Marketing Mastery: Eliminate the ‘feast or famine’ cycle

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December 21/28; Volume 30/Number 13

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

(Third of three parts)

During one of my training webinars, Craig Bendele from Florida spoke to a group of dealers about how he increased his revenue by 50% last year and another 50% this year using some of the strategies discussed in part two of this series (FCNews Oct. 26/Nov. 2). But here’s what’s significant about Bendele’s success: Not only did his revenue skyrocket, he also managed to cut the number of hours he worked from 60 to less than 40. “I used to work six to seven days a week, dark to dark,” Bendele told the group. “Now I arrive at 10 a.m., leave by 5 p.m. and take weekends off. The stress is gone and my store runs without me.”

For most dealers, a dramatic increase in business means a spike in their workloads and added stress. So what’s different about Bendele?

Like many dealers, Bendele grew up in the business, working in the warehouse as a teenager, then moving up to sales after high school. A few years ago he took over as the owner; however, he still performed day-to-day tasks of an employee including selling, bookkeeping, managing the warehouse, etc. With all the additional responsibilities of running the company he was forced to work long hours. “I finally got so fed up I basically slammed my fist on my desk and said ‘Enough is enough,’” Bendele explained. He knew there was no way he could reduce his workload if everything depended on him. So he set out to make his business system-dependent rather than owner-dependent.

First he made a list of all the tasks he was responsible for. Then, he wrote out step-by-step instructions for accomplishing each task and assigned each one to a different employee and trained them. In other words, he created systems for all the day-to-day functions of his business.

Now, instead of performing daily tasks Bendele’s job is to monitor the system. He holds his employees accountable. If one system for a specific task breaks down, he doesn’t sigh and think (like many flooring dealers), “Well, if you want it done right you’ve got to do it yourself.” Instead he fixes the system. Bendele now works on his business instead of in his business.

This shift empowers him to grow his revenue—and even expand to multiple locations—without adding more to his personal workload. He can also take vacations, spend time with his family and never has to worry about his store because he knows it’s running like a well-oiled machine and generating money without requiring his presence.

More important, his business is fun again. Bendele recalled a time when he took another local dealer to lunch. They both put their cell phones on the table so they wouldn’t miss any important calls. Over the next two hours the other dealer’s phone rang constantly with calls from employees; he spent the entire lunch putting out fires. By contrast, Bendele’s phone didn’t ring at all. “They don’t even need me at my store,” he said. “I go there each day by choice because I enjoy it, not because I have to.”

Some of you might think, “Wow, setting up these kinds of systems sounds like a lot of work.” You are right. But would you rather spend your entire career working 50-plus hours per week, stressed out, burned out and worrying about your store even during the precious few hours you’re away from it?

In my next column I’ll reveal how a dealer I work with tripled his net profits in 87 days with one strategy.





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