Autumn brings falling leaves and … the gridiron. Football teams—from high school to pro—are trying to put as many wins on the board as possible to make this season a special one.
For business owners, sports can highlight important lessons about profitability. One in particular is that you and your coaches must learn from your mistakes and adjust your game plan accordingly to have a winning year.
Spot the fumbles.
More specifically, your business needs to identify the profit fumbles that are hurting your ability to score bottom-line touchdowns and, in response, execute earnings plays that improve the score. Doing so is always important but takes on added significance as the year winds down and you want to finish strong.
Your company’s earnings game plan should be based partly on strong strategic planning for the year and partly from uncovering and working to eliminate such profit fumbles as:
- Employees interacting with customers poorly, giving a bad impression or providing inaccurate information,
- Pricing strategies that turn off customers or bring in inadequate revenue, and
- Supply chain issues that slow productivity.
Ask employees at all levels whether and where they see such fumbles. Then assign a negative dollar value to each fumble that keeps your organization from reaching its full profit potential.
Once you start putting a value on profit fumbles, you can add them to your income statement for a clearer picture of how they affect net profit. Historically, unidentified and unmeasured profit fumbles are buried in lower sales and inflated costs of sales and overhead.
Fortify your position.
After you’ve identified one or more profit blunders, act to fortify your offensive line as you drive downfield. To do so:
Define (or redefine) the game plan. Work with your coaches (management, key employees) to devise specific profit-building initiatives. Calculate how much each initiative could add to the bottom line. To arrive at these values, you’ll need to estimate the potential income of each initiative — but only after you’ve projected the costs as well.
Appoint team leaders. Each profit initiative must have a single person assigned to champion it. When profit-building strategies become everyone’s job, they tend to become no one’s job. All players on the field must know their jobs and where to look for leadership.
Communicating clearly and building consensus. Explain each initiative to employees and outline the steps you’ll need to achieve them. If the wide receiver doesn’t know his route, he won’t be in the right place when the quarterback throws the ball. Most important, that wide receiver must believe in the play.
Win the game.
With a strong profit game plan in place, everyone wins. Your company’s bottom line is strong, employees are motivated by the business’s success and, oh yes, customers are satisfied. Touchdown!
If you have any questions about how to create a profitable game plan, please don't hesitate to reach out. I'm happy to help you perform the financial analyses to identity your profit fumbles and come up with budget-smart initiatives likely to build your bottom line.