For years doctors have been advising us to trim the fat from our diets in order to live a healthier and happier life. This has proven hard for people to do because the foods that are the worst for us are the foods that always smell so good. Oddly, the same advice holds true for a healthy and happy business. Business owners need to trim the fat from the company budget but it is equally hard as companies have become accustom to non-essential frills.
A few years ago with the economy booming and companies struggling to keep up with demand it was easy to overlook the request for additional staff and supplies to meet the growing customer needs. This company fat settled in as comfortably as the infamous freshman twenty. However, with the slowing economy that fat around the company’s mid-section is starting to slow the business down and has become unhealthy to its bottom line. As a business owner, if you haven’t already
put your company on a diet you need to seriously look at trimming the fat.
The easiest and most obvious place is to trim non-essential workers from the payroll. While layoffs can reduce company moral it is not impossible to reduce staff without adverse impact. In companies with higher turnover slowing the pace and frequency of adding replacements is a good solution. In companies with a more stable workforce an open and honest discussion with the staff is appropriate. This discussion could uncover people who have delayed a decision on retirement or who would enjoy a modified work schedule and would agree to exercise these options. Absent these alternatives, furlough days have been well accepted in the workplace by employees.
As with all diets, where the first few pounds come off quickly and then it becomes a struggle to lose additional weight, trimming the excess from a business can be equally frustrating. In dieting doctors recommend that people lose no more than two pounds per week in order to maintain a healthy weight loss. A businesses goal should be no different, slowly modifying the quality and quantity of items purchased to ascertain if these small changes adversely impact business production. These small methodical reductions make large impacts in trimming the fat.
Another way to reduce company fat is through technology. No, you don’t need to spend money on additional technology; you just need to train the staff on how to use the technology that already exists. Maybe it is time for your business to really go paperless, using digital communication to the fullest extent practical. Such adjustments will not only save money in supplies but can possible save time reducing the need for additional staff.
Trimming the fat from a business is not an exact science but it isn’t always common sense either. In order to do so efficiently and effectively it may require an owner to hire a business consultant to supervise the process. Regardless of whether you choose to trim the fat yourself or utilize the skills of a consultant, remember that like losing weight the best and most lasting results come from slow and steady loss.