Untapped Resources

Over the last few months I have been working with a client who owns a Fast Food outlet. He was complaining that his weekly sales figures were down and he was trying to battle the negativity he was feeling. In fact he was beginning to hate his business.

One day, between our meetings, I happened to be walking past and noticed that all the seats in the shop were being used by customers so I was expecting good things when we next met. To my surprise, he told me that he had had a relatively poor week. I mentioned the full store but he still said he hadn’t performed as well as he would have liked.

I stopped and looked around and then asked how often customers use the upstairs part of his restaurant. His answer, was “very little”. I noticed that his restaurant contained no signs that even indicated there was seating available upstairs. With this in mind I re-ran my scenario of passing and seeing all the seats in the store being used and asked how many potential customers are walking away because they don’t know about upstairs.

My experience with this client got me thinking. How many business owners are bemoaning the drop in business as a result of the recession while not tapping into the full potential of their resources?

Not tapping into your resources is rather like buying an expensive car and only driving in first gear; you might get to your destination, but you will get there much slower and the car will burn out much quicker, leaving you kicking the wheels and blaming the road for causing you to become stranded.

Recognising and utilising your resources to their full capacity is the key to getting through the current economic climate. Companies boast about implementing ‘Lean’ processes and while that includes an element of eliminating waste practices, it is more important to ensure that ALL resources are being fully utilised ALL the time. Aircraft don’t earn money sitting in airports, ships don’t earn money tied up in a harbour. Both only earn money when they are moving people and freight around the world.

So my questions to you:

  1. Can you identify EVERY one of the resources available in your business?
  2. Are you FULLY utilising each one to the benefit of your company?

If my client can fail to spot the potential in an entire upper floor of his business, what are you failing to notice?

Getting back to that client. After our meeting, he put “More seating available upstairs” signs in the windows and behind the counter of the restaurant. He also rearranged things to draw the customer’s eye to the stairs.

The result? Instantly, more customers. Those people who believed the restaurant to be full, were now coming in and taking their orders upstairs.

My challenge to you (should you choose to accept it):

  • Take a look around at your business.
  • Write down EVERY SINGLE Resource you can identify (including staff)
  • Then leave your business and come at it from a customer’s perspective. Do they see things as you do? Do they know about your ‘upstairs seating’?
  • What additional resources does this highlight?
  • Now work through each resource and ask yourself “is this adding value to my business?” If ‘Yes’, then keep it. If ‘No’, then it is either a resource you are not tapping into correctly or is a waste. If it’s not being used properly, why not? If it is a non-value add resource, look at ways of removing it.
Here’s hoping you find lot’s of unused potential in your business which will drive you to bigger and better things. Good luck….