What is included with this book?
|Who Should Read This Book?||p. 3|
|Your Own Commitment to Profits||p. 6|
|Setting the Standard||p. 13|
|What Does "The Best" Mean?||p. 15|
|Never Apologize for Focusing on Profits||p. 21|
|Results, Not Processes||p. 23|
|Strategic vs. Non-Strategic Costs||p. 27|
|Don't Over-Quantify Things||p. 32|
|Don't Over-Delegate, and Don't Under-Delegate||p. 36|
|Maximizing Customer Satisfaction Leads to Bankruptcy||p. 39|
|Strategic vs. Non-Strategic Time||p. 42|
|A Sense of Urgency||p. 46|
|Translating the Culture into Action||p. 50|
|Every Cost Is Up for Grabs||p. 55|
|Cut Costs First, Ask Questions Later||p. 58|
|Set Arbitrary, Non-Negotiable Budgets||p. 60|
|Make Them Come Ask the Boss||p. 63|
|No Cost Is Too Small to Worry About||p. 65|
|Don't Worry - They'll Respect You||p. 67|
|Employees Are Much More Adaptable Than You Realize||p. 69|
|Start With the Most Painless Place - Suppliers||p. 72|
|Never Let Your Purchasing Person Negotiate Price||p. 76|
|You Need a "Bad Guy"||p. 78|
|Declare Freezes and Cuts||p. 80|
|Go to Bid, Frequently||p. 82|
|When Suppliers Say "No," Hit Them Again and Again||p. 85|
|Budget 15% Savings for Purchased Products, and 30% for Purchased Services||p. 87|
|Find Out What Your Competitors Pay||p. 89|
|Cut Your Use of Purchased Goods and Services||p. 91|
|Everyday Expense Items||p. 103|
|Office Space||p. 108|
|Do You Want to Catch People's Attention? Give Up Your Own Office||p. 110|
|Sign All the Checks Yourself||p. 112|
|Capital Expenditures||p. 114|
|Accounts Payable||p. 116|
|Deplete Inventory||p. 117|
|If You Never Fire an Employee, You Can't Have an Excellent Business||p. 119|
|Keep Human Resources Scarce||p. 122|
|Setting Salaries||p. 125|
|Never Give Regular Bonuses||p. 130|
|Titles Are Cheap||p. 132|
|Review - Motivating Employees||p. 133|
|Emergency or Remedial Headcount Reduction||p. 135|
|Eliminate Most of Your Administrators and Managers||p. 137|
|Be Most Ruthless with Your Internal Staff Functions||p. 140|
|Close the Outside Contractor Loophole||p. 142|
|Change the Day-to-Day Habits of Your Organization||p. 144|
|Stop the Paper Flow||p. 146|
|Streamline Your Meetings||p. 150|
|Stop Off-Site Meetings||p. 152|
|The Last Cost-Cutting Step - Do It All Over Again||p. 153|
|There Are No Such Things as Companies, Only People||p. 159|
|Let Him Know You Will Stand in Front of a Truck for Him||p. 166|
|Bob Fifer's Five Ingredients for Completing a Sale||p. 168|
|There Are No Such Things as People, Just People's Perceptions||p. 175|
|No Two Customers Are Alike, So Tailor Your Offering and Your Sales Pitch||p. 180|
|Think About How You Sell||p. 184|
|Customers Can Smell One Part of Blood in a Million Parts of Water||p. 187|
|The Selling Process Is Your Best Chance to Show the Customer What You Can Do||p. 191|
|Re-Selling Starts the Moment You Make the Sale||p. 194|
|Selling Is the Attraction Business||p. 197|
|People Who Ask for More Get More||p. 199|
|Pricing - You're Leaving Money on the Table||p. 204|
|Determine Price, Then Product or Service, Not the Other Way Around||p. 208|
|Ask Them What Price They Want to Pay||p. 211|
|To Capture the Consumer Surplus for Mass-Market Products, Price Discriminate||p. 214|
|The Key - Get the Highest Possible Price but Don't Lose Any Customers||p. 217|
|Be Dignified About Pricing||p. 219|
|Remember - Price Has Nothing to Do with Cost||p. 221|
|Marketing Is a Strategic Cost - Outspend Your Competition, in Good Times and Bad||p. 223|
|Don't Be Afraid to Use a Shotgun||p. 225|
|Invest in Your Sales Force - No Investment Will Yield a Greater Return||p. 227|
|Be Stubborn||p. 235|
|Keep Work in Perspective||p. 238|
|Stretch Yourself, and Have Fun||p. 241|
|About the Author||p. 244|
|Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.|
Step OneWho Should Read This Book?
Anyone who cares about the profits of his or her business should read this book.
That, by the way, excludes a surprisingly large percentage of the managers in this country. Most mid-level managers, and many senior executives and even CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, are motivated by something other than profits: They want their businesses to grow, or harmonious employee relations and morale, or the ability to travel to interesting places and meet interesting people, or whatever else. Some owners of small businesses are more excited about the details of running an operation than they are about ensuring the financial health (i.e., the profitability) of their enterprise. To these audiences I say: Read the book if you'd like, and perhaps you'll better understand the importance of profitability and how to achieve it.
To those managers of large and small enterprises who truly do care about profits but are not fully pleased with their business's bottom-line results, I say: You must read this book. If you read it and take it seriously, you cannot avoid doubling, and probably tripling, the profitability of your business.
You can do so in either of two ways. Many of you will read the book, adopt those portions that are most relevant to your organization, and quickly see a dramatic rise in profits. Others will buy into the book's philosophy but decide that for a variety of reasons it's better to have an outsider implement the book's recommendations. The latter group should call me at the number included in the "About the Author" section at the back of the book. I run a company that specializes in coming into your business and doubling your profits. For our services we charge a very small fraction of the increased annual profits we will generate for you. (That's one of the few plugs for my company's services that you'll see in this book, but if I practice what I preach, I have to include at least a few.
The perceptions and recommendations in this book are culled from two sets of experiences. During the last fifteen years, I have been a consultant to more than twenty percent of the Fortune 500, as well as numerous mid-sized and smaller companies throughout the Western world. I've seen every management tool, management style, fad, type of business, and strategy and have the objective outside perspective to separate the good from the bad. Most striking has been the inappropriate focus on the fads and processes themselves, rather than on bottom-line results, but more about that later. During the last eleven of those fifteen years, I have also led my own company, Kaiser Associates, and have made it the most profitable company in its industry, by far. Having to meet a payroll and bring in the customers has been an experience that all of my consulting could never match. The combination of these two perspectives-the successful profit maximization of my own company and exposure to many less successful approaches in Corporate America and beyond-has driven me to write this book. If you do what I've done, you'll enjoy the same results that I have.
There is obviously a lot more to running a company than profits. You have to lead, motivate, and train employees, creatively define products and marketing strategies, ensure the efficient and high-quality production of your products or service, and so on. Kaiser Associates and I consult in all of these areas, and we can talk specifically about any of them if you would like. However, this book is focused on profits because that's where it all starts and ends. Profitable companies have the money to reward employees, build exciting career paths, and invest in new products, businesses and technologies. Less profitable companies inevitably sink into mediocrity in all ways-morale, product distinctiveness, and so on-because they wind up funding each part of the business half-heartedly and inadequately. Learn how to be very profitable and all else will follow. Try to do it all with mediocre or worse levels of profit, and you'll always be frustrated.
One important note: Doubling and even tripling profits is often conservative. Most of the businesses I've seen can have their profits multiplied by four, five, or even ten times if the steps outlined in this book are adhered to rigorously.
The specific steps to cut costs quickly are outlined in Part III of this book. The impact of these cost reductions will be a dramatic and permanent increase in your business's profits within two to six months. Steps to raise revenue and therefore further grow your bottom line are included in Part IV. Before I get to these topics, Part II describes the company culture-or more to the point, the leadership style-necessary to implement the cost-cutting steps of Part III and the revenue-raising steps of Part IV. This leadership style is at the same time both easy and hard to adopt. It's easy in that it requires no advanced degree in business, accounting, technology, or any other endeavor, and no in-depth knowledge of any particular model or system. Most of the action steps required are common sense, pure and simple.
Then why do so few businesses practice them and achieve impressive levels of profitability? For one, because many managers don't truly care about profits, as discussed above. However, even many managers who do care about profits fail a second test: They lack the absolute commitment to profits, the tough, determined resolve to lead their organizations in a way consistent with the recommendations in this book. Doubling your profits (or more) requires a leader who is focused, consistent, tough, and fair, and who is willing to stretch himself or herself and others in the organization to be different and better than the status quo or the average manager of this world. That determined resolve, plus the step-by-step road map outlined in this book, are all that stands between you and doubled profits. To say it another way, if you truly want much greater profits, and you're willing to make the tough decisions, then doubled profits are easy to achieve.
So settle back and enjoy: It's a quick read, and the profits are waiting for you just around the corner!
Step 3Setting theStandard
Every organization needs a clear, single, over-riding goal. Some companies call this their "mission." The problem is that these goals or mission statements are off base nine times in ten.
About four in ten fail because the mission statement is nothing more than a pleasant-sounding collection of platitudes and buzzwords like "We will satisfy our customers with superior products and service, by bringing out the best in our people, while being a responsible corporate citizen with regard to the environment and the communities in which we operate."
The other five of the ten contain more meaningful content, but fail because that content is not directed at the proper objective. These goals or mission statements assert that the primary purpose of the organization is to serve such-and-such markets, with the following products and services, and/or utilizing the following technologies. The problem is that markets, products, and technologies are all means to an end, not ends in themselves.
The end, the driving goal of any organization, should be one simple thing: to be the best. Nothing motivates employees, excites them about coming to work, and produces better bottom-line results, than to tell everyone in the organization that we as an organization and each of us as individuals will be the best, and will settle for nothing less.
Step 4What Does "The Best" Mean?
The Best means three things:
1.We will never settle for the status quo. We will always drive as hard as humanly possible, in as many simultaneous directions as necessary, and as far as necessary, as long as we can identify things to achieve that we have not yet achieved.
This, by the way, does not mean "work long hours." My experiences have proven that there is little correlation between hours worked and results achieved, and I never drive my people to work long hours, or even measure or keep track of how many days or hours they're working. If you think about your day, week, or month, the truly worthwhile, truly value-creating things you've done are usually achieved during a few minutes or seconds when you have a crucial insight, make a crucial sale, or motivate a crucial subordinate, and those things are more likely to happen when you are working in a balanced, and not in a manic, way. The same is true, at a different level, for most of your employees. The first critical ingredient to doubling your profits is creating a culture that says "The Best" means always thinking, always striving, always re-making yourself to be better, never being satisfied as long as there's something out there which we've not yet achieved.
Excerpted from Double Your Profits by Bob Fifer Copyright © 2003 by Bob Fifer
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.