Turnover and Company Culture

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

The Cost of Turnover I’ve heard horror stories about the cost of turnover in firms, especially smaller firms.   It may be one of the least understood and costly aspects of running a small labor dependent business.   Estimates have ranged from a month’s salary to a year’s salary.   I’m not referring to payouts, I’m referring to the internal ...

Task Management

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

In my last smartPRENEUR Blog we spoke to the importance of creating systems to capture detail and ensure effective information flow.   There is no question that task management systems are critical.  Automating is a big help, especially once clear processes which have been documented and tried, are in place.  Some key benefits of task management software:  Single place for ...
Attention to Details

Pay Attention to the Details

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

How to Boost Productivity A 2017 study by NFIB (National Federation of Independent Businesses) revealed that 56% of small business owners consider communication is key to boosting productivity. Further, it stated that the most powerful way to boost productivity is to optimize task management systems, so that the details don’t become protracted, and processes are easily captured and repeated.   No surprise ...
Effective vs Efficiency

Effective vs. Efficient

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

Is the process or activity effective? Efficiencies are typically at the heart of planning and tracking business.  Ways to ensure efficiency may include:  tools, training, tracking systems, supervision, etc.  We have lots of ways to highlight and ensure efficiencies.  The question that is rarely asked: is the process or activity effective?  There is an important distinction. A highway may be ...
Culture of Improvement

A Culture of Improvement

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

Gaining Insight It used to drive me crazy when I took a look at the codes we’d accumulated for tracking labor.   Yet, what I knew, was the more detail we had, the more insights into what was necessary, billable and ultimately effective, the greater influence and insights we had over what to change, whether to add, improve or discontinue.   ...
Realizing Opportunity

Realizing Opportunity

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

In my last smartPRENEUR Blog, I spoke to the low contribution to profit of trade labor in construction.   Additional Billable Time Now let’s take another tack.  Let’s look at what happens if opportunity can be found to add additional billable time.  If we find 5%, a mere 1.25 minutes per hour, it equates to 42 additional billed hours per year!  ...
Anatomy of an Hour

The Anatomy of an Hour

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

The Importance of Numbers Years ago, when I was running my CE (Custom Electronics) business, I had a meeting with a builder in my community.   We started to talk about the importance of numbers in our respective firms.   The builder was a leader in his Industry having operated successful and meaningful construction businesses.    We discussed my somewhat ...

Origins, Expertise, and Labor: How did we get here?

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

What's the Plan? Over the next series of articles, we are going to explore many aspects of labor management for system integration firms.  The topics we’ll cover include cost of labor, efficiencies vs effectiveness, billable, retention and culture, along with other connected subjects. In the industry’s early years, margins on products were the primary focus.   They were healthy, especially ...

The Heart of The Sale

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

Profitable Companies learn how to charge for their services and how to pitch their value.   Value is dependent on internal systems as well as commitment and discipline to support and iterate these systems.   This guides employees through proven processes to achieve predictable and quality results.  By tracking all aspects, especially labor, firms know both their true costs for …

Opportunities hang out in the wrinkles!

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

If you don’t track it, you lose it I recently had a meeting with a builder in my community.   We started to talk about the importance of numbers and metrics when running a profitable enterprise.   He is a leader in his Industry having operated successful and meaningful construction businesses. We discussed my somewhat clumsy and crude business software, …