I have spent the last few posts talking about the importance of time in business. This week I want to talk about a larger scale tool to help businesses get time back. That tool is zero. Well, it is zero-basing your business. Zero-basing is the notion of answering the question: “Knowing what I know now about my business, would I still do…?” The idea is to find things to stop doing. Those things that are not in alignment with your core business. Think of this as a cleanse for your business.
I have many friends who are in the Health and Wellness field and they cleanse a lot. With your business, you don’t have to do it that often. Think about once every business planning cycle. I am not talking about SKU reduction. You should be looking at that in an ongoing manner. I am talking about entire lines of business or customer groups. Separately look at the way you do business and the business processes that you have. Are they still efficient? How about your marketing channels. I got a new Yellow Pages over the weekend. I go through it and find those with display ads. They are spending a lot of money very ineffectively in the vast majority of cases. All of it is about having to justify doing what you are doing today. Start with the assumption that you are going to stop doing things first.
There are also things in your business that you can execute more efficiently. Some of this will require you to outsource activities to 3rd parties. Those are generally non-core activities that you can pay an external party to do instead of having somebody on your payroll doing it. Let me use an example from IT. Many companies still run their own e-mail systems. There are plenty of 3rd party providers that can do it and save you a person to manage it. This creates one of the challenges with these zero-basing projects. Managers tend to protect jobs for existing employees instead of looking at things objectively. They view the amount of budget and staff that they have as a measure of their power within the organization. Zero-basing can change the perceived power structure and this can be a contentious point.
So take a look at your business and see those things that are less part of your core path. You can stop them and get the time back in your organization for things that are of higher value. In these days of tight hiring, you want people executing on tasks of the most value.
Have a great day!
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