Double Your Profits : In Six Months or Less

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  • Copyright: 2010-03-10
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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One of the nations' foremost financial consultants shares 78 proven ways to cut costs dramatically, send productivity through the roof, and, in just six months, double profits.

Author Biography

Bob Fifer is Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Associates, one of the nation's leading consulting firms.

Table of Contents

Who Should Read This Book?p. 3
Your Own Commitment to Profitsp. 6
Setting the Standardp. 13
What Does "The Best" Mean?p. 15
Never Apologize for Focusing on Profitsp. 21
Results, Not Processesp. 23
Strategic vs. Non-Strategic Costsp. 27
Don't Over-Quantify Thingsp. 32
Don't Over-Delegate, and Don't Under-Delegatep. 36
Maximizing Customer Satisfaction Leads to Bankruptcyp. 39
Strategic vs. Non-Strategic Timep. 42
A Sense of Urgencyp. 46
Translating the Culture into Actionp. 50
Every Cost Is Up for Grabsp. 55
Cut Costs First, Ask Questions Laterp. 58
Set Arbitrary, Non-Negotiable Budgetsp. 60
Make Them Come Ask the Bossp. 63
No Cost Is Too Small to Worry Aboutp. 65
Don't Worry - They'll Respect Youp. 67
Employees Are Much More Adaptable Than You Realizep. 69
Start With the Most Painless Place - Suppliersp. 72
Never Let Your Purchasing Person Negotiate Pricep. 76
You Need a "Bad Guy"p. 78
Declare Freezes and Cutsp. 80
Go to Bid, Frequentlyp. 82
When Suppliers Say "No," Hit Them Again and Againp. 85
Budget 15% Savings for Purchased Products, and 30% for Purchased Servicesp. 87
Find Out What Your Competitors Payp. 89
Cut Your Use of Purchased Goods and Servicesp. 91
Computersp. 94
RandDp. 98
Everyday Expense Itemsp. 103
Office Spacep. 108
Do You Want to Catch People's Attention? Give Up Your Own Officep. 110
Sign All the Checks Yourselfp. 112
Capital Expendituresp. 114
Accounts Payablep. 116
Deplete Inventoryp. 117
If You Never Fire an Employee, You Can't Have an Excellent Businessp. 119
Keep Human Resources Scarcep. 122
Setting Salariesp. 125
Benefitsp. 128
Never Give Regular Bonusesp. 130
Titles Are Cheapp. 132
Review - Motivating Employeesp. 133
Emergency or Remedial Headcount Reductionp. 135
Eliminate Most of Your Administrators and Managersp. 137
Be Most Ruthless with Your Internal Staff Functionsp. 140
Close the Outside Contractor Loopholep. 142
Change the Day-to-Day Habits of Your Organizationp. 144
Stop the Paper Flowp. 146
Streamline Your Meetingsp. 150
Stop Off-Site Meetingsp. 152
The Last Cost-Cutting Step - Do It All Over Againp. 153
There Are No Such Things as Companies, Only Peoplep. 159
Let Him Know You Will Stand in Front of a Truck for Himp. 166
Bob Fifer's Five Ingredients for Completing a Salep. 168
There Are No Such Things as People, Just People's Perceptionsp. 175
No Two Customers Are Alike, So Tailor Your Offering and Your Sales Pitchp. 180
Think About How You Sellp. 184
Customers Can Smell One Part of Blood in a Million Parts of Waterp. 187
The Selling Process Is Your Best Chance to Show the Customer What You Can Dop. 191
Re-Selling Starts the Moment You Make the Salep. 194
Selling Is the Attraction Businessp. 197
People Who Ask for More Get Morep. 199
Pricing - You're Leaving Money on the Tablep. 204
Determine Price, Then Product or Service, Not the Other Way Aroundp. 208
Ask Them What Price They Want to Payp. 211
To Capture the Consumer Surplus for Mass-Market Products, Price Discriminatep. 214
The Key - Get the Highest Possible Price but Don't Lose Any Customersp. 217
Be Dignified About Pricingp. 219
Remember - Price Has Nothing to Do with Costp. 221
Marketing Is a Strategic Cost - Outspend Your Competition, in Good Times and Badp. 223
Don't Be Afraid to Use a Shotgunp. 225
Invest in Your Sales Force - No Investment Will Yield a Greater Returnp. 227
Be Stubbornp. 235
Keep Work in Perspectivep. 238
Stretch Yourself, and Have Funp. 241
About the Authorp. 244
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.


Chapter One

Getting Ready

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.

Step 2 Your OwnCommitment To Profits

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!

Part III Creating theCulture

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.

Bob Fifer

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.

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