Have you ever reviewed these tasks to see whether they are still relevant? Are your employees working on tasks that help your business on a day to day basis as well as helping you to grow the business?
It can be easy as a business owner to get stuck in the “doing”. Are you productive during your work day? Or do you jump from one task to another, struggle to delegate and operate in a messy environment?
If you expect more from your employees, it’s important to lead by example. Sometimes it is necessary to clean up our own act before we can expect our employees to clean up theirs.
What does this have to do with changing the meaning of the wages and salaries you pay? Well, it might be the same number in black and white but if you and your employees can become more productive and focus on your business and its growth, then the “value”of this expense has indeed changed. You could also change your model by using contractors and outsourcing certain tasks but we’ll discuss that in another post.
These are just a few examples of how you can indeed change the meaning of your numbers. As you can see, in some cases, if you change the meaning, you change the actual number and in others, you change the “value” of that number!