Business Management

How to raise your labor cost without really trying.

How to raise your labor cost without really trying.

It seems that this should be a column that I write in the middle of the slow season.  But you are reading this in the middle of the busiest time of year.  This is the time that you’ve looked forward to all year.  Now is when you have the most amount of cash left over at the end of the bills.  But let’s try to learn some lessons from this busy time and perhaps that will translate into real cash savings come the dog days of summer.

Let’s fast-forward into the future, to the summer of 2018.

It’s Not a Mall, It’s a University!

It’s not a Mall, it’s a University.

Some people simply love to go shopping.  It’s a trek to the Mall to look for things that you want more than the money that you have in your pocket, or perhaps will have in your pocket over the next year or two.  I suppose its ok to be like that; its not for me to judge.  But in business, there may be reasons to analyze that a bit more.  In business, the purpose is to generate revenue.  Buying “stuff” just for the purpose of doing so could be counterproductive if that acquisition of “stuff” is more a purchase than an investment.  An investment is something that feels a lot like a purchase, but it has a hidden agenda.  The difference is that when you invest, the intent is that by acquiring this new product, system, method or equipment, you will generate more revenue than you needed to put into it in the first place.  This is not a new concept.  You’ve heard the line; “this will pay for itself in 2 years!” (or some other attractive length of time).  That’s an investment – at least on paper.  But suppose it doesn’t happen?  You bought a new POS because you were promised (or led to believe) that it would prevent theft, increase revenue, assure consistent pricing.  You bought a sandwich legger to double your production, or a double-buck shirt unit for the same reason.  Did you get what you bargained for?  If not, did the man in the mirror do his/her part?  Did you measure?  Did you manage?  Results never happen without that.  Never.

What do customers really want?

During a recent job up in the Great White North, I was asked by my client to attend a meeting of his franchisees and  to do a brief presentation explaining what I do and  how the job that I has just completed for this client benefited them.  He had recently purchased this company and therefore called this meeting to introduce himself and explain to these fine folks exactly what he intended to do in exchange for the franchise fee that they pay.  It was a very nice gathering at a terrific French restaurant.

  As things often go under new ownership, my client had, just the week before, submitted to these franchisees, a new price list.  I had been only somewhat prepared to give my presentation, but when the franchisees began lamenting about the price increase, I knew that I was going to have lots to talk about.  Good chance, I thought, I’d have a hard time keeping within my 30 minute allotment of time.  As the attendees arrived, I was introduced and before the meeting officially commenced, I began talking “shop” with each of them.  They spoke of all of the usual subjects – a virtual grab bag of the issues that go hand-in-hand with running  a drycleaning shop.  Employees are to find, hard to keep interested and difficult to motivate; when they come in to work, of course.  Customers that were hard to please.  Equipment issues were brought up by at least half of the attendees.  Sounded awfully familiar to me.  Just the same as the issues that American drycleaners face, to be sure.

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