<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://px.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=4613226&amp;fmt=gif">

3 min read

Short-Term Thinking Is a Death Knell in a Tight Economy

Short-Term Thinking Is a Death Knell in a Tight Economy
Short-Term Thinking Is a Death Knell in a Tight Economy

Educating employees about profit drivers—volume, price, and cost—transforms them into active participants in the company's success. Supporting long-term growth even in economic downturns.

Changing Your Thinking

Do your employees know how they impact profit in your company? Do they know what activities they do every day will make your company money? 

There is no better time than during a recession for a business owner to stop thinking short-term and start thinking long-term. You heard me. Yes I know you may be scrambling to stay afloat right now. I know your profitability may be in the tank. I understand the knot in your stomach as you try and make payroll every other week. 

Part of the problem you may be facing is that up to now, you have been the only person who understood how your company made money. And when things are running well, that approach can work.  

But the inefficiencies that existed in your company when things were running well and you were making money are now bubbling to the surface. Every little issue that you didn’t have time to fix when clients were throwing money at you and you were on the top of your game will now be the same issues that drive your company to the brink. 

Now, more than any other time in your company’s history is the time to really think about how your company makes money. And it’s time you start sharing that secret with every single employee. 

When things start to tighten down, when clients start to cut back orders, when the bank refuses to extend credit – it’s easy to panic and start looking at short-term solutions. Solutions that may include reducing expenditures, not hiring new staff, laying off existing staff, taking a pay cut yourself, asking your executives to take a pay cut – you know the drill. 

It’s my experience and belief that there is no better time to start taking a much longer view of your company’s strategies than when everything is on the line. And in my experience, that starts with explaining the financials so that every single employee understands how you make and keep money. And to educate them on the role they play in helping the company make and keep money. 

Getting Your Team Onboard

If you explain to your employees that there are three ways to increase how much money you make: 

  1. you can increase the number of what you sell (volume) 
  2. you can increase the price you sell it at and (price) 
  3. you can decrease the costs it takes to produce what you sell (cost) 

AND you help them see how they play a part in all three of those activities -- lights go on! 

Suddenly, the financials are something they not only understand, but something they can talk about!   

The numbers during a difficult time may not be good but hiding the reality of what’s going on from your employees only makes things worse. If you start to create a language of growth -- we increased our price by 15%, increased our volume by 5%, decreased our costs by 20% and brought in an additional $50,000 in our first quarter – you have suddenly given every single employee in your company a way to see how their role impacts your bottom line. 

This language of growth starts to decrease anxiety as your employees begin to gain a better understanding of what is going on in the company. If employees understand how they can bring value to a company and see how that value directly impacts a company’s bottom line, you start to build a longer-term solution to your company’s future. 

Next Steps

This concept -- volume, price and cost -- is what I refer to as Profit Drivers. Here are three steps you can take immediately that will help you weather this downturn or the next one. 

  1. Share with your employees how your sales volume is impacted and what your strategic initiatives are for maintaining, sustaining or increasing your sales volume. The sooner your employees understand your sales strategy and what proactive measures you are taking to improve them, they’ll start asking how they can help. 
  2. Share with your employees how you determine your price for your products or services. Keep it basic but take the time to help them understand why you can’t reduce them below a certain point or raise them too high. What you are doing is helping your employees understand the thinking behind how the company makes money. Don’t leave them in the dark, especially during difficult times.
  3. Talk about the costs of producing your service or product. Explain that you work with key vendors and the relationships you maintain with those vendors are critical to your ability to keep your prices under control. In difficult times, those relationships you have created with those key vendors may be the saving grace for the company’s ability to remain competitive. 

Getting people in your company to talk about Profit Drivers, to be able to understand what role each employee plays in each of the profit drivers - volume, cost, price - is a powerful way to engage the entire company in understanding how three very basic financial concepts impacts your company.  

When the economic downturn turns around, and it will, you’ll have taken critical steps in helping your company weather the next one by educating your employees on how your company makes and keeps money. 

Fine Tuning Your Focus: 3 Secrets to Business Clarity

Fine Tuning Your Focus: 3 Secrets to Business Clarity

Focus insights guide business owners with strategies to clarify vision, define values, and set clear expectations. These insights pave the way for...

Read More
Putting a Name to Pain: Managing Through the Flood Zone

Putting a Name to Pain: Managing Through the Flood Zone

Follow one owner’s journey through the 'Flood Zone' of business expansion. See the shift needed from working harder to working smarter, emphasizing...

Read More
Processes as A Path to Innovation

Processes as A Path to Innovation

Processes are often viewd as barriers to creativity. But the opposite is true. A well-designed process is a jumping point for optimization and...

Read More